Modern rootkits have moved their focus on the exploitation of dynamic memory structures, which allows them to tamper with the behavior of the system without modifying or injecting any additional code. In this paper we discuss a new class of Direct Kernel Object Manipulation (DKOM) attacks that we call Evolutionary DKOM (E-DKOM). The goal of this attack is to alter the way some data structures “evolve” over time. As case study, we designed and implemented an instance of Evolutionary DKOM attack that targets the OS scheduler for both userspace programs and kernel threads. Moreover, we discuss the implementation of a hypervisor-based data protection system that mimics the behavior of an OS component (in our case the scheduling system) and detect any unauthorized modification. We finally discuss the challenges related to the design of a general detection system for this class of attacks.
Graziano, M., Flore, L., Lanzi, A., & Balzarotti, D. (2016). Subverting operating system properties through evolutionary DKOM attacks. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) (Vol. 9721, pp. 3–24). Springer Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-40667-1_1