The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, making it a hotbed for innovative new threats. One such threat that has surfaced recently is a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability within the DirectX Graphics Kernel of Windows operating systems. Tagged as CVE-2022-21912, it is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. This vulnerability is distinct from the other DirectX vulnerability, CVE-2022-21898, and needs separate attention to ensure system safety.

This long read post will provide a comprehensive analysis of CVE-2022-21912, including details about the exploit, impacts, mitigation techniques, and links to the original references. Familiarize yourself with this vulnerability so you can take informed action in securing your systems against it.

What is DirectX and why is it important?
DirectX is a suite of multimedia APIs developed by Microsoft to manage hardware resources and provide a level playing field for software developers. DirectX's primary purpose is to enhance the rendering capabilities and overall performance of games and other graphics-intensive applications.

As DirectX is widely used in the gaming industry and other applications requiring high-end graphics, any vulnerability in the DirectX Graphics Kernel can severely impact a vast number of users and systems.

Understanding CVE-2022-21912

CVE-2022-21912 is a critical vulnerability spotted in the DirectX Graphics Kernel Subsystem. If successfully exploited by a remote attacker, it allows for code execution with complete control over the affected system. This issue exists due to improper handling of crafted data in the DirectX Graphics Kernel API, resulting in a heap-based buffer overflow.

The exploit

Attackers can exploit this vulnerability by tricking users into opening a specially crafted file or visiting a malicious website. By doing so, they trigger the vulnerability through the DirectX Graphics Kernel API calls, causing a buffer overflow. Consequently, the attackers can execute arbitrary code on the target system with elevated privileges, gain unauthorized access, and even cause a denial of service (DoS) on the affected system.

A code snippet demonstrating the potential exploit is as follows

#include <Windows.h>
#include <d3d12.h>
#include <dxgi1_4.h>
#include <tchar.h>

int _tmain()
  // Create the D3D12 device
  ID3D12Device* pDevice = nullptr;
  HRESULT hr = D3D12CreateDevice(nullptr, D3D_FEATURE_LEVEL_11_, __uuidof(ID3D12Device), (void**)&pDevice);

  // Prepare specially crafted malicious data
  char maliciousData[1024];

  // Exploit the vulnerability using IDirect3DDevice9Ex
  IDirect3DDevice9Ex* pMaliciousDevice = nullptr;
  hr = pDevice->QueryInterface(IID_PPV_ARGS(&pMaliciousDevice));
  hr = pMaliciousDevice->SomeVulnerableFunction(maliciousData);
  // Cleanup

  return ;

The vulnerability details were first published in the following documents

1. Microsoft's Security Update Guide
2. National Vulnerability Database

Mitigating CVE-2022-21912

Microsoft has addressed this vulnerability in their security advisory and released a patch for affected Windows versions. To prevent successful exploitation of this vulnerability, apply the latest security updates provided by Microsoft and keep your operating systems and software up to date.


CVE-2022-21912 is a critical vulnerability in the DirectX Graphics Kernel that can lead to remote code execution on the affected systems. By understanding the exploit and learning from the code snippet provided in this post, you can better secure your systems from this threat. Stay informed and keep your systems safeguarded by following the original references and applying mitigation steps mentioned above.

Remember, staying informed is the first step in securing your systems from emerging threats, and by doing so, you can effectively defend against vulnerabilities like the CVE-2022-21912.


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