Inter-process communication
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  1. #1
    Hoopy Frood
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    Jun 2004
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    Inter-process communication

    Suppose I have two users accounts on a Windows XP Professional machine: user X and Y. Suppose also that both of these accounts are members of the Restricted Users group (instead of being members of the Administrators/Power Users groups).

    Suppose user X is interactively logged in and he runs process FOO under his credentials. Assume also that he runs process BAR under Y's credentials (with, for example, the command: runas /user:computername\Y BAR.exe).

    Here's the question: can process FOO (started by user X and running as X) communicate with process BAR (started by X but running as user Y) with any sort of inter-process communication? Can BAR communicate with FOO?

    If yes, under what circumstances and how? I would assume that because user X has no read permissions over Y's directory (and vice versa), that X's processes would not be able to communicate with Y's processes, but I'm suspicious that it may be otherwise.

    - Xierox
    "Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own."

    -- Søren Kierkegaard

  2. #2
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    Hi there xierox,

    I believe that there is a way in XP Professional to get people to actually share the machine and whatever systems you want them to.

    It has been a while since I have done it, so I would have to check that out.

    If I remember correctly, it should do exactly what you want. The issue I mostly encountered was people getting elevated privileges because they could log in whilst the more senior user still had their account open on the shared machine?

    I will check it out and get back, if there isn't someone here with a better memory than mine
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2004
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    Hi

    There are many forms of inter-process communications[1],
    certainly TCP/IP is often used, but also [D]COM or named
    pipes[2] are common. The goal of IPC actually is to provide
    some kind service to to other processes regardless
    of their owner (this would be part of the service-implementation
    itself) or even machine.

    Mailslots and pipes are accesses with file operations. If IPC$
    is accessible from other machines, you can even access an IPC$-IPC
    service from remote (not routed though).


    Restrictions are given sometimes by the operating system. For
    example, on most *nix-derivates, as most of you konw, ordinary users
    can only bind ports larger 1024.

    For a more theoretical white paper on IPC in gerenal (threading,
    thread models etc.) read [3].


    So, in summary, FOO can "write" to BAR and BAR can "write" to FOO
    because the process BAR that supports IPC is supposed to enable FOO
    to interact, as said, in principle regardless of the users ACLs and privileges.
    That's why it may be dangerous to have a process BAR started in the
    context of an administrator account providing IPC access - a vulnerability
    could be exploited to run arbitrary code in the context of an administrator
    account.



    Cheers.



    [1] http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa365574.aspx
    [2] http://support.microsoft.com/kb/871044/en-us
    [3] http://research.microsoft.com/users/...terprocess.pdf
    Last edited by sec_ware; December 30th, 2007 at 02:16 PM.
    If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
    (Abraham Maslow, Psychologist, 1908-70)

  4. #4
    Hoopy Frood
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    That's just the sort of information I was looking for, sec_ware! Thanks!

    - X
    "Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own."

    -- Søren Kierkegaard

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