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README.md

EMET 5.5

EMET is no longer part of the SHB as of SHB version 10.1.0.

Group Policy Object and Group Policy template files for EMET 5.5 policies are included in the SHB. EMET is one way of enabling anti-exploitation features in Windows. Enabling anti-exploitation features is on of the Top 10 Information Assurance mitigation strategies.

EMET 5.5 added official support for Windows 10. Other significant changes of interest in EMET 5.5 are:

  1. Full support for configuring all EMET features through Group Policy.
  2. Changing the system DEP setting through Group Policy no longer causes a BitLocker key recovery prompt since the DEP setting is no longer changed in that case.
  3. The ability to selectively override individual application mitigation settings for applications that are configured via one of the "Default Protections for" Group Policy settings.

Downloads for EMET 5.5

EMET 5.51 was released on August 1, 2016. It appears to be a minor update for fixing bugs listed in the Known issues in EMET 5.5 and 5.51 section of the EMET support article.

Note that EMET 5.5/5.51 supports ends on July 31, 2018.

Updating the EMET Group Policy templates

The latest version of the Group Policy template files for EMET are included in %ProgramFiles%\EMET 5.5\Deployment\Group Policy Files\ or %ProgramFiles(x86)%\EMET 5.5\Deployment\Group Policy Files\. Copy the following files:

  • EMET.admx
  • EMET.adml

The Group Policy template files need to be copied to specific a location on the file system. The location to copy the files to varies depending on if it is a domain versus a standalone system.

Updating the EMET Group Policy templates for a domain

If the domain administrators have configured a Group Policy Central Store for the domain, then copy the EMET.admx file to \\Fully Qualified Domain Name\SYSVOL\Fully Qualified Domain Name\Policies\PolicyDefinitions\ and copy the EMET.adml file to \\Fully Qualified Domain Name\SYSVOL\Fully Qualified Domain Name\Policies\PolicyDefinitions\en-us\

If the domain administrators have not configured a Group Policy Central Store for the domain, then copy the EMET.admx file to %SystemRoot%\PolicyDefinitions\, typically C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions\, and copy the EMET.adml file to %SystemRoot%\PolicyDefinitions\en-us\ folder on the domain controller.

Updating the EMET Group Policy templates for a standalone system

%SystemRoot%\PolicyDefinitions\, typically C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions\, contains Group Policy templates used by Local Group Policy on a standalone system. Copy the EMET.admx file to %SystemRoot%\PolicyDefinitions\ and copy the EMET.adml file to %SystemRoot%\PolicyDefinitions\en-us\ folder on the domain controller.

Importing the EMET Group Policy

Importing the EMET domain Group Policy

Use the PowerShell Group Policy commands to import the EMET Group Policy into a domain. Run the following command on a domain controller from a PowerShell prompt running as a domain administrator.

Invoke-ApplySecureHostBaseline -Path '.\Secure-Host-Baseline' -PolicyNames 'EMET'

Importing the EMET local Group Policy

Use Microsoft's LGPO tool to apply the EMET Group Policy to a standalone system. Run the following command from a command prompt running as a local administrator.

Invoke-ApplySecureHostBaseline -Path '.\Secure-Host-Baseline' -PolicyNames 'EMET' -ToolPath '.\LGPO\lgpo.exe'

EMET configuration tips

In EMET 5.5 the Application Configuration policy setting can be used to selectively override individual application mitigation settings for applications that are configured via one of the "Default Protections for" Group Policy settings. Prior to EMET 5.5 administrators would have likely directly edited the EMET.admx file to make changes but that is no longer necessary. The following examples assume these EMET Group Policy settings are enabled:

  • Default Protections for Internet Explorer
  • Default Protections for Popular Software
  • Default Protections for Recommended Software

Overriding an application's ASR or EAF+ configuration

Assuming the above policies are enabled, the following example overrides Internet Explorer's default Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) module list configuration of npjpi*.dll;jp2iexp.dll;vgx.dll;msxml4*.dll;wshom.ocx;scrrun.dll;vbscript.dll to remove vbscript.dll from the list. This example demonstrates how to change the configuration when a third-party component is loaded into Internet Explorer that is not compatible with ASR being configured for a specific module.

  1. Go to Computer Policy > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > EMET
  2. Double click Application Configuration
  3. Select the Enabled radio button
  4. Click the Show button
  5. For Value name enter *\iexplore.exe
  6. For Value enter +ASR asr_modules:npjpi*.dll;jp2iexp.dll;vgx.dll;msxml4*.dll;wshom.ocx;scrrun.dll asr_zones:1;2
  7. Click OK
  8. Click OK
  9. Run gpupdate /force from the command line on a test system

Another common scenario is using ASR to temporarily disable Flash due to a zero day. Changing the ASR configuration can be used to block Flash from loading in Internet Explorer. Follow the same steps above but change the Value entry for Internet Explorer to +ASR asr_modules:npjpi*.dll;jp2iexp.dll;vgx.dll;msxml4*.dll;wshom.ocx;scrrun.dll;vbscript.dll;Flash*.ocx asr_zones:1;2 to block Flash from loading in Internet Explorer.

Note that the asr_zones option exempts certain Internet Explorer security zones from ASR protection. The values for the asr_zones option are:

  • 0 = Local Zone
  • 1 = Intranet Zone
  • 2 = Trusted Zone
  • 3 = Internet Zone
  • 4 = Untrusted Zone

The asr_zones:1;2 option with those specific numbers means "Exempt the Intranet Zone and Trusted Zone from ASR protections".

Changing an application's Export Address Table Access Filtering Plus (EAF+) mitigation is similar to changing ASR. For Value enter +EAF+ eaf_modules:npjpi*.dll;jp2iexp.dll;vgx.dll;msxml4*.dll;wshom.ocx;scrrun.dll;vbscript.dll;Flash*.ocx or whatever value you wish to change the configuration to.

Other examples of how to configure the Application Configuration policy can be taken from the registry path under HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\EMET\Defaults\. The Name value is what is entered in Value name field in the GPO and the Data value is what is entered in the Value field in the GPO.

Overriding a specific application mitigation

  1. Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > EMET
  2. Double click Application Configuration
  3. Select the Enabled radio button
  4. Click the Show button
  5. For Value name enter *\iexplore.exe
  6. For Value enter -EAF -EAF+
  7. Click OK
  8. Click OK
  9. Run gpupdate /force from the command line on a test system

The above example disables Export Address Table Access Filtering (EAF) and Export Address Table Access Filtering Plus (EAF+) for the application.

Other examples of how to configure the Application Configuration policy can be taken from the registry path under HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Defaults\. The Name value is what is entered in Value name field in the GPO and the Data value is what is entered in the Value field in the GPO.

Blocking the regsvr32 application whitelisting bypass technique

EMET's ASR protection can be used to block the regsvr32 application whitelisting bypass technique. This technique is not specific to AppLocker. A similar bypass technique can be achieved with rundll32.

  1. Go to Computer Policy > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > EMET
  2. Double click Application Configuration
  3. Select the Enabled radio button
  4. Click the Show button
  5. For Value name enter *\regsvr32.exe
  6. For Value enter +ASR asr_modules:scrobj.dll;scrrun.dll
  7. Click OK
  8. Click OK
  9. Run gpupdate /force from the command line
  10. Repeat the same steps for rundll32.exe

Below is a screenshot of the Group Policy configuration. EMET Group Policy configuration to block regsvr32 application whitelisting bypass

Below is a screenshot of the test of the of the Group Policy configuration and the notification from EMET. EMET notification block regsvr32 application whitelisting bypass

Below is a screenshot of the EMET event log event as a result of the test. EMET event log block regsvr32 application whitelisting bypass

Blocking one rundll32 application whitelisting bypass technique

Another application whitelisting bypass technique uses rundll32.exe to execute Javascript. This technique was used by the Win32\Poweliks malware. This technique is not specific to AppLocker.

  1. Go to Computer Policy > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > EMET
  2. Double click Application Configuration
  3. Select the Enabled radio button
  4. Click the Show button
  5. For Value name enter *\rundll32.exe
  6. For Value enter +ASR asr_modules:mshtml.dll
  7. Click OK
  8. Click OK
  9. Run gpupdate /force from the command line

You can also use +ASR asr_modules:mshtml.dll;jscript*.dll for step 6 but that may block too many legitimate use cases of regsvr32 loading jscript. Administrators may want to test with both combinations to determine the operational impact from additionally blocking jscript from loading.

Blocking malicious OLE packages in Microsoft Office products

Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) packages can be used to embed executable content in Microsoft Office documents. OLE packages have been shown to be useful in executing potentially malicious content that Outlook would normally prevent. The configuration below overrides the built-in default EMET policies for Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook, InfoPath, Publisher, and Visio by adding the OLE unpacking library to the list of modules to block from loading. This configuration prevents this technique from being used in those applications.

  1. Go to Computer Policy > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > EMET
  2. Double click Application Configuration
  3. Select the Enabled radio button
  4. Click the Show button
  5. For Value name enter *\OFFICE1*\EXCEL.EXE
  6. For Value enter +ASR asr_modules:flash*.ocx;packager.dll
  7. For Value name enter *\OFFICE1*\POWERPNT.EXE
  8. For Value enter +ASR asr_modules:flash*.ocx;packager.dll
  9. For Value name enter *\OFFICE1*\WINWORD.EXE
  10. For Value enter +ASR asr_modules:flash*.ocx;packager.dll
  11. For Value name enter *\OFFICE1*\OUTLOOK.EXE
  12. For Value enter +ASR asr_modules:packager.dll
  13. For Value name enter *\OFFICE1*\INFOPATH.EXE
  14. For Value enter +ASR asr_modules:packager.dll
  15. For Value name enter *\OFFICE1*\MSPUB.EXE
  16. For Value enter +ASR asr_modules:packager.dll
  17. For Value name enter *\OFFICE1*\VISIO.EXE
  18. For Value enter +ASR asr_modules:packager.dll
  19. Click OK
  20. Click OK
  21. Run gpupdate /force from the command line

Blocking rundll32 from loading PowerShell

Rundll32.exe can be used to execute PowerShell code. This can be blocked with EMET's ASR feature.

  1. Go to Computer Policy > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > EMET
  2. Double click Application Configuration
  3. Select the Enabled radio button
  4. Click the Show button
  5. For Value name enter *\rundll32.exe
  6. For Value enter +ASR asr_modules:System.Management.Automation.dll
  7. Click OK
  8. Click OK
  9. Run gpupdate /force from the command line

On EMET bypasses

Over the years there have been techniques published for bypassing EMET. Sometimes a future version of EMET fixes the bypass technique and sometimes it does not. As with any security software, a dedicated and skilled attacker will find a way to bypass it and EMET is no different. The fact that a bypass technique exists for EMET is not an excuse to uninstall EMET from a system. If that was the case, then no one would install anti-virus software or use firewalls since those are bypassed by attackers every day. EMET does not introduce vulnerabilities into a system and EMET bypass techniques are not vulnerabilities since they rely on gaining successful code execution through another vulnerability. EMET has a history of stopping 0-day exploits and a list of example CVEs that EMET has blocked exploits for are listed here under the What are the exploits for which CVEs have been blocked by EMET? heading.

Guidance

NSA Information Assurance has published a number of EMET guides: