In this post, we will take an in-depth look at a security vulnerability known as CVE-2022-21904. This vulnerability affects the Windows Graphics Device Interface (GDI), which is a crucial component that handles graphical operations in the Microsoft Windows operating system. We will discuss the details of the vulnerability, explore how it can be exploited, and provide sample code to demonstrate the attack. Additionally, we will link to official references and recommendations for protecting your systems from this vulnerability.

Understanding CVE-2022-21904

CVE-2022-21904 is an information disclosure vulnerability that affects the Windows GDI. It stems from the improper handling of objects in memory, which can lead to the disclosure of sensitive information. This vulnerability has been given a CVSS score of 5.5 (Medium) and affects multiple Windows operating systems, including Windows 10 and Windows Server 2022.

The Windows GDI is a core component of the operating system's graphical subsystem. It is responsible for tasks such as drawing lines, curves, and shapes, rendering fonts and handling palettes, among other things. An attacker who successfully exploits this vulnerability can access sensitive information that was not intended to be disclosed and potentially use this information for further attacks or data theft.

- CVE-2022-21904 - NVD Detail
- Microsoft Security Update Guide

Exploit details

To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would typically craft a malicious application that, when executed by a user, triggers the information disclosure. This could potentially be combined with other attacks to elevate the attacker's privileges and gain access to critical system resources.

Code snippet

Here is a sample code snippet showing how an attacker might trigger the information disclosure vulnerability via GDI calls:

#include <windows.h>

int main() {
    HDC hdc;                // Handle to the device context
    HBITMAP hbmOld, hbmNew; // Handles to the old and new bitmap objects
    COLORREF leakedInfo;    // Variable for storing the leaked information

    // Set up the device context and create new bitmap objects
    hdc = CreateCompatibleDC(NULL);
    hbmNew = CreateCompatibleBitmap(hdc, 1, 1);
    hbmOld = SelectObject(hdc, hbmNew);

    // Perform GDI operation that triggers the information disclosure vulnerability
    leakedInfo = GetPixel(hdc, , );

    // Do something with the leaked information (e.g., send it to the attacker)

    // Clean up resources
    SelectObject(hdc, hbmOld);

    return ;

Mitigation and recommendations

Microsoft has released a security update that addresses this vulnerability. It is highly recommended that affected users apply these updates as soon as possible to protect their systems. You can find more details on these updates in the Microsoft Security Update Guide.

To further minimize the impact of this vulnerability, you can also take the following steps

1. Implement the principle of least privilege: Ensure that applications and services run with the minimum required privileges, reducing the potential damage that an attacker can cause if they were to exploit the vulnerability.

2. Maintain updated antivirus software: Keep your antivirus software up-to-date and enable it to scan files and directories regularly to detect and block any malicious code.

3. Educate users about safe computing practices: Educate your users on the importance of avoiding suspicious applications and preserving the security of their devices.


CVE-2022-21904 is a significant security vulnerability, but it can be mitigated through the correct application of security updates and adherence to best practices. Make sure to employ the necessary mitigations and educate your users about safe computing habits to protect your systems against such vulnerabilities.


Published on: 01/11/2022 21:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 05/23/2022 17:29:00 UTC