SecurAble Status Report

Gang,

I wanted to check-in after just finishing recording two SN 
episodes (71 & 72) with Leo for the holidays, and before I
make a new cup of coffee and plow back into SecurAble ...

SecurAble's kernel-mode driver is up and running, loading and 
unloading nicely on the fly, and leaving no debris or trail 
behind.

But the Windows' kernel has been somewhat deliberately crashing 
over and over for the past day.  By "somewhat deliberately" I 
should explain that while I am wishing that it weren't so, I 
need to do it deliberately while I'm trying to nail down the 
details of getting the kernel's Structured Exception Handling 
(SEH) system to work under Assembly Language in the kernel.

It turns out that not only must all access to the chip's MSRs 
(model specific registers) be conducted from ring zero, but any 
attempt to access a non-existent MSR will result in a General 
Protection fault -- and crash the system.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that there are 
scores of MSRs allocated sparsely with them defined in some 
chips and not in others.  So there's no clean algorithmic means 
to determine which MSRs are valid for which chips and which are 
not.

Consequently, I'm hoping that I'll be able to use the kernel's 
built-in structured exception handling facility to create a safe 
containment system that will be able to "catch" my own General 
Protection exceptions without causing Windows to spontaneously 
collapse and die.  (Which would generally be considered ill-
behaving.) It doesn't even blue-screen, it just collapses and 
reboots!

:)

I have my own SEH system working elegantly and cleanly in user-
mode.  I'm able to deliberately write to a NULL pointer, divide 
by zero -- or even read a legal or illegal MSR register from 
user-mode -- and catch any of those events benignly.  The kernel 
offers a similar system ... though I haven't nailed down the 
details yet.

Note that having this technology will also be important for the 
follow-on "inDEPth" research and verification utility, since 
I'll be wanting that utility to proactively try executing code 
from the stack, the heap, etc. in both user-mode and in the 
kernel.  And ... it would be much better if doing so did not 
spontaneously collapse the system.  <g>

Anyway ... you all know how I love venturing into uncharted 
waters that I've never had the occasion to explore before, so 
I'm having the time of my life.  Once I'm able to catch my own 
deliberate kernel missteps without crashing Windows I'll have 
everything in place to add a cool MSR and CPUID dumping facility 
to SecurAble ... and work to wrap up this first of our two new 
security research tools.

-- 
________________________________________________________________
Steve.

 --------------------------------------------------------------
 During the development of "SecurAble" the current release will
 always be located:  http://www.GRC.com/miscfiles/SecurAble.exe
 --------------------------------------------------------------
0
Steve
12/18/2006 9:26:56 PM
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Hi Steve,

I realise you have a new 'bee in your bonnet' and am following 
developments with great interest, but would you please soon return to 
the site update and full page text search that seemed so close to 
becoming a reality before your recent sabatical?


-- 

BullBar 

0
Bullbar
12/18/2006 9:39:42 PM
[for the unabridged version, see Bullbar's post above]

> I realise you have a new 'bee in your bonnet'...

Indeed.  That'll be more clear also after this week's SN podcast 
where I talk about what we're all learning during the SecurAble 
development.

> ... and am following developments with great interest, ...

I'm glad.

> ... but would you please soon return to the site update and
> full page text search that seemed so close to becoming a
> reality before your recent sabatical?

Yes.  I very much want to do that.  I'm also annoyed by the fact 
that the site-wide menuing was put on hold, along with the site-
side and newsgroups search.  I think they need to be the next 
things I do once SecurAble and inDEPth are added to GRC's new 
list of growing freeware security that's not about fixing 
problems with Windows.  :)

-- 
________________________________________________________________
Steve.

 --------------------------------------------------------------
 During the development of "SecurAble" the current release will
 always be located:  http://www.GRC.com/miscfiles/SecurAble.exe
 --------------------------------------------------------------
0
Steve
12/18/2006 10:35:55 PM
[for the unabridged version, see Steve Gibson's post above]

Gang,

I have very slick assembly-based SEH all worked out now and 
running at ring zero in the kernel. So I can safely scan all 
possible MSRs, blithely generating gobs of general protection 
faults, while having the kernel turn their handling over to
me to accept and ignore.

As I wrote before, SA will normally only use this to quickly 
determine whether the BIOS (or anyone else) has disabled or is 
masking any useful features of the processor ... but inDEPth 
will make extensive use of this for safely testing and verifying 
the operating system's active enforcement of DEP both in user 
space and in the kernel.  This is going to be some nifty stuff.

Buff-oflow ?

:)~

-- 
________________________________________________________________
Steve.

 --------------------------------------------------------------
 During the development of "SecurAble" the current release will
 always be located:  http://www.GRC.com/miscfiles/SecurAble.exe
 --------------------------------------------------------------
0
Steve
12/18/2006 10:45:16 PM
On Mon, 18 Dec 2006 14:45:16 -0800, Steve Gibson wrote:

> Buff-oflow ?

Buffy Does Ring Zero? :-)

-- 
Bob Trevithick
Reg. Linux User #426103

0
Bob
12/18/2006 11:16:41 PM
Steve Gibson wrote:
> Gang,
>
> I wanted to check-in after just finishing recording two SN
> episodes (71 & 72) with Leo for the holidays, and before I
> make a new cup of coffee and plow back into SecurAble ...
>
<snipped>

Steve,

FWIW

I have just purchased a few bits to make a nice new system.

I can tell you that Securable runs on 64bit Vista with a "64 Yes Yes"
output.

Just loading up the 32 bit version to have a play with that.

There is also something in the BIOS that does the NX bits - still getting to
grips with the whole thing though but I like the Aero interface, I get a
rating of 5.3 and its the CPU that is the slowest all the rest are 5.6 -
5.9. (need to buy more cheese for the mice me thinks...:-) )

I think also there are some interesting things with disks on this mother
board which *may* give Spinrite some headaches. It certainly gives Vista
one - when it says it cannot find a disk to install on - yet it sees all 4
in the installation screen and I can create a partition and format it. AHCI
and Native SATA Support and my partition management programs can only see 2
of the 4 disks.

-- 
Regards

Ray



0
RayG
12/19/2006 12:02:18 AM
On Mon, 18 Dec 2006 14:35:55 -0800, Steve Gibson wrote:

>...GRC's new list of growing freeware security that's not 
>about fixing problems with Windows

New direction for GRC?

-- 
js
0
john
12/19/2006 12:02:40 AM
Steve Gibson wrote:

> Anyway ... you all know how I love venturing into uncharted 
> waters that I've never had the occasion to explore before, so 
> I'm having the time of my life.  Once I'm able to catch my own 
> deliberate kernel missteps without crashing Windows I'll have 
> everything in place to add a cool MSR and CPUID dumping facility 
> to SecurAble ... and work to wrap up this first of our two new 
> security research tools.

Mark Russinovitch  posted in the Sysinternals blog a while back about 
getting Windows to boot and run with *no* services running.  MS swore 
blind that wasn't *possible*.  Mark could only say "Look..."

Granted you couldn't *do* much with it, but it would boot and run.

I foresee moments like that in SecurAble and InDepth development... :)
______
Dennis


--
"A problem is an opportunity to do your best." -- Duke Ellington
0
Dennis
12/19/2006 12:22:43 AM
[for the unabridged version, see RayG's post above]

> I have just purchased a few bits to make a nice new system.
> 
> I can tell you that Securable runs on 64bit Vista with a
> "64 Yes Yes" output.

That's way cool.  I'll be *very* curious to see how the next 
release works ... which will be bringing along a kernel driver.

:)

> Just loading up the 32 bit version to have a play with that.
> 
> There is also something in the BIOS that does the NX bits
> - still getting to grips with the whole thing though but I
> like the Aero interface, I get a rating of 5.3 and its the
> CPU that is the slowest all the rest are 5.6 - 5.9. (need
> to buy more cheese for the mice me thinks...:-) )

re: Aero, as you probably know, I can do without the gratuitous 
blur ... but overall I agree that it's very pretty.


> I think also there are some interesting things with disks on
> this mother board which *may* give Spinrite some headaches.

Yikes ... sounds like it!

-- 
________________________________________________________________
Steve.

 --------------------------------------------------------------
 During the development of "SecurAble" the current release will
 always be located:  http://www.GRC.com/miscfiles/SecurAble.exe
 --------------------------------------------------------------
0
Steve
12/19/2006 2:19:59 AM
[for the unabridged version, see Dennis McCunney's post above]

> I foresee moments like that in SecurAble and InDepth development... :)

Yep ... I think we have some fun and interesting exploration in 
store.

-- 
________________________________________________________________
Steve.

 --------------------------------------------------------------
 During the development of "SecurAble" the current release will
 always be located:  http://www.GRC.com/miscfiles/SecurAble.exe
 --------------------------------------------------------------
0
Steve
12/19/2006 2:20:40 AM
[for the unabridged version, see john .s. smith's post above]

> > ...GRC's new list of growing freeware security that's not 
> > about fixing problems with Windows
> 
> New direction for GRC?

Yes ... and a deliberate directional change, mostly because I 
expect to have fewer of the "old style" things to fix in the 
future of XP and Vista.

I look at how many copies of good old "Leaktest" have been 
downloaded (6,481,350) with 1,103 downloads per day -- even now! 
And I imagine that security testing and verification utilities 
like SecurAble and inDEPth will be very welcome additions.

-- 
________________________________________________________________
Steve.

 --------------------------------------------------------------
 During the development of "SecurAble" the current release will
 always be located:  http://www.GRC.com/miscfiles/SecurAble.exe
 --------------------------------------------------------------
0
Steve
12/19/2006 2:24:20 AM
[see above post(s) for full context]
Steve Gibson wrote ...

> And I imagine that security testing and verification utilities 
> like SecurAble and inDEPth will be very welcome additions.

Absolutely!  What you always do ... help make the complex useable for 
the rest of us! :)

-- 
Terry //
0
Terry
12/19/2006 2:47:50 AM
[for the unabridged version, see Terry L. Webb's post above]

> > And I imagine that security testing and verification utilities 
> > like SecurAble and inDEPth will be very welcome additions.
> 
> Absolutely!  What you always do ... help make the complex
> useable for the rest of us! :)

.... and I hope, share a truly interesting and unique ride with 
those people here who are intrigued by participating in the 
creation of interesting new bits of technology.

-- 
________________________________________________________________
Steve.

 --------------------------------------------------------------
 During the development of "SecurAble" the current release will
 always be located:  http://www.GRC.com/miscfiles/SecurAble.exe
 --------------------------------------------------------------
0
Steve
12/19/2006 5:07:18 AM
Steve Gibson wrote:
> [for the unabridged version, see Terry L. Webb's post above]

>>>And I imagine that security testing and verification utilities 
>>>like SecurAble and inDEPth will be very welcome additions.

>>Absolutely!  What you always do ... help make the complex
>>useable for the rest of us! :)

> ... and I hope, share a truly interesting and unique ride with 
> those people here who are intrigued by participating in the 
> creation of interesting new bits of technology.

No need to 'hope'. We're here -for- that ride. =) Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

-- 
____________                                                       _
,_ _  _| _  _|_   _ ,__   Merry Christmas *+*+*+*+* Happy New Year  |
| | |(_|(/_(_| |o(_)|(_|  +*+*+*+*+*+*+* THINK SNOW *+*+*+*+*+*+*+  |
mc at mctech dot org __|  Make Your Phone a NuFone ---- NuFone.net _|
0
MicroChip
12/19/2006 10:11:06 AM
[for the unabridged version, see john .s. smith's post above]

> > ...GRC's new list of growing freeware security that's
> > not about fixing problems with Windows
> 
> New direction for GRC?

Other examples of this "new direction" for GRC's free utilities 
will be things like the DNSRU and LanSlide utilities which I'm 
finally going to get completed. (After the site-wide menuing and 
search are completed.)

-- 
________________________________________________________________
Steve.

 --------------------------------------------------------------
 During the development of "SecurAble" the current release will
 always be located:  http://www.GRC.com/miscfiles/SecurAble.exe
 --------------------------------------------------------------
0
Steve
12/19/2006 6:01:28 PM
Steve Gibson wrote:

> [for the unabridged version, see john .s. smith's post above]
> 
> 
>>>...GRC's new list of growing freeware security that's
>>>not about fixing problems with Windows
>>
>>New direction for GRC?

> Other examples of this "new direction" for GRC's free utilities 
> will be things like the DNSRU and LanSlide utilities which I'm 
> finally going to get completed. (After the site-wide menuing and 
> search are completed.)

And openvpn docs ? *ducks*

-- 
____________                                                       _
,_ _  _| _  _|_   _ ,__   Merry Christmas *+*+*+*+* Happy New Year  |
| | |(_|(/_(_| |o(_)|(_|  +*+*+*+*+*+*+* THINK SNOW *+*+*+*+*+*+*+  |
mc at mctech dot org __|  Make Your Phone a NuFone ---- NuFone.net _|
0
MicroChip
12/19/2006 6:10:08 PM
MicroChip wrote:
> Steve Gibson wrote:
> 
>> [for the unabridged version, see john .s. smith's post above]
>>
>>
>>>> ...GRC's new list of growing freeware security that's
>>>> not about fixing problems with Windows
>>>
>>> New direction for GRC?
> 
>> Other examples of this "new direction" for GRC's free utilities will 
>> be things like the DNSRU and LanSlide utilities which I'm finally 
>> going to get completed. (After the site-wide menuing and search are 
>> completed.)
> 
> And openvpn docs ? *ducks*
> 
and SpinRite docs?   <gdr....fast!>
0
Albert
12/19/2006 6:25:21 PM
In grc.thinktank Albert Gerhold wrote:

> MicroChip wrote:
>> Steve Gibson wrote:
>> 
>>> [for the unabridged version, see john .s. smith's post above]
 
>>>>> ...GRC's new list of growing freeware security that's
>>>>> not about fixing problems with Windows
>>>>
>>>> New direction for GRC?
>> 
>>> Other examples of this "new direction" for GRC's free
>>> utilities will be things like the DNSRU and LanSlide utilities
>>> which I'm finally going to get completed. (After the site-wide
>>> menuing and search are completed.)
>> 
>> And openvpn docs ? *ducks*
>> 
> and SpinRite docs?   <gdr....fast!>

And if we keep going we will come up with the "101 projects most 
wanted." listing. <G>

BTW SG already said that SR docs will by now have to wait for the 
next developement cycle, whenever that might be.  :(
0
Mark
12/19/2006 6:31:09 PM
Mark V wrote:

> And if we keep going we will come up with the "101 projects most 
> wanted." listing. <G>

I think there's more than 101 projects already on his list. I keep 
waiting for him to announce he's decided to make cloning research his 
priority. =)

 > BTW SG already said that SR docs will by now have to wait for the
 > next developement cycle, whenever that might be.  :(

I must have missed that post. Oh well, Ive pretty much figured out what 
I needed to know for it. I have most of the company networked over a 
multi-segment vpn, with some segments having other non-vpn segments 
behind them, with some of said non-vpn segments being piped thru the vpn 
to the internet, and others not, and ... yes, its wild, with one non-vpn 
segment being a whole 6 layers of NAT from the internet ... but it works :)

-- 
____________                                                       _
,_ _  _| _  _|_   _ ,__   Merry Christmas *+*+*+*+* Happy New Year  |
| | |(_|(/_(_| |o(_)|(_|  +*+*+*+*+*+*+* THINK SNOW *+*+*+*+*+*+*+  |
mc at mctech dot org __|  Make Your Phone a NuFone ---- NuFone.net _|
0
MicroChip
12/19/2006 8:18:47 PM
MicroChip wrote:
> Mark V wrote:
> 
>> And if we keep going we will come up with the "101 projects most 
>> wanted." listing. <G>
> 
> 
> I think there's more than 101 projects already on his list. I keep 
> waiting for him to announce he's decided to make cloning research his 
> priority. =)
> 
>  > BTW SG already said that SR docs will by now have to wait for the
>  > next developement cycle, whenever that might be.  :(
> 

IIRC the tentative date for SR 6.1 was mid 2006! Not many coding days 
left...................

AlanD
0
AlanD
12/19/2006 9:09:13 PM
Steve Gibson wrote:
> It doesn't even blue-screen, it just collapses and 
> reboots!

And it can't even be forced to BSOD by
Control Panel > System > Advanced > Startup and Recovery Settings > 
System Failure > uncheck Automatically restart?
0
Mike
12/19/2006 9:23:57 PM
On Tue, 19 Dec 2006 13:31:09 -0500, Mark V wrote:

> BTW SG already said that SR docs will by now have to wait for the 
> next developement cycle, whenever that might be.  :(

I'll bet Greg has a list of common issues to refer to when he gets help
calls.  Maybe he'd be willing to post them somewhere.  The only docs
SpinRite really needs are probably already in Greg's notes.  It would just
be a FAQ.. what to do if "x" happens.  May need some formatting,
but I, and I'm sure others, would be happy to lend a hand with that.  Hmm?

-- 
Bob Trevithick
Reg. Linux User #426103

0
Bob
12/19/2006 9:31:21 PM
[for the unabridged version, see Mike Meyer's post above]

> > It doesn't even blue-screen, it just collapses and 
> > reboots!
> 
> And it can't even be forced to BSOD by Control Panel > System
> > Advanced > Startup and Recovery Settings > 
> System Failure > uncheck Automatically restart?

Nope.  That's the way I have all my systems configured already.

But I've got that nailed now.  :)

-- 
________________________________________________________________
Steve.

 --------------------------------------------------------------
 During the development of "SecurAble" the current release will
 always be located:  http://www.GRC.com/miscfiles/SecurAble.exe
 --------------------------------------------------------------
0
Steve
12/21/2006 7:13:20 PM
Reply:

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