Metasploit Exploit Creation, Step By Step

Struggling to understand the ins and outs of an exploitation tutorial? Looking for an easy to follow video demonstration? Trying to figure out how to turn an exploit into a Metasploit exploit module? Look no further!

We were recently engaged by the SANS Institute to write a Secure Coding in C & C++ course to assist programmers in meeting the requirements for the Secure Coding Certification. Along the way, we created some content to give developers an overview of how vulnerabilities are exploited to illustrate how serious the problems are.

Since the exploit demonstration was already written, we decided to turn it into a teaser tutorial that goes one step further. Not only does the tutorial explain how overflows happen and how to find flaws, the tutorial then goes on to cover basic shellcode creation, proof of concept exploit testing and, last but not least, converting the exploit into a Metasploit Exploit Module!

Since the video tutorial was posted we’ve had several requests for the source code for the vulnerable service that’s discussed. We’ve included that code below:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <errno.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/socket.h>
#include <netinet/in.h>
#include <netdb.h>
#include <arpa/inet.h>
#include <sys/wait.h>
#include <signal.h>

#define PORT "7777" // the port users will be connecting to

#define BACKLOG 10 // how many pending connections queue will hold

void vulnerable(char *net_buffer)
char local_buffer[120];
strcpy(local_buffer, net_buffer);

void sigchld_handler(int s)
while(waitpid(-1, NULL, WNOHANG) > 0);

// get sockaddr, IPv4 or IPv6:
void *get_in_addr(struct sockaddr *sa)
if (sa->sa_family == AF_INET) {
return &(((struct sockaddr_in*)sa)->sin_addr);

return &(((struct sockaddr_in6*)sa)->sin6_addr);

int main(void)
int sockfd, new_fd; // listen on sock_fd, new connection on new_fd
struct addrinfo hints, *servinfo, *p;
struct sockaddr_storage their_addr; // connector's address information
socklen_t sin_size;
struct sigaction sa;
int yes=1;
char in_buffer[20], out_buffer[20], net_buffer[2048];
int rv;

memset(&hints, 0, sizeof hints);
hints.ai_family = AF_UNSPEC;
hints.ai_socktype = SOCK_STREAM;
hints.ai_flags = AI_PASSIVE; // use my IP

if ((rv = getaddrinfo(NULL, PORT, &hints, &servinfo)) != 0) {
fprintf(stderr, "getaddrinfo: %s\n", gai_strerror(rv));
return 1;

// loop through all the results and bind to the first we can
for(p = servinfo; p != NULL; p = p->ai_next) {
if ((sockfd = socket(p->ai_family, p->ai_socktype,
p->ai_protocol)) == -1) {
perror("server: socket");

if (setsockopt(sockfd, SOL_SOCKET, SO_REUSEADDR, &yes,
sizeof(int)) == -1) {

if (bind(sockfd, p->ai_addr, p->ai_addrlen) == -1) {
perror("server: bind");


if (p == NULL) {
fprintf(stderr, "server: failed to bind\n");
return 2;

freeaddrinfo(servinfo); // all done with this structure

if (listen(sockfd, BACKLOG) == -1) {

sa.sa_handler = sigchld_handler; // reap all dead processes
sa.sa_flags = SA_RESTART;
if (sigaction(SIGCHLD, &sa, NULL) == -1) {

printf("server: waiting for connections...\n");

while(1) { // main accept() loop
sin_size = sizeof their_addr;
new_fd = accept(sockfd, (struct sockaddr *)&their_addr, &sin_size);
if (new_fd == -1) {

get_in_addr((struct sockaddr *)&their_addr),
s, sizeof s);
printf("server: got connection from %s\n", s);

if (!fork()) { // this is the child process
close(sockfd); // child doesn't need the listener
memset(net_buffer, 0, 1024);
strcpy(out_buffer, "HELO\nCOMMAND:");
if (send(new_fd, out_buffer, strlen(out_buffer), 0) == -1)
if (recv(new_fd, net_buffer, 1024, 0))
strcpy(out_buffer, "RECV: ");
strcat(out_buffer, net_buffer);
send(new_fd, out_buffer, strlen(out_buffer), 0);
close(new_fd); // parent doesn't need this

return 0;

For a comprehensive course on how to identify critical controls, validate that the correct controls are in place and validate processes, consider the SANS 6 day course, “Advanced System & Network Auditing“.  David Hoelzer is the SANS IT Audit Curriculum Lead and the author of several SANS IT Audit related courses.