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What do you understand by format string vulnerabilities ?

  1. What is a Format String Vulnerability?
    • It’s a type of bug in a program where user input is used as the format for functions like printf or scanf.
  2. How does it work?
    • These functions take a format string that specifies how to display or read data.
    • If an attacker can control this format string, they might be able to see or manipulate sensitive information.
  3. Example: Leaking Data
    • Imagine the format string is “%x.%x.%x.%x”.
    • The program will pop off four values from the stack and print them in hexadecimal.
    • This can reveal sensitive information unintentionally.
  4. Arbitrary Indexing
    • With “%n$x” syntax, an attacker can specify the index of the argument they want.
    • This allows them to read or write data at a specific location in the program’s memory.

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