When calling CreateProcess internally it will call (obviously ZwCreateProcessEx and then) ZwCreateThread with a CreateSuspended set to True, then i assume final initialization is taking place. Afterwards it is calling ZwResumeThread and then everything is working as it should.

My question is focused on the ZwCreateThread function: http://undocumented.ntinternals.net/index.html?page=UserMode%2FUndocumented%20Functions%2FNT%20Objects%2FThread%2FNtCreateThread.html

Where exactly in this whole CreateProcess Routine, it is allocating the memory in the remote process for the ThreadStartRoutine Parameter, which in the ZwCreateThread, is the parameter ThreadContext->EAX, i have seen a couple of NtAllocateVirtualMemory with Protect of value PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE - 0x40 but none of them is allocating the memory for the NewThreadRoutine.. so where exactly the Thread entrypoint is being allocated?


Disclaimer: The implementation of these APIs is likely to change between versions of Windows. I will be referencing 32-bit Windows XP SP3 in my answer. Your results may vary.

How thread creation works

There are three structures that must be initialized before calling NtCreateThread:

  1. INITIAL_TEB: Contains pointers to the stack region
  2. CONTEXT: Contains the register state
  3. OBJECT_ATTRIBUTES: Contains security attributes for the thread

In my implementation, there are dedicated functions that handle each of these tasks: BaseCreateStack, BaseInitializeContext, and BaseFormatObjectAttributes, respectively.

The BaseInitializeContext function is the one you're interested in, however, since the new thread will begin at CONTEXT.Eip.

Interestingly, BaseInitializeContext instead puts the thread's start address (i.e. the entry point of the new process) in CONTEXT.Eax. And CONTEXT.Eip is set to the address of BaseProcessStartThunk. (Since kernel32 is mapped at the same address in every process, we know this will also be the address of BaseProcessStartThunk in the other process)

So when we call NtCreateThread, we start a new thread in the other process at BaseProcessStartThunk with eax equal to the entry point.

BaseProcessStartThunk saves the start address from register eax. It sets the start address internally by calling NtSetInformationThread with a ThreadInformationClass of ThreadQuerySetWin32StartAddress (see ntddk.h). It then calls the start address. Finally, when the thread returns, it calls ExitThread.

How the executable image is mapped into the new process

If you want to know the process was created in the first place, we have to go back a few steps.

First, a handle to the new process executable is opened via NtOpenFile.

The file handle is used to create a section object via NtCreateSection.

A call to NtQuerySection with InformationClass set to SectionImageInformation is made. This parses the the section object and fills out a SECTION_IMAGE_INFORMATION structure, which most notably includes fields the EntryPoint field. This is how the entry point of the new process is determined.

Eventually, NtCreateProcessEx is called, given the section handle from NtCreateSection as a parameter. This is what actually creates the new process and maps the executable image into the new process' address space, among many other things. NtCreateProcessEx also provides the process handle that we pass to NtCreateThread to create the new thread.

  • 1
    this is hilarious, microsoft were the first to implement injection methods ;) – RE-Beginner Jun 18 '16 at 12:14

Ok so ZwCreateThread has it in the context structure (PCONTEXT + 0xB0)

The api calls to receive the address are like this: CreateSection(..SectionInformation..) - Probably to create to initial address

NtQuerySection(Handle, x, SectionInformation, x, x)

This SectionInformation is containing the address of the EntryPoint of the remote process, later initializing the ThreadContext with the function _BaseInitializeContext@20 and then using ZwCreateThread...

This was all checked under windows xp, hopefully it will be of use for someone

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.