The adversary takes advantage of a bug in an application failing to verify the integrity of the running process to execute arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process. The adversary could use running code in the context of another process to try to access process's memory, system/network resources, etc. The goal of this attack is to evade detection defenses and escalate privileges by masking the malicious code under an existing legitimate process. Examples of approaches include but not limited to: dynamic-link library (DLL) injection, portable executable injection, thread execution hijacking, ptrace system calls, VDSO hijacking, and more.
Likelihood Of Attack
The table below shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf and ParentOf, 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.
Standard 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.
The targeted application fails to verify the integrity of the running process that allows an adversary to execute arbitrary code.
Knowledge of how to load malicious code into the memory space of a running process, as well as the ability to have the running process execute this code. For example, with DLL injection, the adversary must know how to load a DLL into the memory space of another running process, and cause this process to execute the code inside of the DLL.
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
Prevent unknown or malicious software from loading through whitelisting policy.
Properly restrict the location of the software being used.
Leverage security kernel modules providing advanced access control and process restrictions like SELinux.
Monitor API calls like CreateRemoteThread, SuspendThread/SetThreadContext/ResumeThread, QueueUserAPC, and similar for Windows.
Monitor API calls like ptrace system call, use of LD_PRELOAD environment variable, dlfcn dynamic linking API calls, and similar for Linux.
Monitor processes and command-line arguments for unknown behavior related to code injection.
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed:
September 30, 2019