Subvert Trust Controls: Code Signing Policy Modification

Created the Saturday 04 March 2023. Updated 9 months, 2 weeks ago.

Adversaries may modify code signing policies to enable execution of unsigned or self-signed code. Code signing provides a level of authenticity on a program from a developer and a guarantee that the program has not been tampered with. Security controls can include enforcement mechanisms to ensure that only valid, signed code can be run on an operating system.

Some of these security controls may be enabled by default, such as Driver Signature Enforcement (DSE) on Windows. Other such controls may be disabled by default but are configurable through application controls, such as only allowing signed Dynamic-Link Libraries (DLLs) to execute on a system. Since it can be useful for developers to modify default signature enforcement policies during the development and testing of applications, disabling of these features may be possible with elevated permissions.

Adversaries may modify code signing policies in a number of ways, including through use of command-line or GUI utilities, Modify Registry, rebooting the computer in a debug/recovery mode, or by altering the value of variables in kernel memory. Examples of commands that can modify the code signing policy of a system include bcdedit.exe -set TESTSIGNING ON on Windows. Depending on the implementation, successful modification of a signing policy may require reboot of the compromised system. Additionally, some implementations can introduce visible artifacts for the user (ex: a watermark in the corner of the screen stating the system is in Test Mode). Adversaries may attempt to remove such artifacts.

To gain access to kernel memory to modify variables related to signature checks, such as modifying g_CiOptions to disable Driver Signature Enforcement, adversaries may conduct Exploitation for Privilege Escalation using a signed, but vulnerable driver.

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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