Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 incorrectly implement ASLR security feature

Costea Lestoc By: Costea Lestoc
2 minute read

Home » News » Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 incorrectly implement ASLR security feature

Windows Vista brought an interesting security feature called ASLR – Address Space Layout Randomization. This uses a random memory address to execute code, but in Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, it seems that this feature doesn’t always implement correctly.

According to a security analyst, in these three last versions of Windows, ASLR is not using random memory addresses. In other words, it’s useless.

How to implement ASLR manually

By executing code in a random location, ASLR helps protect against exploits that you try to take advantage of code that is executed in predictable or known memory addresses.

The problem appears when EMET or Windows Defender Exploit Guard is used to enable mandatory ASLR on a system-wide basis.

The security expert who studied the issue is Will Dormann, and he explains everything you need to know about the issue that comes because of a registry entry.

According to Dormann, both Windows Defender Exploit Guard and EMET enable system-wide ASLR without also enabling system-wide bottom-up ASLR.

Even if Windows Defender Exploit Guard has a system-wide option for system-wide bottom-up-ASLR, the default GUI value of “On by default” doesn’t reflect the underlying registry value.

This will lead to the fact that programs without /DYNAMICBASE to get relocated without an entropy. The programs will be transferred to the same address every time across reboots and across different systems.

The solution is that you have to create a .reg file with the following text:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\kernel]

“MitigationOptions”=hex:00,01,01,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,0,00,00

Then, you have to import this file into the Registry Editor, and everything should be sorted out.

Some users are stating that the problem stems from the EMET and its replacement which is a tool for sysadmins who “have too much time on their hands” and that was discontinued without a replacement. They don’t think that the problem is with the underlying ASLR system.

RELATED STORIES TO CHECK OUT:

Discussions

Next up

Here’s how to fix XAML Parse error once and for all

Johnny Williams avatar. By: Johnny Williams
3 minute read

XAML or Extensible Application Markup Language, is a language based on XML(Extensive Markup Language). Its use ranges from creating to initializing .NET objects. It’s primarily […]

Continue Reading

Windows 10 lets you specify deadlines for automatic updates and restarts

Rabia Noureen avatar. By: Rabia Noureen
2 minute read

Microsoft has announced a brand new Windows Update related Group Policy option for the upcoming Windows 10 v1903. The upcoming OS version will let users […]

Continue Reading

Project xCloud brings the Xbox pad to your phone screen

Matthew Adams By: Matthew Adams
2 minute read

Project xCloud is Microsoft’s new game-streaming service that the company is currently trialing. Microsoft showed off a streamed xCloud game on Xbox Insider. Now the […]

Continue Reading