Process Injection: Dynamic-link Library Injection

Adversaries may inject dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) into processes in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. DLL injection is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.

DLL injection is commonly performed by writing the path to a DLL in the virtual address space of the target process before loading the DLL by invoking a new thread. The write can be performed with native Windows API calls such as VirtualAllocEx and WriteProcessMemory, then invoked with CreateRemoteThread (which calls the LoadLibrary API responsible for loading the DLL). [1]

Variations of this method such as reflective DLL injection (writing a self-mapping DLL into a process) and memory module (map DLL when writing into process) overcome the address relocation issue as well as the additional APIs to invoke execution (since these methods load and execute the files in memory by manually preforming the function of LoadLibrary ).[2][1]

Running code in the context of another process may allow access to the process's memory, system/network resources, and possibly elevated privileges. Execution via DLL injection may also evade detection from security products since the execution is masked under a legitimate process.

ID: T1055.001
Sub-technique of:  T1055
Tactics: Defense Evasion, Privilege Escalation
Platforms: Windows
Permissions Required: User
Data Sources: API monitoring, DLL monitoring, File monitoring, Process monitoring
Defense Bypassed: Anti-virus, Process whitelisting
Version: 1.0
Created: 14 January 2020
Last Modified: 21 February 2020

Procedure Examples

Name Description
BlackEnergy

BlackEnergy injects its DLL component into svchost.exe.[7]

Carbon

Carbon has a command to inject code into a process.[26]

Derusbi

Derusbi injects itself into the secure shell (SSH) process.[14]

Duqu

Duqu will inject itself into different processes to evade detection. The selection of the target process is influenced by the security software that is installed on the system (Duqu will inject into different processes depending on which security suite is installed on the infected host).[25]

Dyre

Dyre injects into other processes to load modules.[10]

Elise

Elise injects DLL files into iexplore.exe.[17][18]

Emissary

Emissary injects its DLL file into a newly spawned Internet Explorer process.[24]

Emotet

Emotet has been observed injecting in to Explorer.exe and other processes. [28][29][30]

FinFisher

FinFisher injects itself into various processes depending on whether it is low integrity or high integrity.[15][16]

HIDEDRV

HIDEDRV injects a DLL for Downdelph into the explorer.exe process.[23]

Kazuar

If running in a Windows environment, Kazuar saves a DLL to disk that is injected into the explorer.exe process to execute the payload. Kazuar can also be configured to inject and execute within specific processes.[13]

Koadic

Koadic can perform process injection by using a reflective DLL.[3]

Lazarus Group

A Lazarus Group malware sample performs reflective DLL injection.[32]

Matroyshka

Matroyshka uses reflective DLL injection to inject the malicious library and execute the RAT.[27]

PoisonIvy

PoisonIvy can inject a malicious DLL into a process.[8][9]

PowerSploit

PowerSploit contains a collection of CodeExecution modules that inject code (DLL, shellcode) into a process.[5][6]

Pupy

Pupy can migrate into another process using reflective DLL injection.[4]

Putter Panda

An executable dropped onto victims by Putter Panda aims to inject the specified DLL into a process that would normally be accessing the network, including Outlook Express (msinm.exe), Outlook (outlook.exe), Internet Explorer (iexplore.exe), and Firefox (firefox.exe).[34]

RARSTONE

After decrypting itself in memory, RARSTONE downloads a DLL file from its C2 server and loads it in the memory space of a hidden Internet Explorer process. This "downloaded" file is actually not dropped onto the system.[11]

RATANKBA

RATANKBA performs a reflective DLL injection using a given pid.[19][20]

Remsec

Remsec can perform DLL injection.[21]

Socksbot

Socksbot creates a suspended svchost process and injects its DLL into it.[22]

Sykipot

Sykipot injects itself into running instances of outlook.exe, iexplore.exe, or firefox.exe.[12]

Tropic Trooper

Tropic Trooper has injected a DLL backdoor into a file dllhost.exe.[33]

Turla

Turla has used Metasploit to perform reflective DLL injection in order to escalate privileges.[35][36]

ZxShell

ZxShell is injected into a shared SVCHOST process.[31]

Mitigations

Mitigation Description
Behavior Prevention on Endpoint

Some endpoint security solutions can be configured to block some types of process injection based on common sequences of behavior that occur during the injection process.

Detection

Monitoring Windows API calls indicative of the various types of code injection may generate a significant amount of data and may not be directly useful for defense unless collected under specific circumstances for known bad sequences of calls, since benign use of API functions may be common and difficult to distinguish from malicious behavior. Windows API calls such as CreateRemoteThread and those that can be used to modify memory within another process, such as VirtualAllocEx/WriteProcessMemory, may be used for this technique.[1]

Monitor DLL/PE file events, specifically creation of these binary files as well as the loading of DLLs into processes. Look for DLLs that are not recognized or not normally loaded into a process.

Analyze process behavior to determine if a process is performing actions it usually does not, such as opening network connections, reading files, or other suspicious actions that could relate to post-compromise behavior.

References

  1. Hosseini, A. (2017, July 18). Ten Process Injection Techniques: A Technical Survey Of Common And Trending Process Injection Techniques. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  2. Desimone, J. (2017, June 13). Hunting in Memory. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  3. Magius, J., et al. (2017, July 19). Koadic. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  4. Nicolas Verdier. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  5. PowerShellMafia. (2012, May 26). PowerSploit - A PowerShell Post-Exploitation Framework. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  6. PowerSploit. (n.d.). PowerSploit. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  7. F-Secure Labs. (2014). BlackEnergy & Quedagh: The convergence of crimeware and APT attacks. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  8. FireEye. (2014). POISON IVY: Assessing Damage and Extracting Intelligence. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  9. Hayashi, K. (2005, August 18). Backdoor.Darkmoon. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  10. Symantec Security Response. (2015, June 23). Dyre: Emerging threat on financial fraud landscape. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  11. Camba, A. (2013, February 27). BKDR_RARSTONE: New RAT to Watch Out For. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  12. Blasco, J. (2011, December 12). Another Sykipot sample likely targeting US federal agencies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  13. Levene, B, et al. (2017, May 03). Kazuar: Multiplatform Espionage Backdoor with API Access. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  14. Perigaud, F. (2015, December 15). Newcomers in the Derusbi family. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  15. FinFisher. (n.d.). Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  16. Allievi, A.,Flori, E. (2018, March 01). FinFisher exposed: A researcher’s tale of defeating traps, tricks, and complex virtual machines. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  17. Falcone, R., et al.. (2015, June 16). Operation Lotus Blossom. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  18. Accenture Security. (2018, January 27). DRAGONFISH DELIVERS NEW FORM OF ELISE MALWARE TARGETING ASEAN DEFENCE MINISTERS’ MEETING AND ASSOCIATES. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  1. Lei, C., et al. (2018, January 24). Lazarus Campaign Targeting Cryptocurrencies Reveals Remote Controller Tool, an Evolved RATANKBA, and More. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  2. Trend Micro. (2017, February 27). RATANKBA: Delving into Large-scale Watering Holes against Enterprises. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  3. Kaspersky Lab's Global Research & Analysis Team. (2016, August 9). The ProjectSauron APT. Technical Analysis. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  4. Lunghi, D., et al. (2017, December). Untangling the Patchwork Cyberespionage Group. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  5. ESET. (2016, October). En Route with Sednit - Part 3: A Mysterious Downloader. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  6. Falcone, R. and Miller-Osborn, J.. (2015, December 18). Attack on French Diplomat Linked to Operation Lotus Blossom. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  7. Symantec Security Response. (2011, November). W32.Duqu: The precursor to the next Stuxnet. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  8. ESET. (2017, March 30). Carbon Paper: Peering into Turla’s second stage backdoor. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  9. Minerva Labs LTD and ClearSky Cyber Security. (2015, November 23). CopyKittens Attack Group. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  10. Özarslan, S. (2018, December 21). The Christmas Card you never wanted - A new wave of Emotet is back to wreak havoc. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  11. Salvio, J.. (2014, June 27). New Banking Malware Uses Network Sniffing for Data Theft. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  12. US-CERT. (2018, July 20). Alert (TA18-201A) Emotet Malware. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  13. Allievi, A., et al. (2014, October 28). Threat Spotlight: Group 72, Opening the ZxShell. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  14. Sherstobitoff, R. (2018, February 12). Lazarus Resurfaces, Targets Global Banks and Bitcoin Users. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  15. Horejsi, J., et al. (2018, March 14). Tropic Trooper’s New Strategy. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  16. Crowdstrike Global Intelligence Team. (2014, June 9). CrowdStrike Intelligence Report: Putter Panda. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  17. ESET Research. (2018, May 22). Turla Mosquito: A shift towards more generic tools. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  18. Rapid7. (2013, November 26). meterpreter/source/extensions/priv/server/elevate/. Retrieved July 8, 2018.