Uninformed: Informative Information for the Uninformed

Vol 8» 2007.Sep

Covert Communications
Real-time Steganography with RTP
Real-time Transfer Protocol (RTP) is used by nearly all Voice-over-IP systems to provide the audio channel for calls. As such, it provides ample opportunity for the creation of a covert communication channel due to its very nature. While use of steganographic techniques with various audio cover-medium has been extensively researched, most applications of such have been limited to audio cover-medium of a static nature such as WAV or MP3 file audio data. This paper details a common technique for the use of steganography with audio data cover-medium, outlines the problem issues that arise when attempting to use such techniques to establish a full-duplex communications channel within audio data transmitted via an unreliable streaming protocol, and documents solutions to these problems. An implementation of the ideas discussed entitled SteganRTP is included in the reference materials.

Engineering in Reverse
PatchGuard Reloaded: A Brief Analysis of PatchGuard Version 3
Since the publication of previous bypass or circumvention techniques for Kernel Patch Protection (otherwise known as "PatchGuard"), Microsoft has continued to refine their patch protection system in an attempt to foil known bypass mechanisms. With the release of Windows Server 2008 Beta 3, and later a full-blown distribution of PatchGuard to Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003 via Windows Update, Microsoft has introduced the next generation of PatchGuard to the general public ("PatchGuard 3"). As with previous updates to PatchGuard, version three represents a set of incremental changes that are designed to address perceived weaknesses and known bypass vectors in earlier versions. Additionally, PatchGuard 3 expands the set of kernel variables that are protected from unauthorized modification, eliminating several mechanisms that might be used to circumvent PatchGuard while co-existing (as opposed to disabling) it. This article describes some of the changes that have been made in PatchGuard 3. This article also proposes several new techniques that can be used to circumvent PatchGuard's defenses. Countermeasures for these techniques are also discussed.

Exploitation Technology
Getting out of Jail: Escaping Internet Explorer Protected Mode
With the introduction of Windows Vista, Microsoft has added a new form of mandatory access control to the core operating system. Internally known as "integrity levels", this new addition to the security manager allows security controls to be placed on a per-process basis. This is different from the traditional model of per-user security controls used in all prior versions of Windows NT. In this manner, integrity levels are essentially a bolt-on to the existing Windows NT security architecture. While the idea is theoretically sound, there does exist a great possibility for implementation errors with respect to how integrity levels work in practice. Integrity levels are the core of Internet Explorer Protected Mode, a new "low-rights" mode where Internet Explorer runs without permission to modify most files or registry keys. This places both Internet Explorer and integrity levels as a whole at the forefront of the computer security battle with respect to Windows Vista.

OS X Kernel-mode Exploitation in a Weekend
David Maynor
Apple's Mac OS X operating system is attracting more attention from users and security researchers alike. Despite this increased interest, there is still an apparent lack of detailed vulnerability development information for OS X. This paper will attempt to help bridge this gap by walking through the entire vulnerability development process. This process starts with vulnerability discovery and ultimately finished with a remote code execution. To help illustrate this process, a real vulnerability found in the OS X wireless device driver is used.

A Catalog of Windows Local Kernel-mode Backdoors
skape & Skywing
This paper presents a detailed catalog of techniques that can be used to create local kernel-mode backdoors on Windows. These techniques include function trampolines, descriptor table hooks, model-specific register hooks, page table modifications, as well as others that have not previously been described. The majority of these techniques have been publicly known far in advance of this paper. However, at the time of this writing, there appears to be no detailed single point of reference for many of them. The intention of this paper is to provide a solid understanding on the subject of local kernel-mode backdoors. This understanding is necessary in order to encourage the thoughtful discussion of potential countermeasures and perceived advancements. In the vein of countermeasures, some additional thoughts are given to the common misconception that PatchGuard, in its current design, can be used to prevent kernel-mode rootkits.
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Static Analysis
Generalizing Data Flow Information
Generalizing information is a common method of reducing the quantity of data that must be considered during analysis. This fact has been plainly illustrated in relation to static data flow analysis where previous research has described algorithms that can be used to generalize data flow information. These generalizations have helped support more optimal data flow analysis in certain situations. In the same vein, this paper describes a process that can be employed to generalize and persist data flow information along multiple generalization tiers. Each generalization tier is meant to describe the data flow behaviors of a conceptual software element such as an instruction, a basic block, a procedure, a data type, and so on. This process makes use of algorithms described in previous literature to support the generalization of data flow information. To illustrate the usefulness of the generalization process, this paper also presents an algorithm that can be used to determine reachability at each generalization tier. The algorithm determines reachability starting from the least specific generalization tier and uses the set of reachable paths found to progressively qualify data flow information for each successive generalization tier. This helps to constrain the amount of data flow information that must be considered to a minimal subset.