Re: Buffer overflow prevention

From: Patrick Dolan (
Date: 08/13/03

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    To: "Eygene A. Ryabinkin" <>
    Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2003 13:20:03 -0500

    There is a flag for the Gnu C/C++ compilers, -fstack-protector, that will
    implement ProPolice stack protection. It should prevent stack smashing

    On Wednesday 13 August 2003 05:28 am, Eygene A. Ryabinkin wrote:
    > Hi!
    > I have an idea on buffer overflow prevention. I doubt that it's new, but I
    > haven't seen an implementation of it in any freely distributable Un*x
    > system. So, I hardly need your comments on it.
    > Preliminary: I'm talking about Intel x86 architecture, but maybe it will
    > be applicable to others as well.
    > The idea itself: all (correct me if I'm wrong) buffer overflows are based
    > on the fact that we're using the stack, referenced by SS:ESP pair, both for
    > procedure return address and for local variables. It seems to me, that
    > would we have two stacks -- one for real stack and one for variables -- it
    > will solve a bunch of problems. So, my suggestion: let us organise two
    > segments: one for normal stack, growing downwards, referenced by SS:ESP
    > pair and the second one, for local variables, referenced by GS:EBP pair,
    > with either upwards or downwards growing. Now, if we use first segment for
    > passing variables and procedure return addresses (normal stack usage), and
    > second segment only for local procedure variables, we will have the
    > following advantages:
    > 1) Local variables and return address will be physically (by means of CPU)
    > divided and it will not be possible to touch the return address by
    > overflowing local buffer.
    > 2) The procedure introduces only one extra register -- GS, since EBP is
    > very often used for the stack frame.
    > Of course, this two segments can be made non-executable, just in case.
    > What we need to implement the idea: first, rewrite kernel to organise two
    > segments for every process and to place proper values into the segment
    > registers upon the program startup. Second, rewrite the compiler to support
    > the new scheme of local variables addresation. So, the changes are minimal,
    > in some sence.
    > As I said, I hardly need your criticism, suggestions, etc. of any type.
    > rea

    Patrick Dolan
    UNT Information Security
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