Process Injection: VDSO Hijacking

Adversaries may inject malicious code into processes via VDSO hijacking in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. Virtual dynamic shared object (vdso) hijacking is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.

VDSO hijacking involves redirecting calls to dynamically linked shared libraries. Memory protections may prevent writing executable code to a process via Ptrace System Calls. However, an adversary may hijack the syscall interface code stubs mapped into a process from the vdso shared object to execute syscalls to open and map a malicious shared object. This code can then be invoked by redirecting the execution flow of the process via patched memory address references stored in a process' global offset table (which store absolute addresses of mapped library functions).[1] [2] [3] [4]

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 VDSO hijacking may also evade detection from security products since the execution is masked under a legitimate process.

ID: T1055.014
Sub-technique of:  T1055
Tactics: Defense Evasion, Privilege Escalation
Platforms: Linux
Data Sources: Process monitoring, System calls
Defense Bypassed: Anti-virus, Application control
Version: 1.0
Created: 14 January 2020
Last Modified: 20 June 2020


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.


Monitor for malicious usage of system calls, such as ptrace and mmap, that can be used to attach to, manipulate memory, then redirect a processes' execution path. Monitoring for Linux specific calls such as the ptrace system call should not generate large amounts of data due to their specialized nature, and can be a very effective method to detect some of the common process injection methods.[5] [6] [7] [8]

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.