Security testing C and C++ applications

3 days
On-site or online

22 Labs


4 Case Studies


C/C++ developers and testers


General C/C++ development, testing and QA

Standards and references

SEI CERT, CWE and Fortify Taxonomy

Group size

12 participants


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

What you will learn

  • Getting familiar with essential cyber security concepts
  • Understanding security testing methodology and approaches
  • Identify vulnerabilities and their consequences
  • Learn the security best practices in C and C++
  • Input validation approaches and principles
  • Getting familiar with security testing techniques and tools


Your application written in C and C++ is tested functionally, 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.

Testing for security needs a remarkable software security expertise and 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.

A special focus is given to finding all discussed issues during testing, and an overview is provided on security testing methodology, techniques and tools.

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

So that nothing unexpected happens.


Table of contents

  • Cyber security basics
  • Memory management vulnerabilities
    • Assembly basics and calling conventions
      • x64 assembly essentials
      • Registers and addressing
      • Most common instructions
      • Calling conventions on x64
        • Calling convention – what it is all about
        • The stack frame
        • 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
      • Pointer manipulation
        • Modification of jump tables
        • Overwriting function pointers
    • Best practices and some typical mistakes
      • Unsafe functions
      • Dealing with unsafe functions
      • Lab – Fixing buffer overflow
      • What’s the problem with asctime()?
      • Lab – The problem with asctime()
      • 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
      • Testing for typical mistakes
  • Memory management hardening
    • 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
  • Security testing
    • Security testing vs functional testing
    • Manual and automated methods
    • Security testing methodology
      • Security testing – goals and methodologies
      • Overview of security testing processes
      • Identifying and rating assets
        • Preparation
        • Identifying assets
        • Identifying the attack surface
        • Assigning security requirements
        • Lab – Identifying and rating assets
      • Threat modeling
        • SDL threat modeling
        • Mapping STRIDE to DFD
        • DFD example
        • Attack trees
        • Attack tree example
        • Lab – Crafting an attack tree
        • Misuse cases
        • Misuse case examples
        • Risk analysis
        • Lab – Risk analysis
        • Reporting, recommendations, and review
  • Common software security weaknesses
    • Security features
      • Authentication
        • Authentication basics
        • Multi-factor authentication
        • Authentication weaknesses
      • Password management
        • Inbound password management
  • Common software security weaknesses
    • Input validation
      • Input validation principles
      • What to validate – the attack surface
      • Where to validate – defense in depth
      • When to validate – validation vs transformations
      • Validation with regex
      • Injection
        • Injection principles
        • Injection attacks
        • 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
            • Testing for command injection
      • 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
          • UBSan changes to arithmetics
          • Lab – Handling integer overflow on the toolchain level in C and C++
          • Best practices in C++
          • Lab – Integer handling best practices in C++
        • Testing for numeric problems
      • Files and streams
        • Path traversal
        • Lab – Path traversal
        • Path traversal-related examples
        • Path traversal best practices
        • Lab – Path canonicalization
        • Testing for path traversal
  • Security testing
    • Security testing techniques and tools
      • Code analysis
        • Static Application Security Testing (SAST)
        • Lab – Using static analysis tools
      • Dynamic analysis
        • Security testing at runtime
        • Penetration testing
        • Stress testing
        • Dynamic analysis tools
          • Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)
        • Fuzzing
          • Fuzzing techniques
          • Fuzzing – Observing the process
  • 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
      • Security testing 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

  • Send us a brief description of your business’s training needs
  • Include your contact information
  • One of our colleagues will be in touch to schedule a free consultation about training requirements


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