(In)Security in C++

The course teaches C++ developers fundamental concepts from Exploit Development and Reverse Engineering, and uses these concepts to demonstrate common vulnerabilities in C++ codebases. This background is used to help the students to view their code from an attacker's perspective. They develop a sense of what common vulnerable constructs in C++ look like, and also which tools can help them find different types of vulnerabilities in their existing code bases.

    Attendees can expect to gain

    • A basic understanding of the mindset of an exploit developer. - An understanding of assembly
    • Good grasp of tooling that can be used to find vulnerable constructs
    • Good idea of things to look for in code reviews
    • Good overview of Secure Coding Practices in C++

    Secure Coding Practices

    The Secure Coding Practices taught are largely based on the C++ Core Guidelines, the Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) and the SEI CERT Coding Standards for C++.


    The attendees are assumed to be proficient C++


    1. Introduction and what specs exist?
    2. Undefined Behavior & Compiler Optimizations
    3. The anatomy of a Stack Buffer Overflow shellcode (on Linux)
    4. Exploration of simple Exploitation Techniques
    5. Introduction to Compilers, Static Analysis, Sanitizers and Fuzzers
    6. Exploitable Programming Constructs: Memory I
    7. Exploitable Programming Constructs: Memory II
    8. Exploitable Programming Constructs: Numbers
    9. Secure Programming Practices in C++: Prefer C++ to C
    10. Secure Programming Practices in C++: Resource Management
    11. Secure Programming Practices in C++: Avoid the Pitfalls
    12. Secure Programming Practices in C++: Functionality
    13. Insecure Coding 101


    1. Stack Buffer Overflow (CWE-121)
    2. Heap Buffer Overflow (CWE-122)
    3. Buffer Underflow (CWE-124)
    4. Use After Free (CWE-416)
    5. Double Free (CWE-415)
    6. Unsigned Integer Wraparound (CWE-190)
    7. Signed Integer Overflow (CWE-190)
    8. Numeric Truncation (CWE-197)
    9. Incorrect Type Conversion (CWE-704)
    10. Uncontrolled Format String (CWE-134)

    Tools and Techniques

    • Exploitation: Stack Overflow Exploit, Return Oriented Programming and Format String Exploit
    • Vulnerability Mitigation: Static Analysis, Warnings, Sanitizers and Fuzzers Platform Mitigation: Stack Canaries, Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR), Non-executable memory
    Patricia Aas
    Senior Consultant & CTO at TurtleSec AS

    Patricia Aas is an international speaker and has spoken at CppCon, ACCU, C++OnSea, NDC Security, NDC Oslo and many other conferences on subjects ranging from Sandboxing in Chromium to Vulnerabilities in C++. She has taught a range of subjects in Computer Science at the University of Oslo.

    Patricia has a masters degree in Computer Science and 13 years professional experience as a programmer, most of that time programming in C++. During that time she has worked in codebases with a high focus on security: two browsers (Opera and Vivaldi) and embedded Cisco telepresence systems.

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