Secure coding in C and C++ - ARM

3 days
On-site or online

27 Labs


5 Case Studies


ARM architecture


C/C++ developers


General C/C++ development

Standards and references

SEI CERT, CWE and Fortify Taxonomy

Group size

12 participants


  • Cyber security basics
  • Memory management vulnerabilities
  • Memory management hardening
  • Common software security weaknesses
  • Wrap up

What you will learn

  • Getting familiar with essential cyber security concepts
  • Correctly implementing various security features
  • Identify vulnerabilities and their consequences
  • Learn the security best practices in C and C++
  • Input validation approaches and principles


Your application written in C and C++ works as intended, so you are done, right? But did you consider feeding in incorrect values? 16Gbs of data? A null? An apostrophe? Negative numbers, or specifically -1 or -2^31? Because that’s what the bad guys will do – and the list is far from complete.

Handling security needs a healthy level of paranoia, and this is what this course provides: a strong emotional engagement by lots of hands-on labs and stories from real life, all to substantially improve code hygiene. Mistakes, consequences, and best practices are our blood, sweat and tears.

All this is put in the context of C and C++, and extended by core programming issues, discussing security pitfalls of these languages.

So that you are prepared for the forces of the dark side.

So that nothing unexpected happens.


They said about us

Need to become a more defensive programmer

I liked all the information that was presented. next step: investigate potential problems in our codebase in regard of topics discussed.

Participant , October, 2020

Stockholm, Sweden

Table of contents

  • Cyber security basics
  • Memory management vulnerabilities
    • Assembly basics and calling conventions
      • ARM assembly essentials
      • Registers and addressing
      • Basic ARM64 instructions
      • ARM calling conventions
        • The calling convention
        • The stack frame
        • Calling convention implementation on ARM64
        • Stacked function calls
    • Buffer overflow
      • Memory management and security
      • Buffer security issues
      • Buffer overflow on the stack
        • Buffer overflow on the stack – stack smashing
        • Exploitation – Hijacking the control flow
        • Lab – Buffer overflow 101, code reuse
        • Exploitation – Arbitrary code execution
        • Injecting shellcode
        • Lab – Code injection, exploitation with shellcode
      • Buffer overflow on the heap
        • Unsafe unlinking
        • Case study – Heartbleed
    • Best practices and some typical mistakes
      • Unsafe functions
      • Dealing with unsafe functions
      • Lab – Fixing buffer overflow
      • Using std::string in C++
      • Unterminated strings
      • readlink() and string termination
      • Manipulating C-style strings in C++
      • Malicious string termination
      • Lab – String termination confusion
      • String length calculation mistakes
      • Off-by-one errors
      • Allocating nothing
  • Memory management hardening
    • Securing the toolchain
      • Securing the toolchain in C and C++
      • Using FORTIFY_SOURCE
      • Lab – Effects of FORTIFY
      • AddressSanitizer (ASan)
        • Using AddressSanitizer (ASan)
        • Lab – Using AddressSanitizer
      • Stack smashing protection
        • Detecting BoF with a stack canary
        • Argument cloning
        • Stack smashing protection on various platforms
        • SSP changes to the prologue and epilogue
        • Lab – Effects of stack smashing protection
    • Runtime protections
      • Runtime instrumentation
      • Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR)
        • ASLR on various platforms
        • Lab – Effects of ASLR
        • Circumventing ASLR – NOP sleds
        • Circumventing ASLR – memory leakage
      • Non-executable memory areas
        • The NX bit
        • Write XOR Execute (W^X)
        • NX on various platforms
        • Lab – Effects of NX
        • NX circumvention – Code reuse attacks
          • Return-to-libc / arc injection
        • Return Oriented Programming (ROP)
          • Protection against ROP
          • ARM-specific ROP protection techniques
  • Common software security weaknesses
    • Security features
    • Code quality
      • Code quality and security
      • Data handling
        • Type mismatch
        • Lab – Type mismatch
        • Initialization and cleanup
          • Constructors and destructors
          • Initialization of static objects
          • Lab – Initialization cycles
          • Array disposal in C++
          • Lab – Mixing delete and delete[]
      • Memory and pointers
        • Memory and pointer issues
        • Pointer handling pitfalls
        • Null pointers
          • NULL dereference
          • NULL dereference in pointer-to-member operators
        • Pointer usage in C and C++
          • Use after free
          • Lab – Use after free
          • Lab – Runtime instrumentation
          • Double free
          • Smart pointers
          • Smart pointer best practices
  • Common software security weaknesses
    • Input validation
      • Input validation principles
      • Denylists and allowlists
      • What to validate – the attack surface
      • Where to validate – defense in depth
      • When to validate – validation vs transformations
      • Validation with regex
      • Regular expression denial of service (ReDoS)
      • Lab – ReDoS
      • Dealing with ReDoS
      • Injection
        • Code injection
          • OS command injection
            • Lab – Command injection
            • OS command injection best practices
            • Avoiding command injection with the right APIs
            • Lab – Command injection best practices
            • Case study – Shellshock
            • Lab – Shellshock
      • Process control
        • Library injection
        • Lab – Library hijacking
        • Library injection best practices
      • Integer handling problems
        • Representing signed numbers
        • Integer visualization
        • Integer promotion
        • Integer overflow
        • Lab – Integer overflow
        • Signed / unsigned confusion
        • Case study – The Stockholm Stock Exchange
        • Lab – Signed / unsigned confusion
        • Integer truncation
        • Lab – Integer truncation
        • Case study – WannaCry
        • Best practices
          • Upcasting
          • Precondition testing
          • Postcondition testing
          • Best practices in C
          • Lab – Handling integer overflow on the toolchain level in C and C++
          • Best practices in C++
          • Lab – Integer handling best practices in C++
      • Files and streams
        • Path traversal
        • Lab – Path traversal
        • Path traversal best practices
        • Lab – Path canonicalization
  • Wrap up
    • Secure coding principles
      • Principles of robust programming by Matt Bishop
      • Secure design principles of Saltzer and Schroeder
    • And now what?
      • Software security sources and further reading
      • C and C++ resources


3 days Session Price

2250 EUR / person

  • Live, instructor led classroom training
  • Discussion and insight into the hacker’s mindset
  • Hands-on practice using case studies based on high-profile hacks and live lab exercises
Customized course

Tailor a course to your preferences

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