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    Senior Member phernandez's Avatar
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    Aug 2003

    NULL-ifying Application Security

    Exploiting buffer overflows is old news. Security researchers are now losing sleep over the NULL pointer...

    NULL pointer exploit excites researchers - CIO

    In simple terms a NULL pointer dereference is when a software application tries to access a memory address that has been declared to have the value NULL (a special value that tells software that there is nothing there, as there is a real but critical difference between '', ' ', '0', NULL, or any other number of means of representing nothing). In most cases, the application should stop running and crash whenever a NULL value in memory is accessed by the program, but it has been found that it is possible to force some applications to access and execute arbitrary memory locations whenever a NULL pointer is accessed. The only problem has been that it was considered extremely difficult to achieve, and not so easy to develop a generic approach for. That has now changed, with Dowd effectively providing a framework that could be used to probe for exploitable NULL pointer dereferences across multiple platforms - essentially a generic attack / vulnerability finder for this class of vulnerability.
    Fun, huh?
    Last edited by phernandez; April 22nd, 2008 at 05:46 PM. Reason: Title bug.

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