Intro to Assembly Language

Intro to Assembly Language  Medium

This module builds the core foundation for Binary Exploitation by teaching Computer Architecture and Assembly language basics.

Created by 21y4d

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Binary exploitation is a core part of penetration testing, but learning it can be pretty challenging. This is mainly due to the complexity of binary files and their underlying machine code and the way binary files interact with the processor and computer memory.

Learning the basics of Computer Architecture and the Assembly Language is fundamental for understanding binary exploitation. Both can significantly enhance our understanding of how binaries work and interact with system resources.

The Intro to Assembly Language module builds the core foundation for all future Binary Exploitation modules by teaching the basics of:

  1. Computer and Processor Architecture
  2. Debugging and Disassembling
  3. x86_64 Assembly Language
  4. Shellcoding

Having a solid understanding of these topics will make learning basic binary exploitation very straightforward and facilitate learning advanced binary exploitation.

In addition to teaching the above topics, this module will also cover:

  • How High-Level code is compiled into Low-Level machine code
  • Different types and segments of computer memory
  • CPU clock and instruction cycles
  • CISC vs. RISC architectures
  • Different types of registers and memory addresses
  • CPU address endianess
  • Intro to nasm and Assembly File Structure
  • Intro to Assembling and Disassembling files
  • Basics of Binary Debugging with GDB
  • Basic Data and Arithmetic Assembly instructions
  • Intro to Assembly loops and branching
  • Assembly flags and conditional branching
  • Intro to Linux syscalls
  • Assembly procedures and functions
  • Using C and libc functions with Assembly
  • Intro to pwntools for Assembly and Shellcoding
  • Writing scripts with modern tools to extract, run, and debug shellcodes
  • Modern shellcoding techniques compliant with memory protections
  • Using tools for shellcode generation and encoding

We will also be working on a project throughout the module to apply everything we learn.

By the end of the module, we will have created a complete program that takes user input, performs advanced calculations, and outputs the results to the user, using nothing but Assembly language (, i.e., 1's and 0's).

This module is broken down into sections with accompanying hands-on exercises to practice each of the tactics and techniques we cover.
The module ends with a practical hands-on skills assessment to gauge your understanding of the various topic areas.

As you work through the module, you will see example commands and command output for the various topics introduced. It is worth reproducing as many of these examples as possible to reinforce further the concepts presented in each section. You can do this in the PwnBox provided in the interactive sections or your virtual machine.

You can start and stop the module at any time and pick up where you left off. There is no time limit or "grading," but you must complete all of the exercises and the skills assessment to receive the maximum number of cubes and have this module marked as complete in any paths you have chosen.

The module is classified as "Medium" and assumes a working knowledge of the Linux command line and an understanding of information security fundamentals.

A firm grasp of the following modules can be considered prerequisites for successful completion of this module:

  • Learning Process
  • Linux Fundamentals


  • Assembly Language
  • Computer Architecture
  • CPU Architecture
  • Instruction Set Architectures
  • Registers, Addresses, and Data Types
  • Assembly File Structure
  • Assembling & Disassembling
  • GNU Debugger (GDB)
  • Debugging with GDB
  • Module Project
  • Data Movement
  • Arithmetic Instructions
  • Loops
  • Unconditional Branching
  • Conditional Branching
  • Using the Stack
  • Syscalls
  • Procedures
  • Functions
  • Libc Functions
  • Shellcodes
  • Shellcoding Techniques
  • Shellcoding Tools
  • Skills Assessment
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