Modern exploits for Windows-based platforms require modern bypass methods to circumvent Microsoft’s defenses. In Advanced Windows Exploitation (EXP-401), OffSec challenges students to develop creative solutions that work in today’s increasingly difficult exploitation environment.
The case studies in AWE are large, well-known applications that are widely deployed in enterprise networks. The course dives deep into topics ranging from security mitigation bypass techniques to complex heap manipulations and 64-bit kernel exploitation.
AWE is a particularly demanding penetration testing course. It requires a significant amount of student-instructor interaction. Therefore, we limit AWE courses to a live, hands-on environment.
This is the hardest course OffSec offer and it requires a significant time investment. Students need to commit to reading case studies and reviewing the provided reading material each evening.
Students should be experienced in developing windows exploits and understand how to operate a debugger. Familiarity with WinDBG, x86_64 assembly, IDA Pro and basic C/C++ programming is highly recommended. A willingness to work and put in real effort will greatly help students succeed in this security training course.
- Bypass and evasion of user mode security mitigations such as DEP, ASLR, CFG, ACG and CET
- Advanced heap manipulations to obtain code execution along with guest-to-host and sandbox escapes
- Disarming WDEG mitigations and creating version independence for weaponization
- 64-Bit Windows Kernel Driver reverse engineering and vulnerability discovery
- Bypass of kernel mode security mitigations such as kASLR, NX, SMEP, SMAP, kCFG and HVCI
2 Custom Shellcode Creation
- 2.1 64-bit Architecture
- 2.1.1 64-bit Memory Enhancements
- 2.1.2 Calling Conventions
- 2.1.3 Win32 APIs
- 2.2 Writing Exploit Code
- 2.2.1 Position-Independent-Code
- 2.2.2 Visual Studio
- 2.3 Shellcode Framework Creation
- 2.3.1 Finding KERNEL32.DLL Base Address: PEB Method
- 2.3.2 Resolving Symbols: Export Directory Table Method
- 2.3.3 Fetching Function’s VMA
- 2.4 Reverse Shell
- 2.4.1 Create a Connection
- 2.4.2 Launch the Shell
- 2.5 Wrapping Up
3 VMware Workstation Guest-To-Host Escape
- 3.1 Vulnerability Classes
- 3.2 Data Execution Prevention (DEP)
- 3.2.1 DEP Theory
- 3.2.2 Ret2Lib Attacks and Their Evolution
- 3.2.3 Return Oriented Programming
- 3.2.4 Locating Gadgets: rp++
- 3.3 Address Space Layout Randomization
- 3.4 VMware Workstation Internals
- 3.4.1 VMware Backdoor RPC Guest-to-Host Communication
- 3.4.2 Backdoor_InOut
- 3.4.3 Opening a RPC Communication Channel
- 3.4.4 Sending the Command Data
- 3.4.5 Receiving the Reply
- 3.4.6 Closing the RPC Communication Channel
- 3.5 UaF Case Study: VMware Workstation Drag & Drop Vulnerability
- 3.6 The Windows Heap Memory Manager
- 3.6.1 Front-End Allocator
- 3.6.2 Back-End Allocator
- 3.7 Low Fragmentation Heap
- 3.7.1 LFH Architecture
- 3.7.2 LFH Logic
- 3.8 UaF Case Study: Triggering the Bug
- 3.9 UaF Case Study: A Deeper Look at the Bug
- 3.10 UaF Case Study: Reallocation Control
- 3.10.1 guest.upgrader_send_cmd_line_args
- 3.10.2 The NULL Byte Issue
- 3.11 UaF Case Study: Fake Virtual Table
- 3.12 UaF Case Study: ROP Storage
- 3.12.1 unity.window.contents.start : Locating the Function
- 3.12.2 unity.window.contents.start : Arg Processing
- 3.12.3 unity.window.contents.chunk : Expanded Data Storage
- 3.13 UaF Case Study: Bypassing ASLR
- 3.13.1 Hunting for Pointers
- 3.14 UaF Case Study: Stack Pivoting
- 3.15 UaF Case Study: Defeating DEP
- 3.15.1 GetModuleHandle ROP Chain
- 3.15.2 GetProcAddress ROP Chain
- 3.15.3 WriteProcessMemory ROP Chain
- 3.16 Restoring the Execution Flow
- 3.17 Executing Shellcode
- 3.18 Windows Defender Exploit Guard
- 3.19 Testing the WDEG Protections
- 3.19.1 The Ghost of ASLR Returns
- 3.20 ROP Mitigations
- 3.20.1 Disarming WDEG: Theory
- 3.20.2 Disabling WDEG: Practice
- 3.20.3 Defeating EAF
- 3.21 Wrapping Up
4 Microsoft Edge Type Confusion
- 4.1 Edge Internals
- 4.1.2 Chakra Internals
- 4.1.3 JIT and Type Confusion
- 4.2 Type Confusion Case Study
- 4.2.1 Triggering the Vulnerability
- 4.2.2 Root Cause Analysis
- 4.3 Exploiting Type Confusion
- 4.3.1 Controlling the auxSlots Pointer
- 4.3.2 Abuse AuxSlots Pointer
- 4.3.3 Create Read and Write Primitive
- 4.4 Going for RIP
- 4.4.1 Vanilla Attack
- 4.4.2 CFG Internals
- 4.5 CFG Bypass
- 4.5.1 Return Address Overwrite
- 4.5.2 Intel CET
- 4.5.3 Out-of-Context Calls
- 4.6 Data Only Attack
- 4.6.1 Parallel DLL Loading
- 4.6.2 Injecting Fake Work
- 4.6.3 Faking the Work
- 4.6.4 Hot Patching DLLs
- 4.7 Arbitrary Code Guard (ACG)
- 4.7.1 ACG Theory
- 4.7.2 ACG Bypasses
- 4.8 Advanced Out-of-Context Calls
- 4.8.1 Faking it to Make it
- 4.8.2 Fixing the Crash
- 4.9 Remote Procedure Calls
- 4.9.1 RPC Theory
- 4.9.2 Is That My Structure
- 4.9.3 Analyzing the Buffers
- 4.9.4 Calling an API
- 4.9.5 Return of Mitigations
- 4.10 Perfecting Out-of-Context Calls
- 4.10.2 Return Value Alignment
- 4.10.3 Call Me Again
- 4.11 Combining the Work
- 4.11.1 NOP’ing CFG
- 4.11.2 Call Arbitrary API
- 4.12 Browser Sandbox
- 4.12.1 Sandbox Theory Introduction
- 4.12.2 Sandbox Escape Theory
- 4.12.3 The Glue That Binds
- 4.13 Sandbox Escape Practice
- 4.13.1 Insecure Access
- 4.13.2 The Problem of Languages
- 4.14 The Great Escape
- 4.14.1 Activation Factory
- 4.14.2 GetTemplateContent
- 4.14.3 What Is As?
- 4.14.4 Loading the XML
- 4.14.5 Allowing Scripts
- 4.14.6 Pop That Notepad
- 4.14.7 Getting a Shell
- 4.15 Upping The Game - Making the Exploit Version Independent
- 4.15.1 Locating the Base
- 4.15.2 Locating Internal Functions and Imports
- 4.15.3 Locating Exported Functions
- 4.16 Wrapping Up
5 Driver Callback Overwrite
- 5.1 The Windows Kernel
- 5.1.1 Privilege Levels
- 5.1.2 Interrupt Request Level (IRQL)
- 5.2 Kernel-Mode Debugging on Windows
- 5.2.1 Remote Kernel Debugging Over TCP/IP
- 5.2.2 Remote Kernel Debugging Over Serial Ports
- 5.2.3 Local Kernel Debugging Through VMware (VirtualKD)
- 5.3 Communicating with the Kernel
- 5.3.1 Native System Calls
- 5.3.2 Device Drivers
- 5.4 Windows Kernel Security Mitigations
- 5.5 Vulnerability Classes
- 5.6 Kernel-Mode Shellcode
- 5.6.1 Token Stealing
- 5.6.2 ACL NULL-ing / Editing
- 5.6.3 Rookits
- 5.7 Vulnerability Overview and Exploitation
- 5.7.1 Triggering the Vulnerability
- 5.7.2 Controlling the Callback Context
- 5.7.3 Redirecting Execution to Usermode
- 5.7.4 SMEP Says Hello
- 5.7.5 Introduction to Memory Paging and Structures
- 5.7.6 The PML4 Self-Reference Entry
- 5.7.7 PML4 Self-Reference Entry Randomization
- 5.8 ROP-Based Attack
- 5.8.1 Stack Pivoting
- 5.8.2 Kernel Read/Write Primitive
- 5.8.3 Restoring the Execution Flow
- 5.8.4 Leaking Virtual PTE Start
- 5.8.5 Flipping U/S Bit
- 5.8.6 Meltdown and KVA Shadow
- 5.8.7 Flipping the PML4 EXB Bit
- 5.8.8 Token Stealing
- 5.9 Version Independence
- 5.9.1 Dynamic Gadget Location
- 5.10 Wrapping Up
6 Unsanitized User-mode Callback
- 6.1 Windows Desktop Applications
- 6.1.1 Windows Kernel Pool Memory
- 6.1.2 Creating Windows Desktop Applications
- 6.1.3 Reversing the TagWND Object
- 6.1.4 Kernel User-mode Callbacks
- 6.1.5 Leaking pWND User-Mode Objects
- 6.2 Triggering the Vulnerability
- 6.2.1 Spraying the Desktop Heap
- 6.2.2 Hooking the Callback
- 6.2.3 Arbitrary WndExtra Overwrite
- 6.3 TagWND Write Primitive
- 6.3.1 Overwrite pWND.cbWndExtra
- 6.3.2 Overwrite pWND.WndExtra
- 6.4 TagWND Leak and Read Primitive
- 6.4.1 Changing pWND.dwStyle
- 6.4.2 Setting The TagWND.spmenu
- 6.4.3 Creating a fake TagWND.spmenu
- 6.4.4 GetMenuBarInfo Read Primitive
- 6.5 Privilege Escalation
- 6.5.1 Low integrity
- 6.6 Virtualization-Based Security
- 6.6.1 Windows Hypervisor Theory
- 6.6.2 Windows Hypervisor Debugging
- 6.6.3 Data Only Attack
- 6.6.4 Restoring The Execution Flow
- 6.7 Executing Code in Kernel-Mode
- 6.7.1 Leaking Nt and Win32k Base
- 6.7.2 NOP-ing kCFG
- 6.7.3 Hijacking a Kernel-Mode Routine
- 6.7.4 Wrapping Up
The OSEE is the most difficult exploit development certification you can earn. We recommend completing the 300-level certifications before registering for this course.
Students who complete EXP-401 and pass the exam will earn the Offensive Security Exploitation Expert (OSEE) certification. The OSEE exam assesses not only the course content, but also the ability to think laterally and adapt to new challenges.
The virtual lab environment has a limited number of target systems. The software within contains specific, unknown vulnerabilities. Students have 72 hours to develop and document exploits. The exam requires a stable, high-speed internet connection.
You must submit a comprehensive penetration test report as part of the exam. It should contain in-depth notes and screenshots detailing the steps taken and the exploit methods used.
Learn more about the OSEE Exam here.
OSEEs can analyse vulnerable software, find problematic code, and develop a functioning exploit for various modern Windows operating systems.
Cyber Security learning paths
Want to boost your career in cyber security? Click on the roles below to see QA's learning pathways, specially designed to give you the skills to succeed.
Frequently asked questionsSee all of our FAQs
How can I create an account on myQA.com?
There are a number of ways to create an account. If you are a self-funder, simply select the "Create account" option on the login page.
If you have been booked onto a course by your company, you will receive a confirmation email. From this email, select "Sign into myQA" and you will be taken to the "Create account" page. Complete all of the details and select "Create account".
If you have the booking number you can also go here and select the "I have a booking number" option. Enter the booking reference and your surname. If the details match, you will be taken to the "Create account" page from where you can enter your details and confirm your account.
Find more answers to frequently asked questions in our FAQs: Bookings & Cancellations page.
How do QA’s virtual classroom courses work?
Our virtual classroom courses allow you to access award-winning classroom training, without leaving your home or office. Our learning professionals are specially trained on how to interact with remote attendees and our remote labs ensure all participants can take part in hands-on exercises wherever they are.
We use the WebEx video conferencing platform by Cisco. Before you book, check that you meet the WebEx system requirements and run a test meeting (more details in the link below) to ensure the software is compatible with your firewall settings. If it doesn’t work, try adjusting your settings or contact your IT department about permitting the website.
Learn more about our Virtual Classrooms.
How do QA’s online courses work?
QA online courses, also commonly known as distance learning courses or elearning courses, take the form of interactive software designed for individual learning, but you will also have access to full support from our subject-matter experts for the duration of your course. When you book a QA online learning course you will receive immediate access to it through our e-learning platform and you can start to learn straight away, from any compatible device. Access to the online learning platform is valid for one year from the booking date.
All courses are built around case studies and presented in an engaging format, which includes storytelling elements, video, audio and humour. Every case study is supported by sample documents and a collection of Knowledge Nuggets that provide more in-depth detail on the wider processes.
Learn more about QA’s online courses.
When will I receive my joining instructions?
Joining instructions for QA courses are sent two weeks prior to the course start date, or immediately if the booking is confirmed within this timeframe. For course bookings made via QA but delivered by a third-party supplier, joining instructions are sent to attendees prior to the training course, but timescales vary depending on each supplier’s terms. Read more FAQs.
When will I receive my certificate?
Certificates of Achievement are issued at the end the course, either as a hard copy or via email. Read more here.