Process Hollowing

Process Hollowing is the technique in which we can modify the process before it starts executing.

By starting the process in Suspended mode using the CreateProcess API.

CreateProcess API

CreateProcess API will do 3 things before starting the execution of the binary

  1. It will allocate the virtual memory space for the new process

  2. It will allocate the stack along with TEB (Thread Environment Block) and PEB (Process Environment Block)

  3. It will loads the DLLs and the EXE to the memory.

Key points required for process hollowing

  1. zwqueryinformationprocess : It is a winapi call which can be used to retrieve information about the process.

NTSTATUS WINAPI ZwQueryInformationProcess(
  _In_      HANDLE           ProcessHandle,
  _In_      PROCESSINFOCLASS ProcessInformationClass,
  _Out_     PVOID            ProcessInformation,
  _In_      ULONG            ProcessInformationLength,
  _Out_opt_ PULONG           ReturnLength
  • ProcessHandle: Handle to the Process

  • ProcessInformationClass: Type of information to be retrieved from the process

  • ProcessInformation:

  • ProcessInformationLength:

  • ReturnLength:


We will select the ProcessBasicInformation which is 0 because we need the PEB address, the whole table is present here

We need PEB address because we can then find the base address of the executable, then it can be parsed in order to find the Entrypoint of the EXE.

WorkFlow (To find BaseAddress of executable)

ProcessInformationClass --> ProcessBasicInformation --> PEB address --> 0x10 bytes into PEB --> Base Address of Executable Reached 
  1. Now, We have the PEB address but we can not read it, because it's on a remote process. So in order to read it we can use ReadProcessMemory.


This will be used to read the contents of the PEB at offset of 0x10

PE File Structure (Read more at Here)

After reaching to the base address, we will read 0x200 bytes (using ReadProcessMemory) from the base address.

Workflow (To read the offset to e_lfanew)

By analysing these 0x200 bytes, we will find the address of e_lfanew at 0x3c offset from the base address of executable.

Base Address of Executable Reached  --> ReadProcessMemory --> 0x200 bytes  --> inspect the 0x200 memory space locally --> 0x3c from base address locally --> e_lfanew reached
  • e_lfanew: 4 byte offset which tells us where the PE header is located (offset to PE Header)

  • ADD the offset we got from e_lfanew to BaseAddress of executable

e_lfanew offset + base address of executable == PE Header memory address

Now we need to navigate to the AddressofEntryPoint which is 0x28 from the PE header location

PE Header memory address --> 0x28 --> AddressofEntryPoint (we got offset as its RVA)

AddressofEntryPoint (0x28 from PE Header)

Here we will get the RVA for Entrypoint of the application, and RVA is just an offset so it needs to be Added with the base address of the remote proccess to find the absolute virtual memory address.

Base Address of Executable Reached --> ADD RVA in it --> Base address of the entrypoint of application is reached.

Case Study

Steps before actual calculations

  1. Start the process in Suspended mode

  2. Use zwqueryinformationprocess to find the PEB Address

Now Actual Case Study

  • we have the PEB Address: 0x3004000

Task: Find the memory address of the entrypoint of the application

  1. We ADD 0x10 in PEB Address == (0x3004010) -> to find the Base Address of the executable, we read the value of the address above and it comes out as 0x7ffff01000000

  • Base Address of the Executable == 0x7ffff01000000

  1. Read the 0x200 bytes using ReadProcessMemory for inspecting locally

  2. Check the 0x3c location from Base Address of the Executable == 0x7ffff0100003c to find the e_lfanew header

  • e_lfanew header at 0x7ffff0100003c will give the offset to PE Header

  • PE Header the offset we got is 0x110

  1. Add the total offset bytes to the Base Address of the Executable -> 0x7ffff01000000 + 0x110 == 0x7ffff01000110

  • So PE Header is at 0x7ffff01000110

  1. From PE Header, we need to read 0x28 ahead in order to find the RVA for Entrypoint of the application

  • PE Header memory address + 0x28 -> 0x7ffff01000110 + 0x28 == 0x7ffff01000138

  • RVA memory address found (0x7ffff01000138)

  • So navigating to this address will lead us to the Entrypoint of the application

  1. Add the offset received from RVA to Base Address of the Executable

PEB Address -> base address of executable (0x10) -> e_lfanew (base address of executable + 0x3c) -> PE Header (offset got from e_lfanew + base address of executable) -> RVA to Application entry point (PE Header + 0x28 bytes)
  1. Now we just need to overwrite the memory space from this Base Address of the Executable with our shellcode to run it

Last updated