Writable Sys Path +Dll Hijacking Privesc

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If you found that you can write in a System Path folder (note that this won't work if you can write in a User Path folder) it's possible that you could escalate privileges in the system.

In order to do that you can abuse a Dll Hijacking where you are going to hijack a library being loaded by a service or process with more privileges than yours, and because that service is loading a Dll that probably doesn't even exist in the entire system, it's going to try to load it from the System Path where you can write.

For more info about what is Dll Hijackig check:

pageDll Hijacking

Privesc with Dll Hijacking

Finding a missing Dll

The first thing you need is to identify a process running with more privileges than you that is trying to load a Dll from the System Path you can write in.

The problem in this cases is that probably thoses processes are already running. To find which Dlls are lacking the services you need to launch procmon as soon as possible (before processes are loaded). So, to find lacking .dlls do:

  • Create the folder C:\privesc_hijacking and add the path C:\privesc_hijacking to System Path env variable. You can do this manually or with PS:

# Set the folder path to create and check events for
$folderPath = "C:\privesc_hijacking"

# Create the folder if it does not exist
if (!(Test-Path $folderPath -PathType Container)) {
    New-Item -ItemType Directory -Path $folderPath | Out-Null

# Set the folder path in the System environment variable PATH
$envPath = [Environment]::GetEnvironmentVariable("PATH", "Machine")
if ($envPath -notlike "*$folderPath*") {
    $newPath = "$envPath;$folderPath"
    [Environment]::SetEnvironmentVariable("PATH", $newPath, "Machine")
  • Launch procmon and go to Options --> Enable boot logging and press OK in the prompt.

  • Then, reboot. When the computer is restarted procmon will start recording events asap.

  • Once Windows is started execute procmon again, it'll tell you that it has been running and will ask you if you want to store the events in a file. Say yes and store the events in a file.

  • After the file is generated, close the opened procmon window and open the events file.

  • Add these filters and you will find all the Dlls that some proccess tried to load from the writable System Path folder:

Missed Dlls

Running this in a free virtual (vmware) Windows 11 machine I got these results:

In this case the .exe are useless so ignore them, the missed DLLs where from:

ServiceDllCMD line

Task Scheduler (Schedule)


C:\Windows\system32\svchost.exe -k netsvcs -p -s Schedule

Diagnostic Policy Service (DPS)


C:\Windows\System32\svchost.exe -k LocalServiceNoNetwork -p -s DPS



C:\Windows\system32\svchost.exe -k UnistackSvcGroup

After finding this, I found this interesting blog post that also explains how to abuse WptsExtensions.dll for privesc. Which is what we are going to do now.


So, to escalate privileges we are going to hijack the library WptsExtensions.dll. Having the path and the name we just need to generate the malicious dll.

You can try to use any of these examples. You could run payloads such as: get a rev shell, add a user, execute a beacon...

Note that not all the service are run with NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM some are also run with NT AUTHORITY\LOCAL SERVICE which has less privileges and you won't be able to create a new user abuse its permissions. However, that user has the seImpersonate privilege, so you can use the potato suite to escalate privileges. So, in this case a rev shell is a better option that trying to create a user.

At the moment of writing the Task Scheduler service is run with Nt AUTHORITY\SYSTEM.

Having generated the malicious Dll (in my case I used x64 rev shell and I got a shell back but defender killed it because it was from msfvenom), save it in the writable System Path with the name WptsExtensions.dll and restart the computer (or restart the service or do whatever it takes to rerun the affected service/program).

When the service is re-started, the dll should be loaded and executed (you can reuse the procmon trick to check if the library was loaded as expected).

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