Black Hat USA 2009: Router Exploitation

During the Black Hat USA 2009, Felix “FX” Lindner has presented his researches concerning the exploitation of memory corruption software vulnerabilitiesin Cisco IOS.

“The goal is to map out the problem space in order to allow for the anticipation of developments in the future, as current research suggests that exploitation of such vulnerabilities in the wild is not currently the case. By understanding the challenges that an attacker faces, defensive strategies can be better planned, a required evolution with the current state of Cisco IOS router networks.” says Felix ‘FX’ Lindner in his “Cisco IOS Router Exploitation” abstract.

“This paper will highlight reasons for the lack of binary exploits and which developments will herald the dawn of reliable remote exploitation of Cisco IOS based network infrastructure equipment. The author strongly believes that eventually, attacks on network infrastructure will use binary exploitation methods to massively gain unauthorized access. Therefore, research from the offensive point of view must be conducted and published, in order to allow the defenses to be chosen in anticipation of such future developments.” he says again.

In his speech Felix touches six points:

  • Introduction & Motivation
  • Vulnerabilities in routers
  • Architectural considerations
  • The Return Address Dilemma
  • Shellcode for Routers
  • Protecting Routers




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