July 2011

Introduction

One thing I have always maintained is that aspiring or practicing penetration testers who use an exploitation product (such as CANVAS, Core Impact, Metasploit) should know how buffer overflows actually work. Having this knowledge will help you understand the circumstances under which these products can work, will help you troubleshoot when things don't work and will correct unrealistic expectations about what the products are capable of.

In addition, being able to reproduce buffer overflow exploits will also give you the tools to more accurately assess the risk of discovered vulnerabilities as well as to develop effective countermeasures for exploits out in the wild. These are important skills for incident responders and for those attempting to protect their networks.
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