Book of the Month – A Guide to Kernel Exploitation

Anyone into Vulnerability Research and Exploitation knows how hard it is to discover a Security Vulnerability and then develop a reliable exploit for it. Now consider taking it from user land to kernel, the near impossible thing to get your shoes in for the show.

In that context, ‘A Guide to Kernel Exploitation’ new & unique book on this topic, attempts to bridge this knowledge gap and make that transition from user land to Kernel smoother and smarter than ever.



Here is the core information about this book

  • Title: A Guide to Kernel Exploitation – Attacking the Core
  • Author: Enrico Perla, Massimiliano Oldani
  • Publisher: Syngress
  • Hardcover: 442 pages
  • Price: $29 (as of this writing)
  • Release Date: September 15, 2010
  • Rating(Amazon):


Here is the table of contents

  • Part I: A Journey to Kernel Land
    • Chapter 1: From User-Land to Kernel-Land Attacks
    • Chapter 2: A Taxonomy of Kernel Vulnerabilities
    • Chapter 3: Stairway to Successful Kernel Exploitation
  • Part II: The UNIX Family, Mac OS X, and Windows
    • Chapter 4: The UNIX Family
    • Chapter 5: Mac OS X
    • Chapter 6: Windows
  • Part III: Remote Kernel Exploitation
    • Chapter 7: Facing the Challenges of Remote
    • Chapter 8: Putting It All Together: A Linux Case Study
  • Part IV: Final Words
    • Chapter 9: Kernel Evolution: Future Forms of Attack


First part of the book deals with technical jargon’s and caveats involved in the transition from user to kernel land attacks. It explains how it is entirely different from dealing with user-land and explains kernel perspective of various exploitation stuffs such as stack/heap overflow, virtual memory, crafting shell code,  multi-stage shellcodes, privilege handling etc.


Second part covers kernel basics on all 3 important Operating Systems Windows, Unix & MAC OS. Though it will be difficult to cover everything in one book but it does a fair job in tracking most of the stuffs required for kernel exploitation. Third section goes straight with Kernel remote exploitation describing everything you need to know to finish the game successfully. It also brings in a excellent case study with complete analysis of remote Kernel SCTP exploit for Linux. Finally it ends with various defensive measures for protecting your Kernel and possible advancements in the Kernel attacks in a near future surrounding Virtualization & Hypervisors.


Here are the Highlights

  • Practical, Latest & Great source for Kernel Exploitation
  • Covers Kernels from 3 important OS families –  Windows, Linux & MAC
  • Includes great case study of remote Kernel SCTP exploit.
  • Filled with more than few spelling mistakes, you can look at Errata here


To summarize, this is a great source to begin your journey into Kernel exploitation and well worth the price it is set for !

For other reviews on top security books look at our complete  ‘Book of the Month’ list.


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