Ghidra & Cerbero: released the native interface PoC

… or what happens when two multi-headed monsters meet. 🙂

I just released version 3.2 of Cerbero Suite which contains the anticipated proof-of-concept native interface for Ghidra. To install the necessary extension in Ghidra, open the “util” directory and extract the contents of ghidra.zip. You’ll find a PDF document with the setup instructions.

The interface works on Windows, Linux and OS X. How does it work you might wonder? It works via IPC, specifically via sockets. When I first came up with the idea I was curious about two things: to test the SDK of Cerbero against a new challenge and to see if the responsiveness of the UI would be good enough.

Regarding the responsiveness, I didn’t have an answer to that until I had a working disassembly view. I think it’s very responsive. In fact, I developed and tested the UI on different machines than the one running Ghidra and even in that scenario the UI was fast. 🙂

The PoC comes with the most fundamental views as you can see from the screen-shot. Navigation is complete, comments and bookmarks. Renaming is partially done, unfortunately renaming of variables is not yet supported. That was a feature which I wanted to have even in the PoC, but at a certain point I couldn’t delay any further the release.

Be aware that this is a PoC, I didn’t do extensive testing and there are some very important features which are still missing. Just to name a few: automatic refresh of the disassembly during analysis is missing, manual defining of code/data is missing, so is the capability to filter and sort table items.

Although things are missing, I tried to polish the UI enough to make it useful for some actual work and for a real evaluation on the user side. I didn’t experience any crash and in the worst case scenario you can just close the UI process and spawn a new one. In fact, you can even open multiple UI instances for the same file, it’s not an issue.

The whole project (research/C++ UI/Java extension) represents one month of work on my side. So I feel pretty confident that I can make the integration very smooth in a matter of a few months. The reason why I released this as a PoC is that before investing more time into it, I want to see if there’s actual interest for it from the community. The PoC itself was a nice project for myself, but now it’s up to you to decide if you want to make it mature into a real project.

Cerbero, as you know, is a commercial application, but it can be freely downloaded and used as a trial without any limitation. So trying it out shouldn’t be an issue.

Happy hacking! 🙂

NTCore revamped

After over a decade, I finally took two afternoons to revamp this personal web-page and to merge the content of the old NTCore page with the content of its blog (rcecafe.net). All the URLs of the old web-page and blog have been preserved in the process.

The people who voted for this on Twitter are the guilty ones.

You know who you are.

Preparing a bugfix version of CFF Explorer

It has been many years since the last update of what had started as a hobby side-project when I was 19. I’m sorry that I haven’t updated the CFF for such a long time, given that thousands of people use it every day. A few months ago I stopped working for Hex-Rays to fully dedicate myself to my own company and thus I have decided that I have now the time and the energy (barely) to finally update the CFF.

Over the years I’ve received several bugfix requests, but couldn’t oblige because of the lack of time. If you’re interested that a particular fix goes into the upcoming release, please leave a comment under this blog post or drop me an email to ntcore@gmail.com (feel free to repeat the request, as it might have been lost during the years).

Please don’t include radical changes or improvements, we’ll leave that for later maybe. If your company needs professional PE inspection (not editing), I’d advice you to check out my current commercial product at cerbero.io/profiler, which doesn’t cover ‘just’ the Portable Executable format.

UPDATE: Uploaded new version with the following improvements:

– Dropped Itanium version
– Added ENCLog and ENCMap .NET tables
– Modify resources of system files (MUI limitation)
– Fixed resource loop bug
– Fixed MDTables string overflow bug
– Fixed command line scripting bug
– Fixed ‘Select All’ bug in hex editor
– Fixed missing offset check in .NET tables
– Fixed missing reloc size check
– Fixed scripting handles bug
– Use FTs when OFTs are invalid
– Updated UPX

You can continue to leave comments or send me emails. As soon as there are enough new bug reports, I’ll upload a new version. In time, maybe, some small improvements could be included apart from bug fixes.

A malware with my name

There’s a malware circulating that contains my name in its version information. I’m, of course, not the author (putting one’s own name in the version info would be brilliant). I’m clarifying, as three people already contacted me about it since yesterday.

It was probably done on purpose and it’s not the result of a random generation of different version info, as I suspect. What the author/s of this malware ignore, is that they made me stumble on an additional technique against malware, that’ll probably damage their business and force them to work more.

Given my very limited amount of spare time, it’s too soon to discuss this.

PDF Insider Demo

A small, on the fly video presentation of my new utility.



The emphasis of this application stands on parsing correctly the PDF format, if it can’t because the PDF is malformed (very common among malicious PDFs), then it provides the tools to read the objects nonetheless. I tested it on many PDF (also malicious ones) and it handles all of them very well.

As I have written this application in five days, there are still some small features I’d like to add, but most of the code is already there. I started the development of it quite some time ago on a weekend while I was sick at home and have found only now the time to finish it.

I have no plans about how and when to release it yet, but some friends of mine will start using it in real world scenarios.

P.S. Thanks to Alessandro Gario for the throughout testing.