$HELL ON EARTH: FROM BROWSER TO SYSTEM COMPROMISE presented at blackhatUS 2016

by Joshua Smith, Jasiel Spelman, Matt Molinyawe, Abdul-aziz Hariri,

Summary : The winning submissions to Pwn2Own 2016 provided unprecedented insight into the state of the art in software exploitation. Every successful submission provided remote code execution as the super user (SYSTEM/root) via the browser or a default browser plugin. In most cases, these privileges were attained by exploiting the Microsoft Windows or Apple OS X kernel. Kernel exploitation using the browser as an initial vector was a rare sight in previous contests.
This presentation will detail the eight winning browser to super user exploitation chains (21 total vulnerabilities) demonstrated at this year's Pwn2Own contest. We will cover topics such as modern browser exploitation, the complexity of kernel Use-After-Free exploitation, and the simplicity of exploiting logic errors and directory traversals in the kernel. We will analyze all attack vectors, root causes, exploitation techniques, and possible remediations for the vulnerabilities presented.
Reducing attack surfaces with application sandboxing is a step in the right direction, but the attack surface remains expansive and sandboxes are clearly still just a speed bump on the road to complete compromise. Kernel exploitation is clearly a problem which has not disappeared and is possibly on the rise. If you're like us, you can't get enough of it; it's shell on earth.