Beyond good ol’ Run key, Part 26

January 28, 2015 in Anti-Forensics, Autostart (Persistence), Compromise Detection, Forensic Analysis, Malware Analysis

Today I cheated. I wrote two posts in a go, because 25 is not that interesting from the persistence perspective.

So, as promised 5 minutes ago, this post is about yet another Frankenstein’s monster. It focuses on a bug that I have already covered, but intentionally didn’t explore its most crazy aspect yet.

Bugs in dynamically loaded libraries are surely interesting, but even more interesting are the bugs in the libraries that are linked statically.


Because patching these is really hard and you can’t just submit a single patch to fix it all (unless you do some magic).

So, as mentioned above – the very same code that we have explored in the part 21 inside the MFC libraries is present in many popular applications as it’s linked with them statically.

This is bad news.

The result is that finding such vulnerable applications can give an attacker a myriad of persistence opportunities as all he has to do is to find a vulnerable static library pattern in a .exe or .dll and drop a ‘localization DLL’ in a respective directory. Yes, the statically linked code has a side effect and loads localization DLLs for DLLs as well. So if your foo.dll contains the vulnerable code, dropping fooENU.dll or fooLOC.dll on English system will ensure they are loaded as well.

There are really a lot of applications containing this buggy code. Looking through a couple of apps I was able to quickly spot them inside many omnipresent executables and DLLs.

So, without further ado, this is a very short list of files that I found to contain the specific vulnerable code:

  • %APPDATA%\Local\Akamai\ControlPanel.exe
    • %APPDATA%\Local\Akamai\ControlPanelENU.dll
    • %APPDATA%\Local\Akamai\ControlPanelLOC.dll
  • c:\Program Files (x86)\HP\HP Software Update\hpwucli.exe
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\HP\HP Software Update\hpwucliENU.dll
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\HP\HP Software Update\hpwucliLOC.dll
  • c:\Program Files\Realtek\Audio\HDA\RtHDVCpl.exe
    • C:\Program Files\Realtek\Audio\HDA\RtHDVCplENU.dll
    • C:\Program Files\Realtek\Audio\HDA\RtHDVCplLOC.dll
  • c:\Program Files\Realtek\Audio\HDA\RtkNGUI64.exe
    • C:\Program Files\Realtek\Audio\HDA\RtkNGUI64ENU.dll
    • C:\Program Files\Realtek\Audio\HDA\RtkNGUI64LOC.dll
  • c:\Program Files (x86)\Western Digital\WD Utilities\WDDriveUtilitiesHelper.exe
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Western Digital\WD Utilities\WDDriveUtilitiesHelperENU.dll
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Western Digital\WD Utilities\WDDriveUtilitiesHelperLOC.dll
  • C:\Program Files\Western Digital\WD SmartWare\WD Quick Formatter.exe
    • C:\Program Files\Western Digital\WD SmartWare\WD Quick FormatterENU.dll
    • C:\Program Files\Western Digital\WD SmartWare\WD Quick FormatterLOC.dll
  • c:\Program Files (x86)\ATI Technologies\ATI.ACE\Core-Static\SLSTaskbar.exe
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\ATI Technologies\ATI.ACE\Core-Static\SLSTaskbarENU.dll
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\ATI Technologies\ATI.ACE\Core-Static\SLSTaskbarLOC.dll

As you can see a few prominent vendors. It works for both 32- and 64-bit applications and DLLs.

This is a tip of the iceberg of course and if you scan any average hard drive you will surely find at least one vulnerable app like this.

I guess there may be even cases where such localization DLL can lead to an escalation of privileges if any of the vulnerable components is executed/loaded by a more privileged process/account.

Should this be reported as a vulnerability? Yes. But I really don’t know to who.

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