Reverse Engineering Linux 32-bit Applications

This course will familiarize students with all aspects of reverse engineering (reversing) Linux 32-bit applications for the purposes of locating flaws and developing exploits. By the end of this course students will be able to understand, locate, and exploit all of the common flows in 32-bit Linux software. These flaws include, but are not limited to, buffer overflow, heap overflows, format string flaws, section overflows, and kernel flaws. Along the way students will gain a better understanding of how Linux 32-bit applications work and will be exposed to a number of common reversing tools such as specialized debuggers (IDA Pro) and fuzzers.  As always, you will also learn how to leverage Python and other scripting tools in order to automate the discovery and exploitation of software flaws.


A non-exhaustive list of topics to be covered includes:

  • Getting started
    • Acquiring software
      • Virtualization
    • Debuggers
      • IDA Pro
      • Freeware Linux debuggers
    • Scripting tools
    • Decompilers
    • Fuzzers
  • Setting up your testing environment
  • A little Assembly
    • Basics of 32-bit Intel Assembly
    • Calling conventions used by Linux
  • Stack overflows
    • Theory
    • Locating
    • Calculating offsets
    • Payload delivery
    • Exploit techniques
    • Stack protectors
  • Heap overflows
    • Theory
    • Locating
    • Payload delivery
    • Exploit techniques
  • Format string flaws
    • Theory
    • Locating
    • Payload delivery
    • Exploit techniques
  • Section overflows and kernel flaws
    • Theory
    • Locating
    • Payload delivery
    • Exploit techniques
  • Automation
    • Automating flaw discovery
      • Python
      • Shell scripting
      • Fuzzers
  • Shellcoding basics
    • Theory
    • Where to get shell code
    • Writing your own shell code
  • Metasploit
    • Creating exploit modules
    • Avoiding detection

Reverse Engineering Linux 32-bit Applications Course Videos


IDA Pro  

Reverse Engineering Linux 32-bit Applications Purchase Options

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Dr. Philip Polstra

Dr. Philip Polstra (Dr. Phil) has been involved with technology since an early age. He and one of his brothers cleaned out their savings to purchase a TI-99/4a computer in the early 80’s, much to the chagrin of his parents. He has been tinkering with computers and electronics ever since. Phil is an internationally recognized hardware hacker and information security expert. He has made repeat appearances at several of the top conferences worldwide. Here are just a few of the conferences he has spoken at: DEFCON (six times in four years), Blackhat, 44CON, GrrCON, BruCon, ForenSecure, SecTOR, c0c0n, Shakacon, B-sides Detroit, and B-sides Iowa. His work on developing small affordable hacking devices is documented in the book “Hacking and Penetration Testing with Low Power Devices”. He is also known for his work on USB hacking and forensics. Phil has published several articles on USB-related topics.

Phil is an Associate Professor in the department of Math, Computer Science, and Statistics at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania where he teaches Digital Forensics. His current research focus is on developing ultra-low-power hacking hardware. Phil also performs security penetration tests and forensic investigations on a consulting basis. His book “Linux Forensics” is considered a must have by a number of people in the forensics and information security community.

In addition to in-person training, consulting, presenting at conferences, and running conference workshops, Phil has also produced hundreds of instructional videos. His video courses are available at, PluralSight, O’Reilly,, and elsewhere.

When not teaching, Phil enjoys spending time with his family, tinkering with electronics, attending infosec conferences, experimenting with software defined radio (SDR) and various aviation activities. Phil is an accomplished aviator with a dozen ratings, all of which are current. Phil’s ratings include Commercial Pilot, Flight Instructor, Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic, Aircraft Inspector, and Avionics Technician. His flight hours are measured in the thousands and he has been known to build aircraft.

Books Authored by Philip

Linux Forensics     (5 Stars on

Linux Forensics will guide you step by step through the process of investigating a computer running Linux. Everything you need to know from the moment you receive the call from someone who thinks they have been attacked until the final report is written is covered in this book. All of the tools discussed in this book are free and most are also open source.

Hacking and Penetration Testing with Low Power Devices     (4.5 Stars on

Hacking and Penetration Testing with Low Power Devices shows you how to perform penetration tests using small, low-powered devices that are easily hidden and may be battery-powered. It shows how to use an army of devices, costing less than you might spend on a laptop, from distances of a mile or more. The book shows you how to use devices running a version of The Deck, a full-featured penetration testing and forensics Linux distribution, and can run for days or weeks on batteries due to their low power consumption. Author Philip Polstra shows how to use various configurations, including a device the size of a deck of cards that can easily be attached to the back of a computer.