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Dynamic loader oriented programming on Linux

: Kirsch, J.; Bierbaumer, B.; Kittel, T.; Eckert, C.


Association for Computing Machinery -ACM-:
1st Reversing and Offensive-oriented Trends Symposium, ROOTS 2017. Proceedings : Vienna, Austria, November 16 - 17, 2017
New York: ACM, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4503-5321-2
Art. 5
Reversing and Offensive-Oriented Trends Symposium (ROOTS) <1, 2017, Vienna>
Fraunhofer AISEC ()

Memory corruptions are still the most prominent venue to attack otherwise secure programs. In order to make exploitation of software bugs more difficult, defenders introduced a vast number of post corruption security mitigations, such as w⊕x memory, Stack Canaries, and Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR), to only name a few. In the following, we describe the Wiedergänger1-Attack, a new attack vector that reliably allows to escalate unbounded array access vulnerabilities occurring in specifically allocated memory regions to full code execution on programs running on i386/x86 64 Linux.
Wiedergänger-attacks abuse determinism in Linux ASLR implementation combined with the fact that (even with protection mechanisms such as relro and glibc's pointer mangling enabled) there exist easy-to-hijack, writable (function) pointers in application memory. To discover such pointers, we use taint analysis and backwards slicing at the binary level and calculate an over-approximation of vulnerable instruction sequences.
To show the relevance of Wiedergänger, we exploit one of the discovered instruction sequences to perform an attack on Debian 10 (Buster) by overwriting structures used by the dynamic loader (dl) that are present in any application with glibc and the dynamic loader as dependency. In order to show generality, we solely focus on data structures dispatched at program shutdown, as this is a point that arguably all applications eventually have to reach. This results in a reliable compromise that effectively bypasses all protection mechanisms deployed on x86 64/i386 Linux to date.
We believe Wiedergänger to be part of an under-researched type of control flow hijacking attacks targeting internal control structures of the dynamic loader for which we propose to use the terminology Loader Oriented Programming (LOP).