`smash the stack` [C programming] n. On many C implementations it is possible to corrupt the execution stack by writing past the end of an array declared auto in a routine. Code that does this is said to smash the stack, and can cause return from the routine to jump to a random address. This can produce some of the most insidious data-dependent bugs known to mankind. Variants include trash the stack, scribble the stack, mangle the stack; the term mung the stack is not used, as this is never done intentionally. See spam; see also alias bug, fandango on core, memory leak, precedence lossage, overrun screw.
We present new techniques that allow a return-into-libc attack to be mounted on x86 executables that calls no functions at all. Our attack combines a large number of short instruction sequences to build gadgets that allow arbitrary computation. We show how to discover such instruction sequences by means of static analysis. We make use, in an essential way, of the properties of the x86 instruction set.
CS '07: Proceedings of the 14th ACM conference on Computer and communications security, October 2007, Pages 552–561.