Exploiting design flaws in the Win32 API for privilege escalation - Shatter Attacks - How to break Windows
PLEASE NOTE: Some virus scanners are alerting people to the presence of a "Win32/Beavuh" virus within the sploit.bin file in the Shatter zipfile. This is not a virus. The scanner is correct in flagging it - the code in this file is designed to open a command shell and bind it to a network socket. This is a bad thing to do in general, so the scanner is correct in generating an alert. This code is designed to be malicious in terms of its functionality, but the scanner is incorrect when labelling it as a virus.

Windows messages consist of three parts, a message identifier and two parameters. The parameters are used differently depending on what message is sent. This makes our life simpler, since we only have to worry about four things; a window handle to receive the message, the message, and two parameters. Let's find out how easy this is...

Stage 1: Locating a window

We need to locate an edit control of some kind - something that we can type stuff into. Don't worry if it's restricted, we can cure that. Fire up the VirusScan console, and hit the first button - "New Task". Conveniently, at the top of the dialog, there's an edit box. That will do perfectly. Now, we need a handle to that control so that we can interact with it. Windows is more than happy to give us a handle to any window we like - we just have to ask it. Fire up Shatter, and position it so that you can still see the VirusScan edit control underneath it. Click on "Get cursor window" - Shatter should add an item in the list box beneath like "102f2 - Get cursor window". This is because we've asked Windows to give us a handle to the window directly underneath the cursor. Move the cursor over the VirusScan edit control and hit Space to trigger Shatter again. Shatter should clear the list box, and tell you the handle for the target window - in my case it's 30270. So, we can now interact programmatically with a window that is running with higher privileges than we are. Let's paste in some shellcode.

Stage 2: Removing Restrictions

Now that we have a window handle, we can send any messages we like to that control and it will blindly execute them. First things first - let's make sure we have enough space for our shellcode.

Within Shatter, type your window handle into the "Handle" box. The message to set the maximum text length of an edit box is EM_SETLIMITTEXT. The first parameter is the new maximum text length, and the second parameter is ignored. Type 4 into the WPARAM box, and 0 into the third. Click on EM_SETLIMITTEXT to send the message, and try to type something into the VirusScan edit box. You shouldn't be able to type more than 4 characters. Change the 4 to FFFFFFFF and send the message again. Now try typing into the VirusScan edit box; you now have over 4Gb (theoretically) of space within that edit control. Should be enough for even the most wasteful shellcode.

Stage 3: Injecting Shellcode

Next up, let's try pasting something into the box. Yes, OK, you could just right-click and choose Paste, but for the sake of argument let's work as if we couldn't do that. Clear the VirusScan edit box, and fire up Notepad. Type some text into Notepad, and copy it. Back in Shatter, we want to send VirusScan a "Paste clipboard contents" message, which is WM_PASTE. Both parameters for this message should be zero, so set the WPARAM and LPARAM to zero, leaving the handle the same. Click WM_PASTE, and watch your text appear in the VirusScan edit box. Click it again, and it should now be there twice. Fun, huh?

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