Didier Stevens

Friday 18 February 2011

HeapLocker: String Detection

Filed under: My Software,Vulnerabilities — Didier Stevens @ 12:43

A third protection technique I implemented in HeapLocker is string detection.

When you enable string monitoring, HeapLocker will create a new thread to periodically check (every second) newly committed virtual pages that are readable and writable. When a specific string (configured in the registry) is detected inside these pages, HeapLocker will suspend all threads (except this monitoring thread used by HeapLocker) and warn the user that the string was detected.

I’ve had very good result with this technique searching for string “unescape” in Adobe Reader (the string “unescape” must be preceded by an equal sign or followed by a left parentheses). Almost all malicious PDF documents in my collection were detected by this. But like NOP-sled detection, it’s not 100% reliable. Sometimes HeapLocker will scan a page before the string “unescape” has been written to that page.

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