Inverse Search

2019-12-21

I just stumbled upon an interesting realization regarding search on the Internet. A few minutes ago I was just searching for myself -- out of sheer curiosity -- on DuckDuckGo, keyword shellblade. Amidst countless results on the shell blade in Zelda and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice are shy, but noticeable references to some of my blog posts. The websites that I have come across all appear to be very interesting, most of them being personal websites written by people that remind you that there is a part of the Web that has not been corrupted by corporate greed. One of the references to my site even comes from a research paper that links to my most popular post: a tutorial on the ret2libc attack. I find this amusing given that the post is riddled with grammar errors, written back when I was just 16. Second in place seems to be my monad tutorial for C++ programmers. And so on.

Naturally, the sites that reference my site share an affinity with the things I write about. This is an obvious consequence of the Web, but something I had never really pondered about. In writing about a specific topic, I indirectly announce my relation to that topic. The presentation of the content may also play a role: the plain and simple style of my website may be more attractive to a certain type of audience. In putting all of this out on the Web, I am shinning a little beacon in the vast and open Internet, announcing my posts and attracting more of the same kind. The links forms naturally, as if from a force of nature.

On the other hand, had I searched for these amazing websites directly, websites with countless tutorials on a variety of hack-the-box-style topics written by independent people, would I have been able to find them? On many occasions, I wouldn't even know what to search for. All of this made me realize that perhaps a good way to find the things you are most interested in is to simply write about them. It's like an inverse search.

So, I am going to play my turn of the game and link back to these sites. Hello world.

Buffer Overflow Examples, Bypassing non-executable stack by re2libc - protostar stack6

0x44696f21 – A Techy Journey

Exploiting a Stack Buffer Overflow (return-to-libc attack)

On the Effectiveness of Control-Flow Integrity Against Modern Attack Techniques

Functional Programming in C++