by Mitja Kolsek, the 0patch Team
January 2022 Windows Updates brought a fix for a local privilege escalation in Windows IKE Extension Remote Code Execution, discovered by Polar Bear. Ten days ago (as of this writing), researchers from 78ResearchLab published an analysis and a POC for this vulnerability. This made it possible for us to create a patch for affected "security-adopted" Windows systems that no longer receive official fixes from Microsoft.
The vulnerability allows a remote attacker to cause memory (heap) corruption on the target computer by sending a malformed ISAKMP packet using the IKE protocol, whereby the VendorID payload is longer than the expected 10h characters. The vulnerable code namely prepares a 10-character buffer on the stack for storing this value, and in case a longer value is provided, the memcpy (memory copy) operation results in memory locations beyond the end of buffer being overwritten with attacker-chosen content. In the absence of a negative proof, such vulnerabilities are assumed to be exploitable for arbitrary code execution (although the POC at hand only results in crashing the process.)
Microsoft assigned this issue CVE-2022-21849 and fixed it by adding a check for the length of the VendorID value: if the length isn't exactly 10h (if the size of the entire payload including the 10h-byte prologue isn't exactly 20h), it ignores this value. Our micropatch with just two CPU instructions is logically equivalent to Microsoft's:
cmp r13d, 20h ; is the size of the VendorID payload equal to 20h?
jne PIT_0x1fb64 ; if not, ignore the value
The micropatch was written for the following Versions of Windows with all available Windows Updates installed:
- Windows 10 v2004
- Windows 10 v1903
- Windows 10 v1803
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We'd like to thank Polar Bear for finding this issue, and 78ResearchLab researchers for publishing their analysis and providing a proof-of-concept that allowed us to reproduce the vulnerability and create a micropatch. We also encourage security researchers to privately share their analyses with us for micropatching.