StarCraft: Emulating a buffer overflow for fun and profit – REcon Brussels, 2018

Today I present my talk at REcon Brussels. It was about a problem I had to solve at work.

Basically, the classic StarCraft 1.16.1 had a buffer overflow that was exploited to create impressive maps well beyond the original game programming.

In this talk, I explained how I tackled the problem and emulated the buffer overflow so that exploited maps work on the latest version of StarCraft.

By the way, “StarCraft: Remastered” is free (in low-resolution, the HD resolution must be purchased). Download it from

Here’s the full talk abstract:

StarCraft 1.16.1 and older had a buffer overflow bug in the map parsing code. The hackers in South Korea leveraged the buffer overflow to create mods for the game. The mods became so popular that if we fix the buffer overflows we kill all the mods.

This talk shares the technical difficulties faced while solving this problem and also illustrates the various reverse engineering techniques used along the way:

  • How I approached the problem and how the reverse engineering efforts helped solving them
  • How I developed the tracers and instrumentation tools needed for the job
  • How the emulator was designed

You can also download the slides from here: