Many languages use code signing facilities to vouch for code's identity and to thus tie code to its assigned privileges within an environment. Subverting this mechanism can be instrumental in an attacker escalating privilege. Any means of subverting the way that a virtual machine enforces code signing classifies for this style of attack.
Likelihood Of Attack
This table 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.
Meta Attack Pattern - A meta level attack pattern in CAPEC is a decidedly abstract characterization of a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. A meta attack pattern is often void of a specific technology or implementation and is meant to provide an understanding of a high level approach. A meta level attack pattern is a generalization of related group of standard level attack patterns. Meta level attack patterns are particularly useful for architecture and design level threat modeling exercises.
Detailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.
A framework-based language that supports code signing (such as, and most commonly, Java or .NET)
Deployed code that has been signed by its authoring vendor, or a partner.
The attacker will, for most circumstances, also need to be able to place code in the victim container. This does not necessarily mean that they will have to subvert host-level security, except when explicitly indicated.
Subverting code signing is not a trivial activity. Most code signing and verification schemes are based on use of cryptography and the attacker needs to have an understanding of these cryptographic operations in good detail. Additionally the attacker also needs to be aware of the way memory is assigned and accessed by the container since, often, the only way to subvert code signing would be to patch the code in memory. Finally, a knowledge of the platform specific mechanisms of signing and verifying code is a must.
The Attacker needs no special resources beyond the listed prerequisites in order to conduct this style of attack.
This table 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.
A given code signing scheme may be fallible due to improper use of cryptography. Developers must never roll out their own cryptography, nor should existing primitives be modified or ignored.
If an attacker cannot attack the scheme directly, they might try to alter the environment that affects the signing and verification processes. A possible mitigation is to avoid reliance on flags or environment variables that are user-controllable.
In old versions (prior to 3.0b4) of the Netscape web browser Attackers able to foist a malicious Applet into a client's browser could execute the "Magic Coat" attack. In this attack, the offending Applet would implement its own getSigners() method. This implementation would use the containing VM's APIs to acquire other Applet's signatures (by calling _their_ getSigners() method) and if any running Applet had privileged-enough signature, the malicious Applet would have inherited that privilege just be (metaphorically) donning the others' coats.
The ability to load unsigned code into the kernel of earlier versions of Vista and bypass integrity checking is an example of such subversion. In the proof-of-concept, it is possible to bypass the signature-checking mechanism Vista uses to load device drivers.
A Related Weakness relationship associates a weakness with this attack pattern. Each association implies a weakness that must exist for a given attack to be successful. If multiple weaknesses are associated with the attack pattern, then any of the weaknesses (but not necessarily all) may be present for the attack to be successful. Each related weakness is identified by a CWE identifier.