I came across a question the other day on reddit: How can we use PAGE_GUARD-based memory breakpoints in GDB (not hardware breakpoints)?

Ollydbg, x64dbg and IDA PRO all support these types of breakpoints, but I couldnt find a way in GDB.

If this is not available, is it possible to set the PAGE_GUARD bit manually in GDB?

1 Answer 1


According to man mmap

  PROT_NONE  The memory cannot be accessed at all.
  PROT_READ  The memory can be read.
  PROT_WRITE The memory can be modified.
  PROT_EXEC  The memory can be executed.

PROT_NONE will act like a guard page by hitting a SIGSEGV when accessed.

The page with PROT_NONE looks like this in the map during runtime

    0x7ffff7ff7000     0x7ffff7ff8000 ---p     1000 0

gdb allows you to call arbitrary functions in the process space. A simple solution would be to run this under gdb

print mprotect($address,0x1000,0)

This would set PROT_NONE = 0 permissions on the page and it will act as a guard page. If after hitting SIGSEGV you want to remap the page as rw (PROT_READ|PROT_WRITE)

print mprotect($address,0x1000,3)

If you want to add an extra page mapped as guard page like the page heaps in windows, you can call mmap.

print /a mmap($address+0x1000,0x1000,0,0x22,-1,0)


  • Thanks! I am surprised though gdb doesnt offer it directly. Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 8:02
  • Hm, another thing: is there really no way to get the current protection of the page? Otherwise it would be hard to undo the memory-breakpoint and expose me to anti-debugging actions. Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 8:31
  • There's no way to read the protections from any api/syscall. Worst case you can parse /proc/<pid>/maps. Some gdb extensions like pwndbg give a vmmap command which does this.
    – sudhackar
    Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 9:18

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