Process Herpaderping

Created the Wednesday 16 June 2021. Updated 6 months, 1 week ago.

Process Herpaderping is a method of obscuring the intentions of a process by modifying the content on a disk after the image has been mapped. This results in curious behavior by security products and the OS itself.

To abuse this convention, we first write a binary to a target file on a disk. Then, we map an image of the target file and provide it to the OS to use for process creation. The OS kindly maps the original binary for us. Using the existing file handle, and before creating the initial thread, we modify the target file content to obscure or fake the file backing the image. Sometime later, we create the initial thread to begin the execution of the original binary. Finally, we will close the target file handle. Let's walk through this step-by-step:

  1. Write target binary to disk, keeping the handle open. This is what will execute in memory.
  2. Map the file as an image section NtCreateSection, SEC_IMAGE.
  3. Create the process object using the section handle NtCreateProcessEx.
  4. Using the same target file handle, obscure the file on disk.
  5. Create the initial thread in the process NtCreateThreadEx.
    • At this point, the process creation callback in the kernel will fire. The contents on the disk do not match what was mapped. Inspection of the file at this point will result in incorrect attribution.
  6. Close the handle. IRP_MJ_CLEANUP will occur here.
    • Since we've hidden the contents of what is executing, inspection at this point will result in incorrect attribution.

Technique Identifier


Featured Windows API's

Below, you will find a list of the most commonly used Windows API's that are currently utilized by malware authors for current evasion technique. This list is meant to provide an overview of the API's that are commonly used for this purpose. If there are any API's that you feel should be included on this list, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to update the list and provide any additional information or documentation that may be helpful.

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Additional Resources

External Links

The resources provided below are associated links that will give you even more detailed information and research on current evasion technique. It is important to note that, while these resources may be helpful, it is important to exercise caution when following external links. As always, be careful when clicking on links from unknown sources, as they may lead to malicious content.

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