IIS at Risk: An In-Depth Look into CVE-2015-1635
One of the vulnerabilities recently patched by Microsoft can be exploited in the same way as Heartbleed, and needs to be addressed immediately.
Addressed in the April batch of Patch Tuesday fixes (in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS15-034, specifically), the Microsoft Windows HTTP.sys Integer Overflow vulnerability, or CVE-2015-1635, is a remote code execution vulnerability that exists in HTTP.sys, or the HTTP protocol processing module in Microsoft Internet Information Service. Integer overflows have long been known as one kind of notorious and fairly old vulnerability – so why the sudden interest? I found that the vulnerability can be easily used for denial of service (DoS) attacks or data leaks similar to last year’s Heartbleed attack, in which information is copied from memory and sent to the client.
A researcher already published a checker script for this vulnerability on Pastebin and showed how it can be used to carry out DoS attacks or to leak information. Additionally, another researcher published a POC for information leaks.
Detailed analysis of DoS attacks and Information leak attacks via CVE-2015-1635
In this blog post I will explain in detail how the vulnerability can be used for DoS attacks and data leak attacks. Before I dive into the vulnerability, let’s introduce some background information.
Figure 1. Architecture of IIS
After installing IIS (Internet Information Service) on the system, there is a service named the World Wide Web Publishing Service, which I call the WWW service. When a client sends an HTTP request to the system, the WWW service starts up or selects a worker process (W3wp.exe) based on load balancing policy to process the HTTP request and send the appropriate HTTP response. The file W3wp.exe uses HTTP.sys to do many tasks related to HTTP protocol handling, which include HTTP protocol parsing, response content assembling, and content caching. HTTP.sys receives the HTTP request and sends the HTTP response via TCPIP.sys.
How can this be used in DoS attacks?
Let’s prepare a HTTP request to start our DoS journey. The testing environment I used was Windows 8.1 (32-bit version) plus IIS 8.5.
First, we take the IIS ‘s default web page iisstart.htm (file size 694 bytes) as an example. We compose a HTTP request as follows:
GET /iisstart.htm HTTP/1.1\r\nHost: aaaaa\r\nRange: bytes=284-18446744073709551615 \r\n\r\n
The HTTP range request start position is 284, and the end position is 18446744073709551615. The hexadecimal value of 18446744073709551615 is 0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF. The range length is huge—it must be over the size of the requested web page file, which appears suspicious. I will explain later why I selected the start position as 284.
After the request is sent to HTTP Server, one w3wp.exe handles the HTTP request processing. TCPIP.sys forwards any HTTP protocol content to HTTP.sys. If the request is a HTTP range request, it will call the function UlpParseRange(). The function parses the request to get the requested range’s start position and end position and calculates the range’s length. We can see that the first integer overflow happens in code which calculates the range’s length. The code is as follows:
Figure 2. Range Length code
When the end position=0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF and start position=0, the integer overflow happens and the Range Length equals 0. The code does not check whether there is an overflow and does not take the error handling action.
In our case, the integer overflow does not happen. The end position=0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF and start position=284, while Range Length equals -284, whose hexadecimal value is 0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFEE4. If this is interpreted as an unsigned integer, the value is very huge.
After finishing parsing the HTTP request, it will call the function UlAdjustRangesToContentSize(). The function adjusts the Range’s start position and length if the start position and length is “invalid”. The definition of “invalid” contains several scenarios which indicate the Range is over the requested web page content. Examples include:
- Range Start Position is 0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
- Range Length is 0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
- Start Position >= the requested web page length
- End Position >= the requested web page length
The second integer overflow can be found in the last function. It uses the following code to get the Range End Position:
Figure 3. Adjustment action
In this case, the Range Start Position equals 284, Range Length equals 0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFEE4, so an overflow happens, Range End Position equals 0 and the adjusted action is bypass.
If one same request is received continuously, the request‘s response will be cached and will be taken from the cache and sent to the requester. It will call the function UxpTpDirectTransmit().One job of the function is to calculate the HTTP response packet length. The simplified code is as follows:
Figure 4. Simplified HTTP code
Using our case‘s value:
Range Count = 1;
Range Boundary and Range Info length = 0; // (This will be explained later.)
Range Tail Boundary Length = 0; // (This will be explained later.)
Range Length = 0xFFFFFEE4; // (The value is already cast to 32 bit)
HTTP Head Length = 283;
The HTTP Response Length‘s result is 0xFFFFFFFF. The whole length is 4G. Systems will consider that this HTTP response total size is 4G. This means that there is a HTTP response packet whose calculated size is larger than the real size. This is why we used 284 as the Range Start Position.
HTTP Response Length = HTTP Head Length + (Range End Position – Range Start Position + 1)
= HTTP Head Length + (0xFFFFFFFF – Range Start Position + 1
= HTTP Head Length - Range Start Position
If Range Start Position less than <= HTTP Head Length, it will trigger an overflow. The HTTP Response Length value range is [0, HTTP Head Length).
Because we want to launch a DoS attack, this is not the result we want. We want the HTTP Content Length value to be large. The preferred range for Range Start Position is [HTTP Head Length+1, target page size). In this range, it does NOT trigger an overflow and the HTTP Content Length value will become large, and will then allow a DoS attack.
After the HTTP response package is assembled, HTTP.sys will forward the packet information to the protocol stack driver to send it. TCPIP.sys‘s function TcpSegmentTcbSend() will traverse every part content of the packet. There is integer overflow in the function. Here is a list of some simplified code:
Figure 5. Simplified code
In the above code, line 15 will trigger the overflow. In our case, the HTTP Response Length is 0xFFFFFFFF. The “virtual address’” initial value must be a kernel address ( >=0x80000000). Because HTTP Response Length is very large, the loop will run many times. When the loop has run many times, the “virtual address” will become a very small value after triggering the integer overflow. In the loop, it will use the “virtual address” to build a partial memory descriptor list (MDL). Because the range is not a sub range in the source range, it leads to a Blue Screen Of Death (or BSOD). The DoS attack is complete.
How can this be used in an information theft attack?
We prepare a request as follows:
GET /iisstart.htm HTTP/1.1\r\nHost: aaaaa\r\nRange: bytes=3-18446744073709551615, 1-600"+ "\r\n\r\n"
The reason for using multiple ranges will be explained later. We take 3-18446744073709551615 as Range1 and take 1-600 as Range2.
In function UlpParseRange(),the code can be seen in Figure 3. For this case, we have 2 range lengths:
Range1 Length = 0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF - 0x3 + 1 = 0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFD
Range2 Length = 600 -1 + 1 = 600
After parsing the HTTP request, it will call the function UlAdjustRangesToContentSize(). The code is in Figure 3. Range1 will trigger integer overflow (3 + 0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFD => 0), so bypass adjust action, even if the Range1 Length is invalid. Range2 is valid, so it should not be adjusted.
If the same request is received continuously, the request‘s response will be cached and will be taken from the cache and sent to the requester. It will call the function UxpTpDirectTransmit() . The code in Figure 4 is executed, using the following values:
- Range Count = 2
- Range1 Length = 0xFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFD
- Range2 Length = 600
- Http Head Length= 0x127 //HTTP head content, see Figure 6
- Range1 Boundary and Range1 Info length = 0x7a
- Range2 Boundary and Range2 Info length = 0x69
- Range Tail Boundary Length = 0x32; //see Figure 8
By using a multi-range request, there is a Range bound tag and Range Information (Content-Type, Content-Range) before each range content. (See Figure 7 for this.)
Figure 6. HTTP Head
Figure 7. Range boundary tag and Range Information
Figure 8. Range Tail
From Figure 4, we can see that HTTP Response Length = HTTP Head Length + Range Boundary and Range Info length + Range1 Length + Range Boundary and Range Info length + Range2 Length = 0x127+7a+0xFFFFFFFD+0x69+0x258+0x32 => 0x491. At line 5 of Figure 4, an integer overflow occurs when 0xFFFFFFFD is added. At this time, the system takes 0x491 as the HTTP response length.
The memory status can be described as following:
Figure 9. Memory status
After assembling the HTTP response package, HTTP.sys will forward the packet information under the protocol stack driver to send it. TCPIP.sys ‘s function TcpSegmentTcbSend() will traverse every part content of the packet (see Figure)
See the code in Figure 4. In this case, the HTTP response length is 0x491. When handling the part which length is 0xFFFFFFFD, line 7’s condition is met, Part Length‘s value will be set by Remain Length. At that point, Remain Length is 0x2f0 (0x491 – 0x172- 0x7a). It will use [0x3, 0x3+0x2f0] as a buffer range to read and send to client. Our target web page iistart.html has a length 0x2b6. The status is the following:
Figure 10. Buffer status
In Figure 10, the red part is the leaked information buffer. Compared with the code in Figure 5, the condition at line 24 is satisfied and breaks the loop. That is to say, the parts after the part which has 0xFFFFFFFD length will not be sent to client. At this point, we can see why we used a multi-range request.
Using multi-range requests can let the HTTP response length (calculated in step 3) become larger to leak more information. If only a single range is used, the HTTP response length becomes either too big or too small. If the HTTP response length is too big, it will lead to BSOD, as it was described in the previous section. If the HTTP response length is small, it doesn’t make a range to cover the buffer after the target web page content to do information leak. Attackers use many range to leak more information. For example, I created a multi-range request as follows:
GET /iisstart.htm HTTP/1.1\r\nHost: aaaaa\r\nRange: bytes=3- 18446744073709551615,1-32,32-64, 64-96,96-128,128-256, 129-130,130-140,160-170,180-190, 190-200"+ "\r\n\r\n"
In the request, I use 11 ranges. The leaked information can be seen in the following picture:
Figure 11. Information leakage
Given these attack scenarios, I strongly advise users and network administrators to apply the patch, if they haven’t. Aside from the update provided by Microsoft, Deep Security also protects users from this through the following Deep Security rule:
- 1006620 – Microsoft Windows HTTP.sys Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2015-1635)
This blog post is a follow-up to our previous blog entry on CVE-2015-1635:
IIS At Risk: The HTTP Protocol Stack Vulnerability