Saumil Shah: The ARM IoT Exploit Laboratory

Presented By: Saumil Shah

“There’s an Intel on every desktop, but an ARM in every pocket.”

The Internet of Things (IoT) universe comprises largely of ARM based systems. The ARM IoT Exploit Laboratory for 2018 brings you an intense 3-day course featuring a practical hands-on approach to exploit development on ARM based systems. This class is perfectly suited for students who are keen to dive into the world of modern ARM exploit development.

Our intermediate level class begins with an introduction to ARM architecture and ARM assembly language and moves quickly onto debugging techniques for ARM systems, exploiting buffer overflows on ARM devices running Linux, writing ARM shellcode from the ground up, and bypassing exploit mitigation techniques with ARM Return Oriented Programming (ROP). Our lab environment features both hardware and virtual machine targets.

The class concludes with an end-to-end “Firmware-To-Shell” hack, testing out ARM exploitation skills against commercial ARM based SoHo routers and IP Cameras. Students will extract the manufacturer’s firmware, learn how to analyse and debug them in virtual environments, build exploits involving tight ROP chaining and ASLR bypass, and finally succeed in getting shells on the actual hardware.

As with the popular Exploit Laboratory, all topics are delivered in a down-to-earth, learn-by-example methodology. The same trainers who brought you The Exploit Laboratory for over 12 years have been working hard in putting together an all new class based on past feedback!

The 3 day course will take place on the 10th, 11th & 12th September 2018, venue tbc
Cost is £ 1,950 (inc VAT). Buy your place in our shop now.

Learning Objectives

  • Introduction to the ARM CPU architecture
  • Exploring ARM assembly language
  • Understanding how functions work in ARM
  • Debugging on ARM systems
  • Exploiting Stack Overflows on ARM
  • Writing ARM Shellcode from the ground up
  • Introduction to Return Oriented Programming
  • Bypassing exploit mitigation using ROP
  • Practical ARM ROP
  • An Introduction to extracting firmware from devices
  • Emulating and debugging a SoHo router’s firmware in a virtual environment
  • “Firmware-To-Shell” – exploiting an actual SoHo router
  • “Firmware-To-Shell” – exploiting an actual IP camera
  • The Lab environment is a mixture of physical ARM hardware and ARM virtual machines.

Course Outline

Day 1:

  • Introduction to the ARM CPU architecture
  • Exploring ARM assembly language
  • EXERCISE – Examples in ARM Assembly Language
  • Debugging on ARM systems
  • Understanding how functions work in ARM
  • Exploiting Stack Overflows on ARM
  • EXERCISE – ARM Stack Overflows

Day 2:

  • Writing ARM Shellcode from the ground up
  • EXERCISE – Embedded Web Server exploit
  • Introduction to Exploit Mitigation Techniques (XN/DEP and ASLR)
  • Introduction to ARM Return Oriented Programming
  • Bypassing exploit mitigation on ARM using ROP
  • ARM ROP Tools
  • EXERCISE – Searching for ARM ROP Gadgets

Day 3:

  • Practical ROP Chains on ARM
  • EXERCISE – Exploit featuring ARM ROP Chains
  • Bypassing ASLR
  • An Introduction to firmware extracting
  • Discovering an IoT devices’ serial pins and extracting actual firmware via serial console
  • Emulating and debugging a SoHo router’s firmware in a virtual environment
  • EXERCISE – Attacking a DLINK DIR-880L ARM Router – from firmware to shell
  • EXERCISE – Attacking a Trivision ARM IP Camera – from firmware to shellTarget Audience

Target Audience

  • Past x86 Exploit laboratory students who want to take their elite exploitation skills to the ARM platform.
  • Pentesters working on ARM embedded environments. (SoCs, IoT, etc)
  • Red Team members, who want to pen-test custom binaries and exploit custom built applications.
  • Bug Hunters, who want to write exploits for all the crashes they find.
  • Members of military or government cyberwarfare units.
  • Members of reverse engineering research teams.
  • People frustrated at software to the point they want to break it!

Student Requirements

  • A conceptual understanding of how functions work in C programming
  • Knowledge of how a stack works, basic stack operations
  • Familiarity with debuggers (gdb, WinDBG, OllyDBG or equivalent)
  • Not be allergic to command line tools.
  • Have a working knowledge of shell scripts, cmd scripts or Perl or Python.
  • If none of the above apply, then enough patience to go through the pre-class tutorials.
  • SKILL LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE (leaning towards advanced)

Pre-Class Tutorials:

The following tutorials have been specially prepared to get students up to speed on essential concepts before coming to class.

a) Operating Systems – A Primer

b) How Functions Work

c) Introduction to Debuggers

If you have the time and want to get a bit of a headstart on ARM Basics, I highly recommend Azeria’s ARM Basics Tutorials, especially the following:

What to Bring

  • A working laptop (no Netbooks, no Tablets, no iPads)
  • Intel Core i3 (equivalent or superior) required
  • 8GB RAM required, at a minimum
  • Wireless network card
  • 40 GB free Hard disk space
  • If you’re using a new Macbook or Macbook Pro, please bring your dongle-kit!

Software Requirements

  • Linux / Windows / Mac OS X desktop operating systems
  • VMWare Player / VMWare Workstation / VMWare Fusion MANDATORY
  • Administrator / root access MANDATORYTHE EXPLOIT LAB BLOG:
    OUR TWITTER STREAM: @therealsaumil

Students will be provided with

Students will be provided with all the lab images used in the class. The ARM IoT Exploit Laboratory uses a “Live Notes” system that provides a running transcript of the instructor’s system to all the students. Our lab environment, plus about 700MB of curated reading material, will be made available to all attendees to take with them and continue learning after the training ends.

About the Trainer


Saumil Shah is the founder and CEO of Net-Square, providing cutting edge information security services to clients around the globe. Saumil is an internationally recognised speaker and instructor, having regularly presented at conferences like Blackhat, RSA, CanSecWest, PacSec, EUSecWest,, Hack-in-the-box and others. He has authored two books titled “Web Hacking: Attacks and Defense” and “The Anti-Virus Book”.

Saumil graduated with an M.S. in Computer Science from Purdue University, USA and a B.E. in Computer Engineering from Gujarat University. He spends his leisure time breaking software, flying kites, traveling around the world and taking pictures.

Instructor’s Contact Info:
Saumil Udayan Shah
CEO, Net-Square Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
Twitter: @therealsaumil

Book your 44CON 2018 training course now!