Windows Vista Security

User Mode Security

User Account Protection (UAP)
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Unrestricted Process (Elevation)
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Mandatory Integrity Control(MIC) UI Privlilege Isolation (UIPI) Restricted Process Standard methods The Legacy Shell Trick Consent Prompts and Admin Brokers

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Service Isolation File and Registry Virtualization
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Possible Attacks

Registry Virtualization File Virtualization Low Rights IE Virtualization

User Account Protection (UAP)

Limited User Accounts

Standard user accounts preferred

Problem: software isn’t always written for “Standard” user accounts Runs programs with minimal privileges Must authenticate protected actions Can run programs unrestricted “Unprotected”

Administrators start as “Protected”
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Mandatory Integrity Control(MIC)
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Every “securable object” has an Integrity Children inherit integrity parents Interactions exist at equal or lesser integrity

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Higher integrity can act on lower through certain functions Any interaction allowed through IPC (BAD) Lower Integrity server can impersonate higher integrity. (ImpersonateNamedPipeClient)

Mandatory Integrity Control Levels
Integrity Access Level High System Privileges Administrative (can install files to the Program Files folder and write to sensitive registry areas like HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE) User (can create and modify files in the user's Documents folder and write to user-specific areas of the registry, such as HKEY_CURRENT_USER) Untrusted (can only write to low integrity locations, such as the Temporary Internet Files\Low folder or the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Softwar e\LowRegistry key)



UI Privilege Isolation (UIPI)

Added to prevent Shatter attacks

LI process can’t send messages to a HI Process
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SendMessage PostMessage SetWindowsHookEx SetWinEventHook

LI process can’t hook into a HI process
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Restricted Process

How is it restricted

Security token normally has all privileges  Some are disabled (Ignored during permission checks)  Process can re-enable them Security token created with less privileges (CreateRestrictedToken)  Some privileges removed  Some privileges marked deny only “Group used for deny only”  Explicit denials for group propagate  Explicit allows do not

Unrestricted Process (Elevation)

Process are run elevated when  Process is a .msi or .exe and a registered installer  Process exists in app compatibility database
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Proper registry with entry value RUNASADMIN <application_name>.sbd created by CompatAdmin.exe

Aplication Manifest (<appname>.exe.manifest) contains requestedExecutionLevel of requireAdministrator User right clicks executable and clicks “Run Elevated…” from explorer Executed by an already privileged process

The Legacy Shell Trick

Kill explorer from taskmanager.exe and restart it with file->new task

Why does this work?
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New shell running with highest integrity

Fixed in later builds of Vista

WinLogon.exe handles Secure Attention Sequence (ctrl+alt+delete and ctrl+shift+esc) taskmanager started this way is created with high integrity File->new task creates a process with CreateProcess instead of CreateRestrictedProcess

Consent Prompts and Admin Brokers

Windows Explorer can’t launch unrestricted apps on its own
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AppInfo Admin Broker service (runs as LocalSystem) RunAsAdminProcess consent.exe run by AppInfo

Restricted Token Medium Integrity

Creates process  ImpersonateLoggedOnUser  CreateProcessAsUser (not CreateProcess)

Security Token
User In Administrators Group


User In Users Group


Local Security Authority

Standard User Token

Full Access Consent

Standard User Token

Administrator Credentials

Full Administrator Token

Service Isolation
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Services use to exist in the same session Vista Services run in “Isolated Session 0”
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Services can’t open dialogs on desktop Neither can services marked interactive

Dialogs from interactive services are actually a Terminal Service Context Consent Prompts?

AppInfo runs consent in the user’s desktop session with CreateProcessAsUser

File and Registry Virtualization


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Developers don’t code applications properly Assume the need for admin privileges Need to provide backwards compatibility Need to provide separation and safety

Registry Virtualization
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Implemented by kernel Write attempts to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software redirected to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Virtu alStore\MACHINE\Software Provides per-user settings in apps that used registry for storage. Provides isolation between users.

File Virtualization
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Implemented as a FS filter driver (luafv.sys) Example: Program files  Foo writes to c:\Program Files\foo\foo.ini  Foo is running as unprivileged and fails  Filter driver maps c:\Program Files\foo\foo.ini to peruser virtualized area.  %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\C\Progra ~1\foo contains user-specific copy of foo.ini Certain executable types not virtualized (cmd, bat, exe, dll, etc..) Provides isolation Provides per-user settings (in certain cases)

Low Rights IE Virtualization

Virtualization not done by Filter Driver, done by AppCompat shim dll Why?

Low integrity process can’t even write to the virtualized areas Uses special broker applications for tasks

Low Rights IE Virtualization Components
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User runs IEUser.exe (Med integrity) IEUser.exe spawns IExplorer.exe (Low Integrity) Any admin level requests handled by IEInstall.exe

Ex-Possible Attacks
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Low Integrity – IE Approach Medium Integrity

Method 1 – Slight of Hand/Bait and switch Method 2 – Slight of Hand/Bait and switch

Low integrity – IE Approach

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Unknown IE Exploit allows injection of arbitrary code Code is run at low integrity Low integrity code can loopback on localhost (gains default med integrity) Code can now insert files into the filesystem eg. Virtualized start menu startup folder No longer valid as of Beta 2

Medium Integrity - Method 1

User expects consent prompt
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User is slow User clicks through

Malicious app checks for all instances of consent.exe If called on behalf of spoof target copy our bad version over the good one

Medium Integrity - Method 2

Global COM Objects


User Specific COM Objects

User objects have prescient over system
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Enumerate system COM objects Create paths to malicious versions in current_user

No longer valid, only local_machine keys are referred to for elevation

Kernel Mode Security
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Booting Vista Driver Signing Patch Guard Secure Bootup Restricted user-mode access to \Device\PhysicalMemory

Booting Vista (Stage 1)
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Locates and runs bootmgr for legacy PC/AT Bios and bootmgr.efi for an efi system “The Vista Boot Manager calls InitializeLibrary, which in turn calls BlpArchInitialize (GDT, IDT, etc.), … BlpTpmInitialize (TPM), BlpIoInitialize (file systems), … BlBdInitialize (debugging), BlDisplayInitialize, …“ Boot.init replaced with BCD file Selects boot description and runs BlImageLoadBootApplication  Calls BlFveSecureBootUnlockBootDevice and BlFveSecureBootCheckpointBootApp if Full Volume Encryption is enabled.

Booting Vista (Stage 2)

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WINLOAD.EXE replaces NTLDR.EXE as the os loader Performs many of the same tasks as bootmgr Discovers disks and loads the hive Loads OS Signed catalog

Booting Vista (Stage 2) cont.

Verifies its own integrity and that of other system files
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Does not boot if they don’t match Will however boot if a debugger is attached except on certain key files  Loads appropriate driver for debugging
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Usb Firewire Serial

Loads remaining drivers in order from the hive

Booting Vista (Stage 3)


Responsible for code verification of system drivers Runtime checks (PatchGuard and CI.DLL)

Driver Signing
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Windows Vista 64-bit edition only All Kernel mode drivers must have a class 3 cert Justification:
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Stability – less hackish code in kernel Security – Prevents root kits DRM protection

Ulterior Motives:

Driver Signing (Implementation)
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WINLOAD.EXE - Boot driver checks NTOSKRNL.EXE – All other driver (uses CI.DLL) Functions
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MinCrypL_CheckSignedFile MinCrypL_CheckImageHash MinCryptK_FindPageHashesInCatalog

Driver Signing (Implementation)

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Used by WINLOAD.EXE and CI.DLL Parses certificate to check validity Checks certificate against a root certificate
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Hard coded list of 8 certificates in binary Adding certificates to system certificates doesn’t add to this list.

If certificate is signed by a root authority validate it
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Parse public key info/RSA Public Key Convert the key to a “Safe” public key Verify signing according to PKCS1

Driver Signing (Implementation)

MinCrypL_CheckImageHash  Used by WINLOAD.exe  Verifies driver matches images in the signed catalog  Walks linked list of catalogs pointed to by g_CatalogList calling I_CheckImageHashInCatalog on each MinCryptK_FindPageHashesInCatalog  Used by CI.DLL  Checks code pages of process or driver at runtime.  Binary searches for matching page hash in

Patch Guard
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Can not be disabled Polls at 5-10 minute intervals to verify kernel structures are intact
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SSDT (System Service Descriptor Table) GDT (Global Descriptor Table) IDT (Interrupt Descriptor Table) System images (ntoskrnl.exe, ndis.sys, hal.dll) Processor MSRs (syscall)

Patch Guard (Implementation)

Uses Obfuscation and Misdirection “raise the bar” Example:
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Initialization nt!KiDivide6432 (What does it do?)
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Throws divide processor exception Patch Guard Initialization called in exception handler

Patch Guard (Implementation)

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Creates random key Creates random rotate number Picks a fake memory pool tag
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Initializes memory Zeroes it Fills it with structures Encrypts structures in memory

Patch Guard (Attacks)

Exception Handler Hooking – Verification relies on exceptions, hook the exception and turn it into a nop KeBugCheckEX Hook – When called check if bug check code is 0x109 if so reset stack pointer and instruction pointer to the thread and carry on Finding the timer – Find the timer event and remove it. Not reliable and not portable since it uses an unexported address Simulating Hotpatching – Use the Hotpatch api to trick windows

Secure Bootup
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TPM Holds key used for full drive encryption Takes measurments of boot items such as ROM images and firmware images Special boot code in TPM decrypts the boot loader Boot loader asks for full drive encryption key from TPM Boots the same as detailed in Booting Vista

Disabled user-mode access to \Device\PhysicalMemory

Started with Windows Server 2003 SP1 Crazylord (p59-0x10) – showed a method for detecting bios root kits using \Device\PhysicalMemory

The End

Frame-Based Exception Handlers

Every thread in a Win32 Process has at least one frame-based exception handler. A list of EXCEPTION_REGISTRATION structures can be found in the process’s Thread Environment Block at FS: [0] Overwrite the exception handler with an address which will pop reg pop reg ret

Determining a valid handler
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Handler can not exist on the stack (determined by TEB FS:[4] FS[8]) Checked against loaded modules
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If the address exists outside of the bounds of these addresses it is ok to call? If the address exists inside these it is checked against registered handlers. Checks a value in the PE header if it is set to 0x04 then the module is not allowed. Finally checks for a Load Configuration Directory if missing function returns 0 and no other checks are done and handler is executed

Exploiting Frame-Based Exception Handling (Window 2003 Server)


Exploit an existing handler that we can manipulate to get us back into our buffer Find a block of code in an address not associated with a module that will get us back to our buffer Find a block of code in the address space of a module that does not have a Load Configuration Directory

Exploiting an Existing Handler

NTDLL contains several registered exception handlers Only works the first time since sensitive data is in predictable places

77F45A3F mov ebx,dword ptr [ebp+0Ch] .. 77F45A61 mov esi, dword ptr [ebx+0Ch] 77F45A64 mov edi, dword ptr [ebx+8] .. 77F45A75 lea ecx, [esi+esi*2] 77F45A78 mov eax, dword ptr [edi+ecx*4+4] .. 77F45A64 call eax

Finding and exploiting a block of code not associated with a module

Windows 2003 Server Enterprise edition contains such an address at 0x7FFC0AC5. (pop pop ret) Not usable since Standard addition does not have the same issue However we can use the address of our EXCEPTION_REGISTRATION struct in the form of a call or jump esp+somevalue

Stack Protection and Windows 2003 Server

Security Cookies

Authoritative copy stored in the .data segment Reorders parameters Places overflowable buffers close to canary values

/GS Compiler Flag
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Heap Based Buffer Overflows
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Handle to Win32 Heap through GetProcessHeap() and through the PEB HeapAllocate – Win32 version of brk and brk. Every heap starts with a struct and contains pointers to the previous and next blocks (similar to malloc). Use Exception Handlers to overwrite functions such as RtlAccquitePebLock() and RtlReleasePebLock() (Not Usable in Win2k3Server)

Heap Overflow Fun
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The PEB in a process is fixed across all WinNT Versions. Step1: Overflow heap to overwrite the PEB + 4 (Return address). Step2: Allow Program to segfault and terminate. Step3: Sit back and watch ExitProcess run your code for you.

Make sure to set the pointer back or something else could kill your process if its used elsewhere in the code

Vectored Handlers

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Similar in structure to Frame based exception handlers. Stored on the heap instead of stack Executed before frame based handlers.

Overwritting Exception Filters

Overwrite pointer to Unhandled Exception Filter.

Windows exposes a function to do this SetUnhandledExceptionFilter(). This function shows us where this Handler is stored. By replacing the address of the function this points to when an unhandled exception happens we gain control.

Other Aspects of Heap-Based Overflows

COM Objects and the Heap  COM Objects when instantiated are placed on the heap  A vtable is created to store function pointers for an object and the object is stored above it in the address space  If you overflow an object you can possibly overwrite the vtable of the object above you and redirect code execution. Overflowing Program Control Data  We don’t always want to execute arbitrary code  Some times we just want to change data on the heap that controls the execution flow.  Ex. Making a directory exposed by a web server writable so anyone can write to it.