Information Assurance

Clay Shields

front | classes | research | personal | contact

Information Assurance

back to projects page

For this part of the secure programming project, you are going to try and break other student's projects.
First, you need to put your project up anonymously. If you look in your account on ia-class, you will find a file named user_number. This is the new secret identity we will use for this project. I have disabled the wtmp file, so you should not be able to use finger or last to find out who owns which accounts. In this new account, you should place:
  • Your executable code. This should be suid to your user number, and should be world readable and executable.
  • You source code, with any identifying information such as name or netid removed. This should be world readable
  • A configuration file that includes at least 5 working passwords, if you have chosen to store them there. If not, there should be 5 working passwords for the project wherever you put them. This should be world readable.
  • A log file. It does not need to have any entries when started. It should be world readable.
  • The secret file people are trying to get access to. This should not be world readable.
Once you have these in place, e-mail the instructor to test your set up. This should be done by Tuesday, April 10th.

After the 10th,you will find a number of user directories on the ia-class machine. They are named user#, where # is some random number. They should be accessible to you; if they are not, let the instructor know.

In each directory will be an anonymized project submission set up for you to test. Your goal is to find the contents of as many of the protected text files as possible, subject to this list of rules:

  • You may only use the features of the project submissions themselves in order to retrieve the contents of the text file. No exploiting the operating system.
  • You may not attack your own submission.
  • You may not tell others which submission is yours or how to get into it.
  • One you find the contents of the file, you may not divulge what they are or how you got them to anyone else in the class. You may not work together to subvert the submissions.
  • The projects should be anonymized, but if you do find something that identifies the author, you will let the instructor know which directory and what the identifying marks are immediately. This does not apply if you recognize your own source code.
Grading will be based on a few things, in roughly this order of importance:
  • The degree of sophistication of the attacks you use. Writing a buffer overflow is hard. Guessing a password is easy. You may attack a particular program in different ways, and receive credit for each success. Here is a rough ordering of some attacks you might perform, from hardest to easiest:
    • Buffer overflow.
    • Tricking the program into reading a fake password file.
    • Extracting passwords out of core dumps or memory.
    • Password cracking
    • Automated guessing
    • Manual guessing
  • The number of programs you succeed in breaking.
  • How well your program withstands attack.
What to turn in: For each program you manage to defeat, you will turn in by email before class on April 17, 2007, a description to include:
  • Which user program it was
  • How you broke it, in sufficient detail that I can reproduce the attack. If you have sizeable amounts of code, you can leave it in your home directory and reference it in your submission. Do not make the code world readable.
  • What is required to fix the problem you identified, in sufficient detail that the program's author could make the changes.
  • What the contents of the secret file were as proof of your exploit.