Command heap

The heap command provides information on the heap chunk specified as argument. For the moment, it only supports GlibC heap format (see this link for malloc structure information). Syntax to the subcommands is straight forward:

gef➤ heap <sub_commands>

heap chunks command

Displays all the chunks from the heap section.

gef➤ heap chunks

In some cases, the allocation will start immediately from start of the page. If so, specify the base address of the first chunk as follow:

gef➤ heap chunks <LOCATION>


heap chunk command

This command gives visual information of a Glibc malloc-ed chunked. Simply provide the address to the user memory pointer of the chunk to show the information related to a specific chunk:

gef➤ heap chunk <LOCATION>


heap arenas command

Multi-threaded programs have different arenas, and the knowledge of the main_arena is not enough. gef therefore provides the arena sub-commands to help you list all the arenas allocated in your program at the moment you call the command.


heap set-arena command

In cases where the debug symbol are not present (e.g. statically stripped binary), it is possible to instruct GEF to find the main_arena at a different location with the command:

gef➤ heap set-arena <LOCATION>

If the arena address is correct, all heap commands will be functional, and use the specified address for main_arena.

heap bins command

Glibc uses bints for keeping tracks of freed chunks. This is because making allocations through sbrk (requiring a syscall) is costly. Glibc uses those bins to remember formerly allocated chunks. Because bins are structured in single or doubly linked list, I found that quite painful to always interrogate gdb to get a pointer address, dereference it, get the value chunk, etc... So I decided to implement the heap bins sub-command, which allows to get info on:

  • fastbins
  • bins
    • unsorted
    • small bins
    • large bins

heap bins fast command

When exploiting heap corruption vulnerabilities, it is sometimes convenient to know the state of the fastbinsY array.

The fast sub-command helps by displaying the list of fast chunks in this array. Without any other argument, it will display the info of the main_arena arena. It accepts an optional argument, the address of another arena (which you can easily find using heap arenas).

gef➤ heap bins fast
[+] FastbinsY of arena 0x7ffff7dd5b20
Fastbin[0] 0x00
Fastbin[1]  →  FreeChunk(0x600310)  →  FreeChunk(0x600350)
Fastbin[2] 0x00
Fastbin[3] 0x00
Fastbin[4] 0x00
Fastbin[5] 0x00
Fastbin[6] 0x00
Fastbin[7] 0x00
Fastbin[8] 0x00
Fastbin[9] 0x00

Other heap bins X command

All the other subcommands for the heap bins work the same way as fast. If no argument is provided, gef will fall back to main_arena. Otherwise, it will use the address pointed as the base of the malloc_state structure and print out information accordingly.