Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

Last week at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, security researchers Joshua Mason, Sam Small, Fabian Monrose, and Greg MacManus presented a method they developed to generate English shell code [PDF]. Using content from Wikipedia and other public works to train their engine, they convert arbitrary x86 shell code into sentences that read like spam, but are natively executable.

In this paper, we challenge the assumption that shellcode must conform to superficial and discernible representations. Specifically, we demonstrate a technique for automatically producing English Shellcode, transforming arbitrary shellcode into a representation that is superficially similar to English prose. The shellcode is completely self-contained—i.e., it does not require an external loader and executes as valid IA32 code)—and can typically be generated in under an hour on commodity hardware.
Oder, wie es Kristian Köhntopp formuliert hat: Da sind also Leute, die sich einmal angesehen haben, welche ASCII-Zeichen welchen Intel-Assembleranweisungen entsprechen und was man da so für Sätze bauen kann, die zugleich ein Shell-Exploit sind. Das kommt glaube ich so nahe an magische Beschwörungen ran wie man mit realer Technik überhaupt sein kann.

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