COM Hijacking for Lateral Movement

Hey all,

This post is about leveraging COM hijacking for lateral movement. I’m going to stay away from deep-diving COM internals as hijacking is not a new topic and has been explored by people far smarter than I, check out the references for awesome COM material. Instead, I’ll be taking a look at how tinkering with the registry and calling a COM object remotely (DCOM) can provide lateral movement options.

As a humble net-pen guy, I have to admit I haven’t encountered a target which monitors HKLM\..\CLSID, so I wanted to develop a tool which could explain the importance of doing so. Also, from an offsec standpoint, I like this approach as it provides the ability to live inside a legitimate process without dropping an executable to disk or using one of the “usual suspects” executables to kick off my session. However, there are two risks with using this type of approach: the modifications to the remote registry are clearly malicious and can leave a system in an non-operational state.

Furthermore, there are a ton of interesting use cases when tinkering with the AppID registry key as well. For example, setting RunAs to a different value might kick off our C2 session to a context of our choosing (Interactive User or SYSTEM). I’m hoping to explore this in future posts.


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