The story behind shellcode...

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In the beginning there were bugs, and it was good. Bugs alone, however, are too woefully negative to be thought of in an emotively good light. For that reason, the hacker invented the exploit; the positive contribution to correct the problem of the negative stigma associated with the bug. With this exploit, and from the depths of the hacker’s kind heart, the hacker offered the program a chance to recover from a critical error by lending it some custom defined code to run in place of where it would have otherwise crashed. And so it was that the term came to be known as shellcode, a protective shell for an otherwise doomed program, and it was good.