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PlaidCTF2020 PlaidStore mojo chromium

 ·  ☕ 6 min read



Hi, everyone, this is the writeup for the challenge 500pts “mojo” of PlaidCTF 2020.

As usual, I got the flag after the CTF has ended :<

Well, currently I am not in any active teams, so I decided to pick a hard challenge and do it on my own.

You may want to checkout the exploit code

Challenge Description

Chromium commit detached at 81.0.4044.92 (commit hash 82e68b9038ab5679543b300b42202bc053c50930).

Our task is to RCE chromium browser, after applying this diff

We are also provided generated mojo-js files to interact with the IPC.

+++ b/third_party/blink/public/mojom/plaidstore/plaidstore.mojom
@@ -0,0 +1,11 @@
+module blink.mojom;
+// This interface provides a data store
+interface PlaidStore {
+  // Stores data in the data store
+  StoreData(string key, array<uint8> data);
+  // Gets data from the data store
+  GetData(string key, uint32 count) => (array<uint8> data);

We now have access to the new interface through MojoJS.

Path of Exploitation

Creating connection

Urghhh, I stuck on this part for more than a day just to find the way to interact with the interface.
Lots of google-fu, renderer bad messages, promise rejection :<

But it’s actually really easy :<. Just add those lines to your html

<script src="mojo/public/js/mojo_bindings_lite.js"></script>
<script src="third_party/blink/public/mojom/plaidstore/plaidstore.mojom-lite.js"></script>

and in an async function of your Javascript, use this line to get a handle of the object, owned by the current frame, and interact.

let p = blink.mojom.PlaidStore.getRemote(true);
await p.storeData("yeet",new Uint8Array(0x28).fill(0x41));
(await p.getData("yeet", count).data;


The first bug

Well, the first bug I noticed was this one

void PlaidStoreImpl::GetData(
	    const std::string &key,
	    uint32_t count,
	    GetDataCallback callback) {
	  if (!render_frame_host_->IsRenderFrameLive()) {
	  auto it = data_store_.find(key);
	  if (it == data_store_.end()) {
	  std::vector<uint8_t> result(it->second.begin(), it->second.begin() + count);

Can you spot the most obvious bug?

The count parameter has no checks on it.
As a result, the result array is being intialized with out-of-bound memory if count is larger than it->second.size()
So we got a heap out-of-bound read here.

To leak useful pointers from the heap, I put 0x40 arrays of (0x28 bytes) to the PlaidStore,
while attempting to allocate PlaidStore object right after each allocation.
Most of the time, the PlaidStore objects will lie after those arrays, which means we can read their pointers.

The most interesting one is their C++ vtable pointer, it points to the DATA section of the binary and contains pointers to instance methods.
So we could read that pointer, subtract it from the offset and find the base of the binary in memory.

PlaidStoreImpl objects will have the vtable pointer at offset 0 (always) and to its render_frame_host_ at offset 8 (C++ classes are like structs).

Because a few high bits of the vtable address is always the same, and same goes to the highest byte, we could find them easily in the leak.

content::PlaidStoreImpl::PlaidStoreImpl is the constructor of the object so it will set the vtable

chrome[0x3c584a8] <+24>:  call   0x57044b0                 ; operator new(unsigned long)
chrome[0x3c584ad] <+29>:  lea    rcx, [rip + 0x635e2ec]    ; vtable for content::PlaidStoreImpl + 16
chrome[0x3c584b4] <+36>:  mov    qword ptr [rax], rcx
>>> hex(0x3c584b4+0x635e2ec)
'0x9fb67a0' -> the pointer(unslided) will be stored at offset 0

Or (lldb) image lookup -r -v -s "vtable for content::PlaidStoreImpl" will do the trick.

Keep it mind that the stored address will be off +16 bytes from the symbol

Anyway, so we should find the pointer that looks like 0x5x..7a0

And the pointer lie next to that will be its render_frame_host_

Get code execution…

At the starts of all methods of PlaidStore, there’s a check (!render_frame_host_->IsRenderFrameLive()) seems to check whether its frame is live.
But it doesn’t take into account that its render_frame_host_ is valid or not.

If the PlaidStore’s frame has been freed, its render_frame_host_ will be dangling and the memory it is pointing to is subjected to reallocation.

So there’s definitely an use-after-free bug here.

To exploit that, we could create an iframe in the document.body and get its PlaidStore pointer, which will have its render_frame_host_ pointed to the iframe.

We can easily access the iframe’s properties, as long as its source is in the same origin.

After get the PlaidStore pointer from there, we could deallocate the iframe by remove it from the document.body.

The best way to reallocate it back is to creating some allocations of the same size, for example 1024 allocations.
By doing that, we are creating pressure to the memory and most of the time, the frame will ended up being garbage-collected and let us allocate to the same memory.

Also, you can’t rely on the fact that that memory is returned to allocation immediately, and by allocating numerous of times, it will increase the chance of successful reallocation.

The RenderFrameHost object’s size is 0xc28, which could be found by the method below:

  • content::RenderFrameHostImpl::RenderFrameHostImpl() is called after that C++ object is allocated (a.k.a. constructor)

  • Searching in the chromium source, it’s called from content::RenderFrameHostFactory::Create(), looking into that function…

  • Just before the constructor is called, the object’s allocated using operator new(unsigned long size)

  • So we can figure out the size using a new called that comes before the constructor is called.

	mov    edi, 0xc28;
	call operator new(); => size = 0xc28

So now we have a handle to a fake RenderFrameHost object that its content is controlled by us.

With that primitive, we could fake its vtable, and now render_frame_host_->IsRenderFrameLive()’s now ours.

chrome[0x3c581da] <+26>:  mov    rdi, qword ptr [rdi + 0x8] //rdi = this->render_frame_host_
chrome[0x3c581de] <+30>:  mov    rax, qword ptr [rdi]//rax = vtable
chrome[0x3c581e1] <+33>:  call   qword ptr [rax + 0x160]//call vtable->IsRenderFrameLive

So the pointer at offset 0x160 of the fake object’s vtable is called (fake->vtable[0x160]()), we could put the address of our first gadget in the ROP chain there.

I put a xchg rax, rsp first to change the stack pointer to point to our controlled data.

From here, we do a classic ROP chain to execvp@plt to read the flag.

Use ROPgadget to find gadgets in the binary. ropper analysis took me forever.

Further details about the ROP chain could be found in pwn.js


Most of the parts are contained in pwn.js.

The HTMLs parts are zipped in
Put them inside the extracted directory of

The Flag

The flag is


But it didn’t bring me any 500pts :<


  • The challenge author for making me get into chromium for the first time.

  • You, for reading till here.

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Nguyen Hoang Trung
Nguyen Hoang Trung
Hobbyist Security Researcher