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Hijack Execution Flow: DLL Side-Loading

Description from ATT&CK

Adversaries may execute their own malicious payloads by side-loading DLLs. Similar to DLL Search Order Hijacking, side-loading involves hijacking which DLL a program loads. But rather than just planting the DLL within the search order of a program then waiting for the victim application to be invoked, adversaries may directly side-load their payloads by planting then invoking a legitimate application that executes their payload(s).

Side-loading takes advantage of the DLL search order used by the loader by positioning both the victim application and malicious payload(s) alongside each other. Adversaries likely use side-loading as a means of masking actions they perform under a legitimate, trusted, and potentially elevated system or software process. Benign executables used to side-load payloads may not be flagged during delivery and/or execution. Adversary payloads may also be encrypted/packed or otherwise obfuscated until loaded into the memory of the trusted process.(Citation: FireEye DLL Side-Loading)

Atomic Tests

Atomic Test #1 - DLL Side-Loading using the Notepad++ GUP.exe binary

GUP is an open source signed binary used by Notepad++ for software updates, and is vulnerable to DLL Side-Loading, thus enabling the libcurl dll to be loaded. Upon execution, calc.exe will be opened.

Supported Platforms: windows

auto_generated_guid: 65526037-7079-44a9-bda1-2cb624838040

Inputs:

Name Description Type Default Value
process_name Name of the created process String calculator.exe
gup_executable GUP is an open source signed binary used by Notepad++ for software updates Path PathToAtomicsFolder\T1574.002\bin\GUP.exe

Attack Commands: Run with command_prompt!

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#{gup_executable}

Cleanup Commands:

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taskkill /F /IM #{process_name} >nul 2>&1

Dependencies: Run with powershell!

Description: Gup.exe binary must exist on disk at specified location (#{gup_executable})

Check Prereq Commands:

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if (Test-Path #{gup_executable}) {exit 0} else {exit 1}

Get Prereq Commands:

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New-Item -Type Directory (split-path #{gup_executable}) -ErrorAction ignore | Out-Null
Invoke-WebRequest "https://github.com/redcanaryco/atomic-red-team/blob/master/atomics/T1574.002/bin/GUP.exe?raw=true" -OutFile "#{gup_executable}"

Atomic Test #2 - DLL Side-Loading using the dotnet startup hook environment variable

Utilizing the dotnet_startup_hooks environment variable, this method allows for registering a global method in an assembly that will be executed whenever a .net core application is started. This unlocks a whole range of scenarios, from injecting a profiler to tweaking a static context in a given environment. blog post

Supported Platforms: windows

auto_generated_guid: d322cdd7-7d60-46e3-9111-648848da7c02

Inputs:

Name Description Type Default Value
process_name Name of the created process String calculator.exe
preloader_dll library for interfacing with the dotnet framework Path PathToAtomicsFolder\T1574.002\bin\preloader.dll

Attack Commands: Run with command_prompt!

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set DOTNET_STARTUP_HOOKS=#{preloader_dll}
dotnet -h > nul
echo.

Cleanup Commands:

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taskkill /F /IM #{process_name} >nul 2>&1

Dependencies: Run with powershell!

Description: .Net SDK must be installed

Check Prereq Commands:

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if (Test-Path "C:\Program Files\dotnet\dotnet.exe") {exit 0} else {exit 1}

Get Prereq Commands:

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winget install Microsoft.DotNet.SDK.6 --accept-source-agreements --accept-package-agreements -h > $null
echo.

Description: preloader must exist

Check Prereq Commands:

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if (Test-Path "#{preloader_dll}") {exit 0} else {exit 1}

Get Prereq Commands:

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Invoke-WebRequest "https://github.com/redcanaryco/atomic-red-team/blob/master/atomics/T1574.002/bin/preloader?raw=true" -OutFile "#{preloader_dll}"

source