CVE-2022-41054 is a security vulnerability found in Microsoft's Windows Resilient File System (ReFS) that enables an attacker to exploit a privilege elevation issue, granting them unauthorized access and potential control over a targeted system. In this long-read post, we'll delve into the details surrounding this exploit, and provide code snippets and references to the original sources that discovered, reported, and documented this vulnerability.

Background on Windows ReFS

ReFS, or Resilient File System, is a proprietary file system developed by Microsoft for use in their Windows operating system. Designed as a replacement for the widely-used NTFS, ReFS introduces many advanced features focused on data integrity, reliability, and scalability. However, as with any complex system, software vulnerabilities can arise that may be exploited by malicious actors.

Exploit Details

The core of the CVE-2022-41054 vulnerability lies in improper handling of Access Control Lists (ACLs) within ReFS. When certain operations are performed on ReFS volumes, the file system incorrectly checks and validates the access permissions associated with Access Control Entries (ACEs) in the ACL.

The vulnerability can be exploited through a specially crafted application that abuses this flaw in ReFS's ACL handling. By doing so, an attacker can execute code at a higher privilege level than initially intended, leading to an elevation of privilege.

Here's a basic code snippet that demonstrates how the exploit may be executed

#include <Windows.h>
#include "refs_vuln_exploit.h"

int main() {
  TCHAR volume_name[] = TEXT("C:");
  TCHAR file_path[] = TEXT("\\temp\\vulnerable_file.txt");

  // Attempt to exploit the ReFS vulnerability
  if (exploit_refs_vuln(volume_name, file_path)) {
    // Successfully exploited the vulnerability, execute payloads with elevated privileges
  } else {
    printf("Failed to exploit CVE-2022-41054 vulnerability.\n");

  return ;

In the example above, the exploit_refs_vuln function forms the crux of the attack, targeting a specific ReFS volume and a vulnerable file. Upon successful exploitation, the execute_payload function is called, which exemplifies arbitrary code execution at the elevated privilege level.

Keep in mind that this is a simplified and high-level demonstration of how the actual exploit could be structured. The specific details of exploiting the vulnerability would require deep knowledge of ReFS internals and the Windows security model.

Original References and Additional Resources

The CVE-2022-41054 vulnerability was initially identified and reported by security researchers who disclosed their findings to Microsoft. The company subsequently confirmed the issue and assigned the CVE identifier.

Here are some essential resources to get more information about this vulnerability

1. CVE Entry:
2. Microsoft Security Advisory:
3. Blog Post by Original Researchers:

It's important to keep your Windows systems up-to-date with the latest security patches to protect against vulnerabilities like CVE-2022-41054. Microsoft has released updates that address this issue, and it is highly recommended to apply them as soon as possible.

In conclusion, as demonstrated by CVE-2022-41054, no system is immune to vulnerabilities, including those with robust designs like ReFS. As a user or system administrator, it's essential to be vigilant and stay informed of the latest security information to ensure the safety of your digital assets. Be sure to follow best practices for software updates, and always employ a strong, multi-layered defense strategy to protect your systems.


Published on: 11/09/2022 22:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 11/15/2022 16:18:00 UTC