Home > CAPEC List > CAPEC-641: DLL Side-Loading (Version 3.0)  

CAPEC-641: DLL Side-Loading

Attack Pattern ID: 641
Abstraction: Detailed
Status: Stable
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
An adversary places a malicious version of a Dynamic-Link Library (DLL) in the Windows Side-by-Side (WinSxS) directory to trick the operating system into loading this malicious DLL instead of a legitimate DLL. Programs specify the location of the DLLs to load via the use of WinSxS manifests or DLL redirection and if they aren't used then Windows searches in a predefined set of directories to locate the file. If the applications improperly specify a required DLL or WinSxS manifests aren't explicit about the characteristics of the DLL to be loaded, they can be vulnerable to side-loading.
+ Likelihood Of Attack


+ Typical Severity


+ Relationships

The table(s) below shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as CanFollow, PeerOf, and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar attack patterns that the user may want to explore.

+ Relevant to the view "Mechanisms of Attack" (CAPEC-1000)
ChildOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.159Redirect Access to Libraries
+ Prerequisites
The target must fail to verify the integrity of the DLL before using them.
+ Skills Required
[Level: High]
Trick the operating system in loading a malicious DLL instead of a legitimate DLL.
+ Consequences

The table below specifies different individual consequences associated with the attack pattern. The Scope identifies the security property that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in their attack. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a pattern will be used to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.

Execute Unauthorized Commands
Bypass Protection Mechanism
+ Mitigations
Prevent unknown DLLs from loading through whitelisting policy.
Patch installed applications as soon as new updates become available.
Properly restrict the location of the software being used.
Use of sxstrace.exe on Windows as well as manual inspection of the manifests.
Require code signing and avoid using relative paths for resources.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Relevant to the ATT&CK taxonomy mapping
Entry IDEntry Name
1073DLL Side-Loading
+ References
[REF-501] Stewart A.. "DLL SIDE-LOADING: A Thorn in the Side of the Anti-Virus Industry". FireEye. <https://www.fireeye.com/content/dam/fireeye-www/global/en/current-threats/pdfs/rpt-dll-sideloading.pdf>.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2018-07-31CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation

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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2018