Cатсн²² (in)sесuяitу / ChrisJohnRiley

Because we're damned if we do, and we're damned if we don't!

ShmooCon 2012: Raising The White Flag

Raising The White Flag

:: Bypassing Application White Listing

– Curt Shaffer and Chris Cuevas

NOTE: The video of this talk has now been made available over at the ShmooCon website.

More and more people are seeing application whitelisting in their environments. Despite what marketing people say, these solutions don’t stop APT and other advanced threats. This talk is designed to shine a light on the issues with whitelisting.

Whitelisting is often touted as a replacement for AV. Despite the fact that something better than AV is needed, application whitelisting isn’t the solution. Their purpose seems good, for the execution is lacking. Things are headed in the right direction, but using simple bypass techniques it’s possible to bypass these whitelisting protections.

The following application whitelisting tools were tested.

  • Bit9 Parity 6.0.0
  • McAfee Application Protection
  • Microsoft Applocker


  • Windows File Protection
  • File Naming Fun
  • Iexpress packagng
  • Java Exploits/Malware
  • Flash Exploits/Malware
  • Adobe Exploits/Malware
  • JavaScript
  • VBA
  • Raw Shellcode
  • Powershell
Some other things were excluded due to time constraints (including HTML5, CD-ROM ISO masquerading, Digitally Signed Malware).

Bypassing Techniques Attempted

  • ActiveX
  • PDF attacks
    • Spawning shell
  • Office documents
    • VBscript Macros
  • Shellcodexec
    • Inject shellcode into memory
  • JAVA
    • Applet
    • Exploit
  • JavaScript
    • BeEF hook
    • Firefox Extension
  • Powershell
    • Run script by piping into powershell.exe
    • DLL Injection
    • Shellcode injection
    • Chrome Extension
  • Man-in-the-Middle
    • Sniff, modify, replay
This is all know. We’ve been pissing on AV for a long time. Time to piss on whitelisting as well.



Most things worked, except Windows File Protection and Iexpress.


Inconsistent results with Windows File Protection, and again Iexpress failed. However everything else works.

What Worked


Injecting BeEF into a browser process

Windows Help Files

Compiled HTML, but needs a degree of social engineering to get people to click

Can run cmd.exe and game over

Office Documents

Lots of work in this area by Didier Stevens


Powershell code injection into any 32bit or 64 bit

Powershell syringe


Get between the client and server

ARP spoof, iptables redirect

It’s HTTPS, but it doesn’t check the cert

Enables you to drop level from enforce blocks to only alert

Self protection

Abilty to inject code into the actual whitelisting exe (in this case parity.exe of Bit9)

Bit9 deny this is an issue.

[ demo of shellcode exection within the Bit9 Notifier process ]

Metasploit module for this will be released to demo this.

Stopping this attack

To protect this on Bit9, go to the admin control panel and add memory rules to protect the notifier.exe process. The memory protection menu is only available in versions above 6.0.1.


  • Talk abstract –> HERE
  • (NEW) Further Information from the talk –> HERE
  • (NEW) Video of the talk –> HERE

9 responses to “ShmooCon 2012: Raising The White Flag

  1. Bit9 February 9, 2012 at 17:13

    I am concerned about Bit9 and i need further information if available.

  2. ChrisJohnRiley February 11, 2012 at 20:39

    I would suggest contacting Bit9, or the speakers for further information… I’m afriad I don’t ahve anything beyond what was noted in the talk and written up on the blog!

  3. ChrisJohnRiley February 13, 2012 at 15:56

    I’ve added links to the Write-up by Foreground Security and the newly released video of the talk.

    Apologies for those who found this quick set of notes unhelpful (wat0114)… feel free to attend the conference next time and write your own fucking notes!

  4. Pingback: Why Malware Numbers Don’t Matter and What it Means for Security Accounting » ActiveResponse.org | ActiveResponse.org

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