I'm using IDA PRO to disassemble a function, which produces a control flow that looks like this:

start_IE proc near

Buffer= dword ptr -230h
var_22C= byte ptr -22Ch
hFile= dword ptr -30h
hInternet= dword ptr -2Ch
szAgent= byte ptr -28h
dwNumberOfBytesRead= dword ptr -8
var_4= dword ptr -4
arg_0= dword ptr  8

;Do stuff that has nothing to do with ebp+var22C

mov     al, [ebp+var_22C]
jmp     short return

mov     esp, ebp
pop     ebp
start_IE endp

I've cut out a lot of irrelevant code, but the only 2 times that var_22C appears in this procedure has been shown above.

I'm having a difficult time finding out what value the data pointed to by var_22C will be since it's given no obvious assignment here.

Code before/after the function call in the caller:

mov     ecx, [ebp+var_C]
push    ecx             ; command char
call    start_IE
add     esp, 4
mov     [ebp+var_8], al
movsx   edx, [ebp+var_8]
test    edx, edx
jnz     short success

It only has 1 argument passed to it, which should be arg_0... We see that the return value from Var_22C is placed into [ebp+var_8] back in the caller afterwards.

  • 2
    show the code referencing Buffer.
    – Igor Skochinsky
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 9:34
  • Is it possible that there's a return value variable and it's simply uninitialized? What you're describing is producible from valid C code.
    – NirIzr
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 10:49

2 Answers 2


probably the Buffer variable is accessed indirectly by one of the called functions and var_22C is actually part of the buffer.


As far as I can see this mov al, [ebp+var_22C] command works with 8 bit data (according to name al), and there is a possibility that this var_22C variable is assigned as a part of bigger entity, for example as dword, which will require different offset.

I'd suggest to watch to stack accesses around this offset, specifically ,as @Igor Skochinsky says in comment, in a code related to Buffer.

  • Usually when thats the case, IDA will identify the byte is also accessed as a dword and will make all references to a dword.
    – NirIzr
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 9:03

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