DLL injection

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In computer programming, DLL injection is a technique used for running code within the address space of another process by forcing it to load a dynamic-link library.[1] DLL injection is often used by external programs to influence the behavior of another program in a way its authors did not anticipate or intend.[1][2][3] For example, the injected code could hook system function calls,[4][5] or read the contents of password textboxes, which cannot be done the usual way.[6] A program used to inject arbitrary code into arbitrary processes is called a DLL injector.

Approaches on Microsoft Windows[edit]

There are multiple ways on Microsoft Windows to force a process to load and execute code in a DLL that the authors did not intend:

  • DLLs listed under the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\AppInit_DLLs will be loaded into every process that links to User32.dll when that DLL attaches itself to the process.[5][7][8][9] Beginning with Windows Vista, AppInit_DLLs are disabled by default.[10] Beginning with Windows 7, the AppInit_DLL infrastructure supports code signing.
  • Process manipulation functions such as CreateRemoteThread can be used to inject a DLL into a program after it has started.[5][6][11][12][13][14]
    1. Open a handle to the target process. This can be done by spawning the process[15][16] or by keying off something created by that process that is known to exist – for instance, a window with a predictable title,[17] or by obtaining a list of running processes[18] and scanning for the target executable's filename.[19]
    2. Allocate some memory in the target process,[20] and the name of the DLL to be injected is written to it.[11][21]
      This step can be skipped if a suitable DLL name is already available in the target process. For example, if a process links to ‘User32.dll’, ‘GDI32.dll’, ‘Kernel32.dll’ or any other library whose name ends in ‘32.dll’, it would be possible to load a library named ‘32.dll’. This technique has in the past been demonstrated to be effective against a method of guarding processes against DLL injection.[22]
    3. Create a new thread in the target process[23] with the thread's start address set to be the address of LoadLibrary and the argument set to the address of the string just uploaded into the target.[11][24]
      Instead of writing the name of a DLL-to-load to the target and starting the new thread at LoadLibrary, one can write the code-to-be-executed to the target and start the thread at that code.[6]
    4. The operating system will now call DllMain in the injected DLL.[11][25]
    Note that without precautions, this approach can be detected by the target process due to the DLL_THREAD_ATTACH notifications sent to every loaded module as a thread starts.[25]
  • Windows hooking calls such as SetWindowsHookEx.[2][5][6][26][27][28]
  • Use the SuspendThread or NtSuspendThread function to suspend all threads, and then use SetThreadContext or NtSetContextThread function to modify an existing thread's context in the application to execute injected code, that in turn could load a DLL.[4][29][30]
  • Exploit design limitations in Windows and applications that call the LoadLibrary() function without specifying a full-qualified path to the DLL being loaded.[31]
  • Operating system-level shims.
  • Substituting an application-specific DLL with a rogue replacement that implements the same function exports as the original.[32]

Approaches on Unix-like systems[edit]

On Unix-like operating systems with the dynamic linker based on ld.so (on BSD) and ld-linux.so (on Linux), arbitrary libraries can be linked to a new process by giving the library's pathname in the LD PRELOAD environment variable, that can be set globally or individually for a single process.[33]

For example, in bash, this command launches the command "prog" with the shared library from file "test.so" linked into it at the launchtime:

LD_PRELOAD="./test.so" prog

Such a library can be created with GCC by compiling the source file containing the new globals to be linked, with the -fpic or -fPIC option,[34] and linking with the -shared option.[35] The library has access to external symbols declared in the program like any other library.

It is also possible to use debugger-based techniques on Unix-like systems.[36]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b James Shewmaker (2006). "Analyzing DLL Injection" (PDF). GSM Presentation. Bluenotch. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b Iczelion (August 2002). "Tutorial 24: Windows Hooks". Iczelion's Win32 Assembly Homepage. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  3. ^ Rocky Pulley (May 19, 2005). "Extending Task Manager with DLL Injection". CodeProject. CodeProject. Retrieved September 1, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Nasser R. Rowhani (October 23, 2003). "DLL Injection and function interception tutorial". CodeProject. CodeProject. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b c d Ivo Ivanov (December 2, 2002). "API hooking revealed". CodeProject. CodeProject. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c d Robert Kuster (August 20, 2003). "Three Ways to Inject Your Code into Another Process". CodeProject. CodeProject. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Working with the AppInit_DLLs registry value". Microsoft Help and Support. Microsoft. November 21, 2006. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  8. ^ Raymond Chen (December 13, 2007). "AppInit_DLLs should be renamed Deadlock_Or_Crash_Randomly_DLLs". The Old New Thing. Microsoft. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  9. ^ "dllmain.c". ReactOS. ReactOS Foundation. July 8, 2008. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  10. ^ AppInit_DLLs in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2
  11. ^ a b c d Trent Waddington. "InjectDLL". Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Dll Injection". DreamInCode.net. MediaGroup1. May 4, 2006. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  13. ^ Greg Jenkins (November 2007). "DLL Injection Framework". Ring3 Circus. WordPress. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  14. ^ Drew Benton (August 17, 2007). "A More Complete DLL Injection Solution Using CreateRemoteThread". CodeProject. CodeProject. Retrieved September 1, 2008. 
  15. ^ "CreateProcess". Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2. Microsoft. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  16. ^ "PROCESS_INFORMATION". Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2. Microsoft. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  17. ^ "GetWindowThreadProcessId Function". Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2. Microsoft. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  18. ^ "EnumProcesses". Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2. Microsoft. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  19. ^ "GetModuleBaseName". Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2. Microsoft. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  20. ^ "VirtualAllocEx". Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2. Microsoft. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  21. ^ "WriteProcessMemory". Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2. Microsoft. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Outpost Bypassing Self-Protection via Advanced DLL injection with handle stealing Vulnerability". Matousec. December 1, 2006. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  23. ^ "CreateRemoteThread". Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2. Microsoft. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  24. ^ "LoadLibrary". Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2. Microsoft. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  25. ^ a b "DllMain". Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2. Microsoft. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  26. ^ "SetWindowsHookEx Function". Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2. Microsoft. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  27. ^ "AppInit_DLLs Registry Value and Windows 95". Microsoft Help and Support. Microsoft. March 1, 2005. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  28. ^ "Dll Injection using SetWindowsHookEx() Method". Game Reversal. April 3, 2008. Retrieved September 1, 2008. 
  29. ^ "SetThreadContext DLL Injection". January 16, 2007. Retrieved September 1, 2008. 
  30. ^ Ben Botto (September 6, 2008). "DLL Injector". Retrieved September 1, 2008. 
  31. ^ "Secure loading of libraries to prevent DLL preloading attacks". Microsoft. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 8 Aug 2012. 
  32. ^ Nicolas Falliere (26 September 2010). "Stuxnet Infection of Step 7 Projects". Symantec. 
  33. ^ Linus Torvalds; David Engel, Eric Youngdale, Peter MacDonald, Hongjiu Lu, Lars Wirzenius and Mitch D'Souza (March 14, 1998). "ld.so/ld-linux.so – dynamic linker/loader". UNIX man pages. Retrieved August 31, 2008. 
  34. ^ "Code Gen Options". Using the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). Free Software Foundation. Retrieved August 31, 2008. "-fpic Generate position-independent code (PIC) suitable for use in a shared library, if supported for the target machine. sqq." 
  35. ^ "Link Options". Using the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). Free Software Foundation. Retrieved August 31, 2008. "-shared Produce a shared object which can then be linked with other objects to form an executable. sqq." 
  36. ^ Gregory Shpitalnik (February 12, 2009). "Code Injection into Running Linux Application". Code Project. Retrieved November 18, 2010.