In the digital age, ensuring the security and stability of our systems have become more critical than ever. Today, we will discuss the details of CVE-2023-36712, a Windows kernel elevation of privilege vulnerability. This vulnerability allows cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to a system, escalating their privileges, and wreaking havoc. In this post, we will dissect CVE-2023-36712, providing code snippets, pointing out original references for a deeper understanding, and outlining the exploit details for a more comprehensive insight.

CVE-2023-36712—What does it mean?

CVE-2023-36712 refers to a specific entry in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database assigned by the CVE Numbering Authority. CVE is a system used for naming unique vulnerabilities in software applications, systems, or other potential targets. This particular entry points to an elevation of privilege vulnerability in the Windows kernel.


The Windows kernel is the core component of the operating system responsible for managing system resources, running applications, and providing an interface between hardware and software. It is the kernel’s job to ensure that different programs do not interfere with each other and function smoothly without any crashes or hiccups.

Vulnerability Details

The vulnerability exists in the way the Windows kernel handles certain objects in memory. An attacker who can execute code on a victim's system can exploit this vulnerability to elevate their privileges from a standard user account to a more privileged account, such as an administrator account.

Let's take a closer look at the code snippet where the vulnerability lies

// Unsafe memory allocation
result = ExAllocatePoolWithTag(NonPagedPool, size, 'gatT'); 

if (result != NULL) {
  // Zero out memory before use
  memset(result, , size);

This code snippet deals with memory allocation and zeroing out the memory contents before use. The vulnerability here is that the kernel improperly validates user-supplied data size, leading to the possibility of an integer overflow when allocating memory. This could lead to a pool-based buffer overflow and allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code with elevated privileges.

Exploit Details

For this vulnerability to be exploited, an attacker must first navigate to a user-mode application, then successfully exploit a separate vulnerability that allows loading arbitrary code into the kernel memory space. Afterward, the attacker can execute their code with elevated privileges, effectively taking control of the system.

To accomplish this, the attacker develops an exploit that first overflows the integer value, allowing them to allocate a small memory buffer. Once the buffer is allocated, the attacker crafts a specially designed input that overwrites adjacent kernel memory structures. This results in arbitrary code execution with system-level privileges and full control over the compromised host.

Original References

To learn more about this vulnerability and the associated research, please consult the following resources:

1. CVE-2023-36712 - NVD
2. Microsoft Security Advisory
3. Elevation of Privilege Bug Hunting on the Windows Kernel

Mitigation and Prevention Strategies

Windows has addressed this vulnerability in its latest security update. To protect your system from this exploit, make sure to install the latest security patches for your Windows operating system. Other best practices include:


CVE-2023-36712 highlights the importance of staying informed about potential threats and knowing how to address them proactively. By understanding the critical components of the vulnerability, its exploitative nature, and the potential risks involved, you are better equipped to secure your system against future attacks. Stay vigilant and stay secure!


Published on: 10/10/2023 18:15:16 UTC
Last modified on: 10/13/2023 20:26:36 UTC