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Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool (IPDT) Privilege Escalation

Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool (IPDT) Privilege Escalation
Posted Jul 4, 2018
Authored by Stefan Kanthak

Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool (IPDT) versions prior to suffer from three code execution and privilege escalation vulnerabilities.

tags | exploit, vulnerability, code execution
advisories | CVE-2018-3667, CVE-2018-3668
MD5 | e27a62a998247161335280f046236c59

Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool (IPDT) Privilege Escalation

Change Mirror Download
Hi @ll,

the executable installers of Intel's Processor Diagnostic Tool
(IPDT) before v4.1.0.27 have three vulnerabilities^Wbeginner's
errors which all allow arbitrary code execution with escalation
of privilege, plus a fourth which allows denial of service.

Intel published advisory SA-00140
on 2018-06-27 and updated installers on 2018-05-18.

The vulnerabilities can be exploited in standard installations
of Windows where the user^WUAC-"protected administrator" account
created during Windows setup is used, without elevation.
This precondition holds for the majority of Windows installations:
according to Microsoft's own security intelligence reports
<>, about 1/2 to 3/4 of the
about 600 million Windows installations which send telemetry data
have only ONE active user account.

#1 Denial of service through insecure file permissions

The downloadable executable installer (really: executable
self-extractor built with WinZIP) IPDT_Installer_4.1.0.24.exe
creates a subdirectory with random name in %TEMP%, copies
itself into this subdirectory and then executes its copy.

The subdirectory inherits the NTFS ACLs from its parent
%TEMP%, and so does the copy of the executable self-extractor.

For this well-known and well-documented vulnerability see
<> and
<> plus

Proof of concept/demonstration:

1. download IPDT_Installer_4.1.0.24.exe (quite some clueless
copycats still offer it, violating Intel's copyright;
and save it in your "Downloads" directory";

2. add the NTFS access control list entry (D;OIIO;WP;;;WD)
meaning "deny execution of files in this directory for
everyone, inheritable to files in all subdirectories"
to the (user's) %TEMP% directory.

3. execute IPDT_Installer_4.1.024.exe: notice the complete
failure of the executable installer^Wself-extractor,
WITHOUT error message!

#2 Escalation of privilege through insecure file permissions

Although the (copy of the) executable self-extractor runs with
administrative privileges (its embedded "application manifest"
specifies 'requireAdministrator'), it extracts its payload, the
REAL installers setup.exe and setup64.exe, plus the batch script
setup.bat, UNPROTECTED into the user's %TEMP% directory, CD's
into %TEMP% and finally executes the extracted batch script

--- setup.bat ---
echo off

ver | findstr 6.1.7600
if %errorlevel%==0 goto WinUnsup

ver | findstr 6.0.6001
if %errorlevel%==0 goto WinUnsup

if "%programfiles(x86)%XXX"=="XXX" goto 32BIT

goto END

goto END

echo Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool cannot be installed on this Operating System
echo Please go to Online support page to view list of supported Oerating Systems


exit 0
--- EOF ---

The extracted files inherit the NTFS ACLs from their parent
%TEMP%, allowing "full access" for the unprivileged (owning)
user, who can replace/overwrite the files between their creation
and execution.

Since the files are executed with administrative privileges,
this vulnerability results in arbitrary code execution with
escalation of privilege.

Proof of concept/demonstration:

1. create the following batch script in an arbitrary directory:

--- IPDT.CMD ---
@If Not Exist "%TEMP%\setup.exe" Goto :LOOP1

Echo >"%TEMP%\setup.bat" WhoAMI.exe /all
Echo >>"%TEMP%\setup.bat" Pause

@If Not Exist "%TEMP%\setup64.exe" Goto :LOOP2

Copy /Y %COMSPEC% "%TEMP%\setup.exe"

@Copy %COMSPEC% "%TEMP%\setup64.exe"
--- EOF ---

NOTE: the batch script needs to win a race (which it almost
always will, due to the size of the files extracted).

2. execute the batch script per double-click;

3. execute IPDT_Installer_4.1.024.exe per double-click: notice
the command processor started instead one of the executable
installers, running with administrative privileges.

#3 Escalation of privilege through unsafe search path

In Windows Vista and newer versions, the current working
directory can be removed from the executable search path:

The batch script setup.bat calls setup.exe and setup64.exe
without a path, so the command processor doesn't find the
extracted setup.exe and setup64.exe in its CWD and searches
them via %PATH%.

%PATH% is under full control of the unprivileged user, who
can create rogue setup.exe and setup64.exe in an arbitrary
directory he adds to the %PATH%, resulting again in arbitrary
code execution with escalation of privilege.

For this well-known and well-documented vulnerability see
<> and
<> plus

Proof of concept/demonstration:

1. start an unprivileged command prompt in an arbitrary
directory where the unprivileged user can create files,
for example the user's "Downloads" directory;

2. add this (current working) directory to the user's PATH:

REG.exe Add HKCU\Environment /V PATH /T REG_SZ /D "%CD%" /F

3. copy the command processor %COMSPEC% (or any rogue executable
of your choice) as setup.exe and setup64.exe into the current
(working) directory:

COPY %COMSPEC% "%CD%\setup.exe"
COPY %COMSPEC% "%CD%\setup64.exe"

4. set the environment variable NoDefaultCurrentDirectoryInExePath
to an arbitrary value:

SET NoDefaultCurrentDirectoryInExePath=*
REG.exe Add HKCU\Environment /V NoDefaultCurrentDirectoryInExePath /T REG_SZ /D "*" /F

5. execute IPDT_Installer_4.1.024.exe per double-click: notice
the command processor started instead of the extracted
executable installers, running with administrative privileges.

#4 Escalation of privilege through DLL search order hijacking

The extracted executable installers setup.exe and setup64.exe,
built with the crapware known as InstallShield, load multiple
Windows system DLLs from their "application directory" %TEMP%
instead from Windows' "system directory" %SystemRoot%\System32\

To quote Raymond Chen

| a rogue DLL in the TEMP directory is a trap waiting to be sprung.

An unprivileged attacker running in the same user account can
copy rogue DLLs into %TEMP%; these are loaded and their DllMain()
routine executed with administrative privileges, once more
resulting in arbitrary code execution with escalation of privilege.

For this well-known and well-documented vulnerability see
<> and
<> plus

Proof of concept/demonstration:

1. follow the instructions from
and build a minefield of forwarder DLLs in your %TEMP%

NOTE: if you can't or don't want to build the minefield, download
and save it as UXTheme.dll, DWMAPI.dll, NTMARTA.dll and
MSI.dll in your %TEMP% directory.

2. execute IPDT_Installer_4.1.0.24.exe: notice the message boxes
displayed from the DLLs built in step 1!

NOTE: on a fully patched Windows 7 SP1, setup64.exe loads at
least the following 32-bit DLLs from %TEMP%:
UXTheme.dll, Version.dll, NTMARTA.dll and MSI.dll

Due to its filename, setup.exe additionally loads WinMM.dll,
SAMCli.dll, MSACM32.dll, SFC.dll, SFC_OS.dll, DWMAPI.dll and


1. DUMP all those forever vulnerable executable installers and
self-extractors; provide an .MSI package or an .INF script plus
a .CAB archive instead!

2. NEVER use an unqualified filename to execute/load an application
or a DLL, ALWAYS specify their fully qualified pathname!


1. DON'T execute executable self-extractors.

2. NEVER execute executable self-extractors with administrative

3. extract the payload of the self-extractor with a SAFE and SECURE
unzip.exe into a properly protected directory.

4. exercise STRICT privilege separation: use separate unprivileged
user accounts and privileged administrator account, DISABLE the
"security theatre" UAC in the unprivileged user accounts.

stay tuned
Stefan Kanthak

PS: the "portable executable" IPDT_Installer_4.1.024.exe has an
export directory, but does NOT export any symbols: both the
numbers of names and functions are 0, and the RVAs of the
functions, names and ordinals arrays are 0 too.


2018-03-28 sent vulnerability report to <>

no reply, not even an acknowledgement of receipt

2018-04-05 resent vulnerability report to <>,

no reply, not even an acknowledgement of receipt

2018-05-03 resent vulnerability report via HackerOne

2018-05-04 Intel acknowledges receipt

2018-05-17 Intel confirms the reported vulnerabilities

2018-05-21 Intel publishes fixed installers, with a dangling
reference to SA-00140 in the release notes, plus
inaccuracies regarding the dependencies of IPDT

NO notification sent to me that fixes have been

2018-06-05 sent report about the errors in the release notes
after stumbling over the fixes

2018-06-12 Intel acknowledges the report regarding the notes

2018-06-27 Intel publishes their advisory SA-00140

AGAIN no notification sent that the advisory has
been published!
Intel's understanding of coordinated disclosure
looks rather weird to me.


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