Adversaries may reflectively load code into a process in order to conceal the execution of malicious payloads. Reflective loading involves allocating then executing payloads directly within the memory of the process, vice creating a thread or process backed by a file path on disk. Reflectively loaded payloads may be compiled binaries, anonymous files (only present in RAM), or just snubs of fileless executable code (ex: position-independent shellcode).
Reflective code injection is very similar to Process Injection except that the "injection" loads code into the processes’ own memory instead of that of a separate process. Reflective loading may evade process-based detections since the execution of the arbitrary code may be masked within a legitimate or otherwise benign process. Reflectively loading payloads directly into memory may also avoid creating files or other artifacts on disk, while also enabling malware to keep these payloads encrypted (or otherwise obfuscated) until execution.
This type of attack technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on the abuse of system features.
|ID||Data Source||Data Component|
|DS0009||Process||OS API Execution|
Monitor for code artifacts associated with reflectively loading code, such as the abuse of .NET functions such as
Assembly.Load() and Native API functions such as
Monitor for artifacts of abnormal process execution. For example, a common signature related to reflective code loading on Windows is mechanisms related to the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) -- such as mscor.dll, mscoree.dll, and clr.dll -- loading into abnormal processes (such as notepad.exe). Similarly, AMSI / ETW traces can be used to identify signs of arbitrary code execution from within the memory of potentially compromised processes.
Analyze process behavior to determine if a process is performing actions it usually does not, such as opening network connections, reading files, or other suspicious actions that could relate to post-compromise behavior.