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How To Use the SeDebugPrivilege to Acquire Any Process Handle

This article was previously published under Q185215
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
SUMMARY
By setting the SeDebugPrivilege privilege on the running process, you canobtain the process handle of any running application. When obtaining thehandle to a process, you can then specify the PROCESS_ALL_ACCESS flag,which will allow the calling of various Win32 APIs upon that processhandle, which you normally could not do. Some of the Win32 APIs that couldbe successfully called include the following:
  • TerminateProcess
  • CreateRemoteThread
This article contains an in-depth example on how you can set theSeDebugPrivilege upon your application process token, and use that toterminate another application. This is an advanced topic, and a strongknowledge of process security is highly recommended.

The discussion of what Process Access, Process Tokens, and Token Privilegesare not covered within the scope of this article. This article assumesthat the reader already understands these advanced topics.
MORE INFORMATION
This sample involves creating three separate Visual Basic applications.Each application will be built one at a time and then used together todemonstrate the power of the SeDebugPrivilege process privilege.

Application #1 (Term01.exe)

  1. Create a new Standard EXE project in Visual Basic 5.0.
  2. Change the project name to Term01.
  3. Rename Form1 to frmTerm01.
  4. Add a Command Button to frmTerm01.
  5. Set the caption for Command1 to "Terminate Notepad."
  6. Add the following code to frmTerm01:
          Option Explicit      Private Sub Command1_Click()         ' This is a simple application that attempts         ' to shut down any process that is passed in through         ' the command line.         Call TerminateProcess(CLng(Command$), 0)      End Sub						
  7. Add a standard Module to the project, and rename it to MdlApi01.
  8. Add the following code to MdlApi01:
          Option Explicit      Declare Function TerminateProcess Lib "kernel32" _         (ByVal hProcess As Long, _         ByVal uExitCode As Long) As Long						
  9. Save the project and make the exe file (Term01.exe).

Application #2 (Term02.exe)

  1. Create a new standard EXE in Visual Basic 5.0.
  2. Change the project name to Term02.
  3. Rename Form1 to frmTerm02.
  4. Add a Command Button to frmTerm02.
  5. Set the caption for Command1 to "Terminate Notepad."
  6. Add a list box to frmTerm02.
  7. Set the width of ListBox1 to 3735.
  8. Add the following code to frmTerm02:
          Private Sub Command1_Click()         ' The PID of the application you want to kill will be received         ' through the command line. Convert it to a long so it can be         ' used with the various API calls.         SeDebugSample CLng(Command$)      End Sub						
  9. Add a standard Module to the project, and rename it to mdlAPI02.
  10. Add the following code to the module mdlApi02:
          Option Explicit      ' Constants used for various API calls. Refer to MSDN for detailed      ' information about what these constants mean.      Public Const TOKEN_ADJUST_PRIVILEGES = &H20      Public Const TOKEN_QUERY = &H8      Public Const ANYSIZE_ARRAY = 1      Public Const PROCESS_ALL_ACCESS = &H1F0FFF      Public Const SE_DEBUG_NAME = "SeDebugPrivilege"      Public Const SE_PRIVILEGE_ENABLED = &H2      ' Structures used with various API calls.      ' Refer to MSDN for detailed information      ' about what these structures are, and how they are used.      Type LARGE_INTEGER         lowpart As Long         highpart As Long      End Type      Type Luid         lowpart As Long         highpart As Long      End Type      Type LUID_AND_ATTRIBUTES         pLuid As Luid         Attributes As Long      End Type      Type TOKEN_PRIVILEGES         PrivilegeCount As Long         Privileges(ANYSIZE_ARRAY) As LUID_AND_ATTRIBUTES      End Type      ' Refer to the MSDN for detailed information on      ' all of these API calls.      Declare Function CloseHandle Lib "kernel32" _         (ByVal hObject As Long)As Long      Declare Function GetCurrentProcess Lib "kernel32" () As Long      Declare Function OpenProcessToken Lib "advapi32.dll" _         (ByVal ProcessHandle As Long, ByVal DesiredAccess As Long, _      TokenHandle As Long) As Long      Declare Function LookupPrivilegeValue Lib "advapi32.dll" Alias _         "LookupPrivilegeValueA" (ByVal lpSystemName As String, _         ByVal lpName As String, lpLuid As Luid) As Long      Declare Function AdjustTokenPrivileges Lib "advapi32.dll" _         (ByVal TokenHandle As Long, ByVal DisableAllPrivileges As Long, _         NewState As TOKEN_PRIVILEGES, ByVal BufferLength As Long, _         PreviousState As TOKEN_PRIVILEGES, ReturnLength As Long) As Long      Declare Function OpenProcess Lib "kernel32" _         (ByVal dwDesiredAccess As Long, ByVal bInheritHandle As Long, _         ByVal dwProcessId As Long) As Long      Declare Function TerminateProcess Lib "kernel32" _         (ByVal hProcess As Long, ByVal uExitCode As Long) As Long      ' SeDebugSample shows how to grab the Process Handle of any running      ' Application, and then use the SeDebug privilege to shut it down.      Public Sub SeDebugSample(ApplicationPID As Long)         Dim hProcessID As Long         ' Handle to your sample                                        ' process you are going to                                        ' terminate.         Dim hProcess As Long           ' Handle to your current process                                        ' (Term02.exe).         Dim hToken As Long             ' Handle to your process token.         Dim lPrivilege As Long         ' Privilege to enable/disable         Dim iPrivilegeflag As Boolean  ' Flag whether to enable/disable                                        ' the privilege of concern.         Dim lResult As Long            ' Result call of various APIs.         ' clear the list box first         frmTerm02.List1.Clear         frmTerm02.List1.AddItem "Start SeDebug Sample"         ' set the incoming PID to our internal variable         hProcessID = ApplicationPID         ' get our current process handle         hProcess = GetCurrentProcess         ' show our handle just for fun         frmTerm02.List1.AddItem "Current (Pseudo) Process Handle : " & _                                 Hex(hProcess)         ' open the tokens for this process (Term02.exe)         lResult = OpenProcessToken(hProcess, TOKEN_ADJUST_PRIVILEGES Or _                                   TOKEN_QUERY, hToken)         ' if OpenProcessToken fails, the return result is zero, test for         ' success here         If (lResult = 0) Then         frmTerm02.List1.AddItem "Error: _                                 Unable To Open Process Token : " _                                 & Err.LastDllError            CloseHandle (hToken)            Exit Sub         Else            ' show success            frmTerm02.List1.AddItem "Opened Process Token : " & hToken         End If         ' Now that you have the token for this process, you want to set         ' the SE_DEBUG_NAME privilege.         lResult = SetPrivilege(hToken, SE_DEBUG_NAME, True)         ' Make sure you could set the privilege on this token.         If (lResult = False) Then            frmTerm02.List1.AddItem _               "Error : Could Not Set SeDebug Privilege on Token Handle"            CloseHandle (hToken)            Exit Sub         Else            frmTerm02.List1.AddItem "Set SeDebug Privilege On Token Handle"         End If         ' Now that you have changed the privileges on the token,         ' have some fun. You can now get a process handle to the         ' process ID that you passed into this program, and         ' demand whatever access you want on it!         hProcess = OpenProcess(PROCESS_ALL_ACCESS, 0, hProcessID)         ' Make sure you opened the process so you can do stuff with it         If (hProcess = Null) Then            frmTerm02.List1.AddItem _               "Error : Unable To Open Process : " & Err.LastDllError            CloseHandle (hToken)            Exit Sub         Else            frmTerm02.List1.AddItem "Opened Process : " & hProcess         End If         ' Now turn the SE_DEBUG_PRIV back off,         lResult = SetPrivilege(hToken, SE_DEBUG_NAME, False)         ' Make sure you succeeded in reversing the privilege!         If (lResult = False) Then            frmTerm02.List1.AddItem _              "Error : Unable To Disable SeDebug Privilege On Token Handle"            CloseHandle (hProcess)            CloseHandle (hToken)            Exit Sub         Else            frmTerm02.List1.AddItem _               "Disabled SeDebug Privilege On Token Handle"         End If         ' Now you want to kill the application, which you can do since         ' your process handle to the application includes full access to         ' romp and roam - you got the process handle when you had the         ' SE_DEBUG_NAME privilege enabled!         lResult = TerminateProcess(hProcess, 0)         ' Let's see the result, and go from there.         If (lResult = 0) Then            frmTerm02.List1.AddItem _            "Error : Unable To Terminate Application : " & Err.LastDllError            CloseHandle (hProcess)            CloseHandle (hToken)            Exit Sub         Else            frmTerm02.List1.AddItem "Terminated Application"         End If         ' Close our handles and get out of here.         CloseHandle (hProcess)         CloseHandle (hToken)         ' Finally, let the user know that you have completed the         ' SeDebug Sample.         frmTerm02.List1.AddItem "SeDebug Sample Completed"      End Sub      ' The SetPrivilege function will accept a handle to a token, a      ' privilege, and a flag to either enable/disable that privilege. The      ' function will attempt to perform the desired action upon the token      ' returning TRUE if it succeeded, or FALSE if it failed.      Private Function SetPrivilege(hToken As Long, Privilege As String, _                                    bSetFlag As Boolean) As Boolean         Dim TP As TOKEN_PRIVILEGES          ' Used in getting the current                                             ' token privileges         Dim TPPrevious As TOKEN_PRIVILEGES  ' Used in setting the new                                             ' token privileges         Dim Luid As Luid                    ' Stores the Local Unique                                             ' Identifier - refer to MSDN         Dim cbPrevious As Long              ' Previous size of the                                             ' TOKEN_PRIVILEGES structure         Dim lResult As Long                 ' Result of various API calls         ' Grab the size of the TOKEN_PRIVILEGES structure,         ' used in making the API calls.         cbPrevious = Len(TP)         ' Grab the LUID for the request privilege.         lResult = LookupPrivilegeValue("", Privilege, Luid)         ' If LoopupPrivilegeValue fails, the return result will be zero.         ' Test to make sure that the call succeeded.         If (lResult = 0) Then            SetPrivilege = False         End If         ' Set up basic information for a call.         ' You want to retrieve the current privileges         ' of the token under concern before you can modify them.         TP.PrivilegeCount = 1         TP.Privileges(0).pLuid = Luid         TP.Privileges(0).Attributes = 0         SetPrivilege = lResult         ' You need to acquire the current privileges first         lResult = AdjustTokenPrivileges(hToken, -1, TP, Len(TP), _                                        TPPrevious, cbPrevious)         ' If AdjustTokenPrivileges fails, the return result is zero,         ' test for success.         If (lResult = 0) Then            SetPrivilege = False         End If         ' Now you can set the token privilege information         ' to what the user is requesting.         TPPrevious.PrivilegeCount = 1         TPPrevious.Privileges(0).pLuid = Luid         ' either enable or disable the privilege,         ' depending on what the user wants.         Select Case bSetFlag            Case True: TPPrevious.Privileges(0).Attributes = _                       TPPrevious.Privileges(0).Attributes Or _                       (SE_PRIVILEGE_ENABLED)            Case False: TPPrevious.Privileges(0).Attributes = _                        TPPrevious.Privileges(0).Attributes Xor _                        (SE_PRIVILEGE_ENABLED And _                        TPPrevious.Privileges(0).Attributes)         End Select         ' Call adjust the token privilege information.         lResult = AdjustTokenPrivileges(hToken, -1, TPPrevious, _                                        cbPrevious, TP, cbPrevious)         ' Determine your final result of this function.         If (lResult = 0) Then            ' You were not able to set the privilege on this token.            SetPrivilege = False         Else            ' You managed to modify the token privilege            SetPrivilege = True         End If      End Function						
  11. Save the project to the same directory as the Term01 project, and make the .exe file (Term02.exe).

Application #3 (MainTest.exe)

  1. Create a new standard EXE project in Visual Basic 5.0.
  2. Rename the project to MainTest.
  3. Rename Form1 To frmTest.
  4. Add three Command Buttons to the form.
  5. Set the caption for Command1 to "Start Notepad."
  6. Set the caption for Command2 to "Start Term01."
  7. Set the caption for Command3 to "Start Term02."
  8. Add the following code to frmTest:
          Option Explicit      ' You want to keep the process ID of the NotePad instance      ' that you create      Private iAppPID As Long      Private Sub Command1_Click()         ' Create an instance of the NotePad.exe application.         iAppPID = Shell("Notepad.exe", vbNormalFocus)      End Sub      Private Sub Command2_Click()         ' You will try to terminate the NotePad application by another         ' application, which is running in its own process space.         ' This will FAIL.         Call Shell(App.Path & "\Term01.Exe " & iAppPID, vbNormalFocus)      End Sub      Private Sub Command3_Click()         ' You will try to terminate the NotePad application by another         ' application, which is running in its own process space.         ' However, this application is going to use the SeDebugPrivilege,         ' and will be able to terminate the application without a fuss.         Call Shell(App.Path & "\Term02.Exe " & iAppPID, vbNormalFocus)      End Sub						
  9. Save the project to the same directory as the Term01 project, and make the .exe file (MainTest.exe).

Running the Sample

Once you have built and compiled the three applications, you can see thedemonstration in action. In the second application (Term02.exe), the codeassumes that the Notepad application (Notepad.exe) is located within thepath.
  1. Run the MainTest.exe program. This will be our "control pad" for the demonstration.
  2. Click the Start Notepad button. This will launch Notepad.
  3. Click the Start Term01 button. This will launch the Term01 application.
  4. Click the Terminate Notepad Button on the Term01 application. It is intended to shut down Notepad, but does not succeed.
  5. Close the Term01 application.
  6. Click the Start Term02 button on the MainTest application. This will launch the Term02 application.
  7. Click the Terminate Notepad button on the Term02 application. This will start the SeDebugPrivilege demonstration, which will result in Notepad being terminated. The list box provides visual feedback to what is going on in the process.
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Article ID: 185215 - Last Review: 07/13/2004 14:55:53 - Revision: 2.1

  • Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Control Creation Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Enterprise Edition
  • kbcode kbhowto KB185215
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