HackSys Extreme Vulnerable Driver — Arbitrary Write NULL (New Solution)

Alexa Souza
12 min readNov 18, 2021

A simple (not stealth) method utilizing NtQuerySystemInformation for Arbitrary Write NULL vulnerabilities

Today, we’re going to have a deep looking through an interesting exploitation technique using NtQuerySystemInformationsystem call in order to achieve a LPE - (Local Privilege Escalation) through HEVD - (Hacksys Extreme Vulnerable Driver). The follow content will only show about possibilities (but unreliable) techniques and methodologies on how to exploit a specify vulnerability typed Arbitrary Write NULL in most of vulnerable x86drivers (in case you doesn’t have certain tools in order to exploit them). Also, we’ll not cover how to install and configure kernel debugging or HEVD IOCLT communication, and all content from this write-up lies behind what should be done to work around with a view to get a LPE.Hope everyone enjoy! =)


First of all, we need to talk about what is Arbitrary Write NULL vulnerability, and at kernel perspective, what should be possible to do with it in order to achieve LPE in our simple cmd.exe session from ring3 (user-land).

In short, Arbitrary Write NULL is most like Arbitrary Write vulnerabilities, the difference behind them, is that the first one allows you to be able to write->[0x00000000] in whatever address/pointer you looking for, and the second one, allows you to define explicitly Write-What-Where, allowing things like write->[0xdeadbeef], meaning that you have control over value of an address/pointer which will be overflowed with 0xdeadbeef, instead only 0x00000000. At below we are going to have a looking deep in to HEVD driver vulnerable function, dissect and understand what is happening.


HEVD - https://github.com/hacksysteam/HackSysExtremeVulnerableDriver
TriggerWriteNULL function which handle kernel user-buffer, and check if it resides in ring3 (user-land).
Source-code of vulnerable driver function

As you can see here, ifdef SECURE (which is not), probeForWrite() function should verify and confirm that our user input buffer is located at ring3, otherwise our input buffer with be nullified without properly security checks.

Reversing Engineering vulnerable function

As commented, [edi] register is been overflowed with 0x00000000 by [ebx] register as occurs when compiled code wasn’t defined with #ifdef SECURE bit set.

Since IOCTLdrive connection is predefined, we can test it and see that our first 4 bytes from user-buffer (shellcode_ptr), is about to be nullified with 0x00000000.

Placing a breakpoints on strategic addresses and running it.
Reading important addresses using WinDBG cmd

After script run, and hit break-point, we can clearly notice that [edi] value contains our address to the pointer of user-buffer address shellcode_ptr -> 0x00500000.

Reading important addresses using WinDBG cmd

As an example, the content of our shellcode is storing a piece of x86 assemblycode to LPE our permissions. At your first 4 bytes, you can see that have the initial parts of our shellcode start. Now ignoring the code located there, we’re only looking into 0xa16460cc address.

Here, you can see the vulnerability since ebx=0x00000000 is being overwriting our value inside user-buffer eax=0xa16460cc.

The problem here is obvious, as a simple user (ring3), if we send a whatever address, it will be nullified, no matter what or how, just it will stay NULL.

Said all that, we know from here that we actually only can write NULL bytes to our defined address/pointer, and do some magic to achieve LPE from there, but… how can we do that? Let’s talk about DACL & Security Description.

DACL & Security Description

First of all, what is DACL and Security Description? how them can be exploited using Arbitrary Write NULL vulnerabilities?

According to https://networkencyclopedia.com/discretionary-access-control-list-dacl/

What is DACL (Discretionary Access Control List)?

A DACLstands for Discretionary Access Control List, in Microsoft Windows family, is an internal list attached to an object in Active Directory that specifies which users and groups can access the object and what kinds of operations they can perform on the object. In Windows 2000 and Windows NT, an internal list attached to a file or folder on a volume formatted using the NTFS that has a similar function.

How DACL works?

In Windows, each object in Active Directory or a local NTFS volume has an attribute called Security Descriptor that stores information about

The object’s owner (the security identifier or the owner) and the groups to which the owner belongs.

The discretionary access control list (DACL) of the object, which lists the security principals(users, groups, and computers) that have access to the object and their level of access.

The system access control list (SACL), which lists the security principals that should trigger audit events when accessing the list.

Basically, DACL is a list that contains features, one of them are called Security Description (we will take deep soon). This list are configured to handle calls and filter what object (files, processes, threads, etc), should be allowed or not for specific (user, groups, or computers). Hard to understand? Let me show up it as Window UI. =)

Maybe this image should be familiar to you right?. This area is one of various that you can manage DACL & Security Descriptions easily (without knowing that they actually exists).

As we can see, isn’t hard to understand what it is and why it was created, the thing is, what defines internally what permissions an user can have on it? What objects are configured in DACL to be filtered? let’s have a deep look into Windows Internals and his structs.

First of all, let’s take a look at WinDBG process list.

WinDBG processes list

When we do list our windows processes in WinDBG, we can see that every process have the same patterns, only with different values or addresses ranges. In the image above, you can notice a marked address 0x856117c8, this address represents a windows object, and this object have some important properties which defines: process name, permissions, process ID’s, handles, etc. (i’ll not extend this, so let it just as a simple recap).

A interesting thing that we can explore at moment, isn’t any else then nt!_OBJECT_HEADER struct. This struct have literally what tools we need to work and start our attack.

Getting nt!_OBJECT_HEADER address from System (PID:4) process
Viewing information about System (PID:4) process header

As an image above says, we simply dissect our process utilizing nt!_OBJECT_HEADER struct, which gave us information about what is located in our object. Also it’s important to notice that nt!_OBJECT_HEADER only look for addresses offsets before nt!_EPROCESS, which means that nt!_EPROCESS range, should stay after those offsets.

But what happens to SecurityDescription?

SecurityDescription poiting to 0x8c005e1f

Another interesting thing is that our SecurityDescription (0x856117b0+0x014) is pointing to 0x8c005e1f address, meaning that something is happening here, and this address have some interaction to DACL & Security Description implementations.

Now, let’s have a deep look in this specific address 0x8c005e1f.

Visualizing SecurityDescription struct from System (PID:4) Process

Utilizing previous target SecurityDescriptionaddress with WinDBG command !sd, with simple bit calculation, we now are able to understand much better how it’s implementation are configured on Windows Internals. So, those marked value, remember you something? Yes, that’s right, this marks are the users information stored in the process. At image below, we can compare these two DACL information.

SYSTEM and DAML users (colors compared to last image)

As we can compared these two images, we notice that SYSTEM and DAML users, are related to another image about SecurityDescription(Windows Internals). It’s a example (not legit), that how we can compare this two values.

Knowing that, and understanding the concepts that we actually can nullify any address from ring0 (kernel) only as an simple user, let’s try to make SecurityDescription address (0x856117b0+0x014) point to NULL (0x00000000), and see what happens!

SecurityDescription poiting to 0x8c005e1f
Nullifying SecurityDescription Pointer
Results after nullification of the pointer

Ok! now System.exe (PID:4) process have SecurityDescriptor pointer nullified. Now let’s try to continue our VM snapshot.

Maybe you don’t understand, but it’s written “Do you want close [System] Process?”
ERROR: DCOM server process launcher service terminated unexpectedly

Wait, what happened? we closed [System.exe] process manually? and without user permissions for it? using task manager?

Yes! only nt authority/SYSTEM should have permissions to close this process, but how could be possible a simple user BSOD'ed whole system? There’s, the magic behind this exploitation is a well-know exploitation technique which nullify SecurityDescription behaviors from SYSTEM processes, it technique is very used for LPE exploits since it applies no permissions bit for those target processes. In short, from WinDBG we manually nullified the pointer which contains those permissions information in SecurityDescription meaning that anyone now can write/read/execute in this process. =)

But there’s a problem here, we now understand what we need to do in order to elaborate our exploit but i ask you, how we can identify SYSTEM process objects from a simple ring3 (user-land)?

WinDBG processes list

In the image above, since we’re looking those addresses from WinDBG screen ring0 (kernel mode), we clearly see the object there, but also we need to know that those values are not accessible (also unpredictable), to our simple user from ring3 (user-land). The randomization of these addresses are implemented every time since Windows 7 is rebooted (Address Space Layout Randomization or ASLR), these mitigations deny every try to work with static address. Lastly, another important thing is that the randomization by self are unpredictable (in most of my tests), these objects only randomize through 0x85xxxxxx to 0x87xxxxxx, which means i actually don’t know if a bypass of this randomization (from ring3), actually exists.

So, what to do next?

NtQuerySystemInformation - Handle Leaking Attack

As mentioned before, isn’t possible to exploit from ring3 (user-land) due to a lot of permissions restrictions placed by our target “Operation System (windows 7)so what kind of things can we do to bypass these restrictions? the answer is NtQuerySystemInformation WinAPI call.

NtQuerySystemInformation by design is one of various security flaws that for Microsoft only represents a feature to an user perspective. The biggest problem about it WinAPI call, is that it’s configured by default to accept user calls (from undocumented behaviors), which should be parsed and queried together ring0 (kernel mode) information, as resulting in an leak of SYSTEM addresses/pointers. This WinAPI Call, is a well-know method for memory leaking attacks, since it’s allow an attacker to know exactly what pointers are important, and elaborate a better methodology for explore his target vulnerability (in our case WriteNULL).

But how could it be possible to leak information from ring3?

Before we start to looking deep into vulnerable (features) calls, we should look at first to the definition of handles, and why we need to get focus on it.

according to: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/902967/what-is-a-windows-handle

It’s an abstract reference value to a resource, often memory or an open file, or a pipe.

Properly, in Windows, (and generally in computing) a handle is an abstraction which hides a real memory address from the API user, allowing the system to reorganize physical memory transparently to the program. Resolving a handle into a pointer locks the memory, and releasing the handle invalidates the pointer. In this case think of it as an index into a table of pointers… you use the index for the system API calls, and the system can change the pointer in the table at will.

Alternatively a real pointer may be given as the handle when the API writer intends that the user of the API be insulated from the specifics of what the address returned points to; in this case it must be considered that what the handle points to may change at any time (from API version to version or even from call to call of the API that returns the handle) — the handle should therefore be treated as simply an opaque value meaningful only to the API.

In short, handles have properties to create and configure communications through objects (open files I/O, apis, pipes, etc), on Operation System (OS). These handles are carrying a bunch of information about these objects, one of them are pointers. Basically, handles loads pointers, but do you know the best part of it? is the possibility to leak these pointer from ring3 (user-land), and that’s what we need to deep our look.

Knowing that, NtQuerySystemInformation afford a lot interesting calls, on top of that, we have an undocumented call named SystemExtendedHandleInformation, which supports the follow structs.


These structs, should help us to leak handle pointers, and that’s how the magic starts.

Utilizing the designed flaw calls, let me fuzz some handle data from ring3 (user-mode) perspective and see what happens.

Piece of code to leak handles data
This part will loop all handles and get his data
Script running and leaking pointers from ring3 (user-land) (PID:444)
Script running and leaking pointers from ring3 (user-land) (PID:1240)
[11931] Leaked pointers found it

As you can see, from a simple user we actually can leak a lot of pointers and data. The best part of it, is that one of those pointers are correlated to our PROCESS object, did you remember?

WinDBG processes list

This is it, that’s the trick! But there’s a problem. Assuming that many restrictions such as: ASLR, are configured by default, how we knows what addresses, PID’s and Handle values are correct in order to predict that one who contains our PROCESS object pointer?

The answer for this question is: “I don’t know, but there’s a method (really not stealth), which work as well!”. This method was discovered after tests assuming ASLR randomization and what processes (who contains useful pointers), should crash after been nullified through exploitation technique.

After some tests, it was noticed that if we define lsass.exe PID, as the only target to have his handles nullified, the Operation System OS doesn’t crashes (I assume that because lsass.exe isn’t a process that contains so many handles for SYSTEM internals, only to hold permissions and things related on this). After all, with lsass.exe handle pointers nullified, it’s clearly that not only 1 process will have write/read/execute permission, but also a lot. That’s why i don’t recommend this technique for a real world exploitation because isn’t safe (also not stealthy), nullifying handles could make the Operation System crash and reboot.

Source-code modified in order to filter only handles from “lsass.exe” PID
Source-code modified in order to filter only handles from “lsass.exe” PID

The things is, once SYSTEM processes do have access permissions for Anyone, the final part should be a Shellcode Injection in a SYSTEM target process, and that’s what we do in winlogon.exe. This process is running with SYSTEM permissions (and now after nullify attack write/read/execute)

So, putting all together, this is how it looks like. =D

Nullifying “lsass.exe” handle pointers “SecurityDescription”, and injecting “LPE shellcode” at “winlogon.exe” process.

After exploit runs, we finally got our nt authority/SYSTEMshell, nothing was crashed and processes work as well without any issues.

The final consideration for this write-up, is that i didn’t found any reliable solution for WriteNULL challenge, only one which uses another driver vulnerability in order to leak pointer address (on references), meaning that this exploit should be the only one existing in internet utilizing this technique (really no one want to do this). =(

So, it was kind fun and hope everyone enjoyed this write-up. =P

Final Exploit link:



https://github.com/daem0nc0re/HEVD-CSharpKernelPwn/blob/master/HEVD_Win7x86/WriteNull/Program.cs http://bprint.rewolf.pl/bprint/?p=1683





Alexa Souza

OSCP 18y | OSCE 19y | OSWE 21y | - Security Researcher Noob — @w4fz5uck5