Monday, 6 September 2021

LowBox Token Permissive Learning Mode

I was recently asked about this topic and so I thought it'd make sense to put it into a public blog post so that everyone can benefit. Windows 11 (and Windows Server 2022) has a new feature for tokens which allow the kernel to perform the normal LowBox access check, but if it fails log the error rather than failing with access denied. 

This feature allows you to start an AppContainer sandbox process, run a task, and determine what parts of that would fail if you actually tried to sandbox a process. This makes it much easier to determine what capabilities you might need to grant to prevent your application from crashing if you tried to actually apply the sandbox. It's a very useful diagnostic tool, although whether it'll be documented by Microsoft remains to be seen. Let's go through a quick example of how to use it.

First you need to start an ETW trace for the Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-General provider with the KERNEL_GENERAL_SECURITY_ACCESSCHECK keyword (value 0x20) enabled. In an administrator PowerShell console you can run the following:

PS> $name = 'AccessTrace'
PS> New-NetEventSession -Name $name -LocalFilePath "$env:USERPROFILE\access_trace.etl" | Out-Null
PS> Add-NetEventProvider -SessionName $name -Name "Microsoft-Windows-Kernel-General" -MatchAllKeyword 0x20 | Out-Null
PS> Start-NetEventSession -Name $name

This will start the trace session and log the events to access_trace.etl file if your home directory. As this is ETW you could probably do a real-time trace or enable stack tracing to find out what code is actually failing, however for this example we'll do the least amount of work possible. This log is also used for things like Adminless which I've blogged about before.

Now you need to generate some log events. You just need to add the permissiveLearningMode capability when creating the lowbox token or process. You can almost certainly add it to your application's manifest as well when developing a sandboxed UWP application, but we'll assume here that we're setting up the sandbox manually.

PS> $cap = Get-NtSid -CapabilityName 'permissiveLearningMode'
PS> $token = Get-NtToken -LowBox -PackageSid ABC -CapabilitySid $cap
PS> Invoke-NtToken $token { "Hello" | Set-Content "$env:USERPOFILE\test.txt" }

The previous code creates a lowbox token with the capability and writes to a file in the user's profile. This would normally fail as the user's profile doesn't grant any AppContainer access to write to it. However, you should find the write succeeded. Now, back in the admin PowerShell console you'll want to stop the trace and cleanup the session.

PS> Stop-NetEventSession -Name $name
PS> Remove-NetEventSession -Name $name

You should find an access_trace.etl file in your user's profile directory which will contain the logged events. There are various ways to read this file, the simplest is to use the Get-WinEvent command. As you need to do a bit of parsing of the contents of the log to get out various values I've put together a simple script do that. It's available on github here. Just run the script passing the name of the log file to convert the events into PowerShell objects.

PS> parse_access_check_log.ps1 "$env:USERPROFILE\access_trace.etl"
ProcessName        : ...\v1.0\powershell.exe
Mask               : MaximumAllowed
PackageSid         : S-1-15-2-1445519891-4232675966-...
Groups             : INSIDERDEV\user
Capabilities       : NAMED CAPABILITIES\Permissive Learning Mode
SecurityDescriptor : O:BAG:BAD:(A;OICI;KA;;;S-1-5-21-623841239-...

The log events don't seem to contain the name of the resource being opened, but it does contain the security descriptor and type of the object, what access mask was requested and basic information about the access token used. Hopefully this information is useful to someone.