Leegenux Blog

No man is an island

  1. 1. Primary Usages of OllyDbg
    1. 1.1. Keyboard Shortcuts
    2. 1.2. Ways to Modify Strings in Binaries
  2. 2. IA32 Registers
    1. 2.1. Register Types
  3. 3. Stack Establishment and Destruction
  4. 4. Important Information About Cracking VB Binaries
  5. 5. X86 Calling Conventions
  6. 6. PE File Format
  7. 7. Hands-on Cracking
    1. 7.1. Find the Main Function
    2. 7.2. Crack the Password Section
    3. 7.3. Reveal the Encryption
    4. 7.4. Store the Decryped Code
  8. 8. Assignments and Answers
    1. 8.1. What’s the Calling Convention of this executable ?
    2. 8.2. What API does the program calls when storing the decrypted data ?
    3. 8.3. Where is the main entry and how is the code decrypted ?
    4. 8.4. Write a PE header scanner ?

This post consists of my learning notes, insights, my experience of cracking a executable as well as answers to the assignments.
We are using OllyDbg to crack.

Primary Usages of OllyDbg

Keyboard Shortcuts

With these 4 shortcuts, we are able to do some reverse engineering on easy crackmes like one that I’m gonna show you.

  • Restart Ctrl + F2
  • Step Into F7
  • Step Over F8
  • Execute till Return Ctrl+ F9

Ways to Modify Strings in Binaries

  • Direct modification : That’s directly making changes in the Disassembler Window.
  • Create a new string somewhere else and make it work instead of the original one.

To know more details about the user interface. Refer to here

Two points above reveals two fundamental approaches of patching a binary. The patch mentioned are both intuitively achievable in terms of OllyDbg’s software operations.

What need to be emphasized is that we shouldn’t forget to save our changes to the binary.

IA32 Registers

Register Types

  • General purpose registers
  • Segment registers
  • Program status and control registers
  • Instruction pointer registers

Stack Establishment and Destruction

The routine of conventional Win32 programs regarding stack’s establishment and destruction can be elaborated in a simple way:

  1. push EBP to store the old stack base value
  2. mov EBP, ESP to create a brand new stack for subprogram

And the destruction is quite the opposite.

Important Information About Cracking VB Binaries

  • VB program can be compiled into P code(Pseudo Code) or N code(Native code)
  • VB program operates in an event-driven manner, in which Windows mainly works.
  • VB program’s fundamental information resides in the executables in the form of structures.

X86 Calling Conventions

  • cdecl
  • stdcall
  • fastcall

The cdecl features callers’ responsibility to clean up the callee’s stack which makes calling with mutable amount of parameters possible. And stdcall works differently. The callee clears the stack so that the program have better compatibility against other languages. So Win32 development chooses the latter convention. There are also fastcall which makes use of registers for faster calling (However things don’t always act as expected).

PE File Format

Portable Executables are known as PE file. There are essential information across different aspects including memory location, compatibility code, CPU family etc stored in the header part of the PE file. You can check them out by clicking here. Also I will upload a post containing the important points later.

Hands-on Cracking

The test executable can be downloaded here

Find the Main Function

Before debugging, you should first take a glance at what this file is about. It turns out that a password is required or you are blocked. Then load the file with debugger. Do stepping over until you see the prompt: What's your password?. You are already in the main function. Trace back and at some point you see this:

The CALL statement jumps to the “ask for password” section. Around it there are MSVCR120.__winitenv and MSVCR120.exit API calls. So we can assure that this is the main function entry.

Crack the Password Section

After the password scanf related code. There are lines

JE SHORT Test1.011C419

implementing the logic that when two string matches, jump to Test1.011C419. Here EAX is set to 0 when function strcmp finds two strings match.

TEST sets the zero flag, ZF, when the result of the AND operation is 0. So only if EAX is 0 will JE statement do the jump.

To bypass the password, try changing them into this:

JE SHORT Test1.011C419

This modification makes the JE statement directly jumps to the string matches logic branch. Save and rerun, you now get to the next stage.

Reveal the Encryption

The second input in the format of %d is stored on the SS:[EBP-48] and a least significant byte in the EAX as what this screenshot tells us:

Execution of CALL Test1.011C11A4 leads us to the initiation of an array:

After that there is a loop where the encryption goes:

Procedures above can be translated into fake code:

unsigned char offset = last_byte_of(input_code); 	// Get the input

init(array); // Init the code

for (char i = 0; i<length(array); i++) {
array[i] = array[i] xor array[i+offset];

Store the Decryped Code

The screenshot shows all necessary information:

The decrypted code are stored in the D:\kp. (Though I changed it because I don’t have no drive with label D).

Assignments and Answers

What’s the Calling Convention of this executable ?

As you can see, there are no steps of clearing stack right behind the CALL. According to the description in the X86 Calling Conventions section several paragraphs away above . It uses stdcall. Registers play no part in passing parameters to callee.

What API does the program calls when storing the decrypted data ?

Obviously according to the image: KERNEL32.CreateFileA, KERNEL32.WriteFile and KERNEL32.CloseHandle are used.

Where is the main entry and how is the code decrypted ?

Both described concisely in the post.

Write a PE header scanner ?

There are references all around the web. My solution will be like this one.

This article was last updated on days ago, and the information described in the article may have changed.