CVEAC-2020: Bypassing EasyAntiCheat integrity checks

Cheat developers have specific interest in anti-cheat self-integrity checks. If you can circumvent them, you can effectively patch out or “hook” any anti-cheat code that could lead to a kick or even a ban. In EasyAntiCheat’s case, they use a kernel-mode driver which contains some interesting detection routines. We are going to examine how their integrity checks work and how to circumvent them, effectively allowing us to disable the anti-cheat.

Reversing process

The first thing to do is actually determine if there is any sort of integrity check. The easiest way is to patch any byte from .text and see if the anti-cheat decides to kick or ban you after some time. About 10-40 seconds after I patched a random function, I was kicked, revealing that they are indeed doing integrity checks in their kernel module. With the assistance of my hypervisor-based debugger, which makes use of EPT facilities [1], I set a memory breakpoint on a function that was called by their LoadImage notify routine (see PsSetLoadImageNotifyRoutine). After some time, I could find where they were accessing memory.

[1] EPT stands for Extended Page Tables. It is a technology from Intel for MMU virtualization support. Check out virtualization resources if you want to learn more about virtualization.

After examining xrefs in IDA Pro and setting some instruction breakpoints, I discovered where the integrity check function gets called from, one of them being inside the CreateProcess notify routine (see PsSetCreateProcessNotifyRoutine). This routine takes care of some parts of the anti-cheat initialization, such as creating internal structures that will be used to represent the game process. EAC won’t initialize if it finds out that their kernel module has been tampered with.

The integrity check function itself is obfuscated, mainly containing junk instructions, which makes analyzing it very annoying. Here’s an example of obfuscated code:

mov     [rsp+arg_8], rbx
ror     r9w, 2
lea     r9, ds:588F66C5h[rdx*4]
sar     r9d, cl
bts     r9, 1Fh
mov     [rsp+arg_10], rbp
lea     r9, ds:0FFFFFFFFC17008A9h[rsi*2]
sbb     r9d, 2003FCE1h
shrd    r9w, cx, cl
shl     r9w, cl
mov     [rsp+arg_18], rsi
mov     r9, cs:EasyAntiCheatBase

With the assist of Capstone, a public disassembly framework, I wrote a simple tool that disassembles every instruction from a block of code and keeps track of register modifications. After that, it finds out which instructions are useless based on register usage and remove them. Example of output:

mov     [rsp+arg_8], rbx
mov     [rsp+arg_10], rbp
mov     [rsp+arg_18], rsi
mov     r9, cs:EasyAntiCheatBase

Time to reverse this guy!

The integrity check function

This is the C++ code for the integrity check function:

bool check_driver_integrity()
    if ( !peac_base || !eac_size || !peac_driver_copy_base || !peac_copy_nt_headers )
        return false;

    bool not_modified = true;

    const auto  num_sections     = peac_copy_nt_headers->FileHeader.NumberOfSections;
    const auto* psection_headers = IMAGE_FIRST_SECTION( peac_copy_nt_headers );

    // Loop through all sections from EasyAntiCheat.sys
    for ( WORD i = 0; i < num_sections; ++i )
        const auto characteristics = psection_headers[ i ].Characteristics;

        // Ignore paged sections
        if ( psection_headers[ i ].SizeOfRawData != 0 && READABLE_NOT_PAGED_SECTION( characteristics ) )
            // Skip .rdata and writable sections
            if ( !WRITABLE_SECTION( characteristics ) && ( *reinterpret_cast< ULONG* >( psection_headers[ i ].Name ) != 'adr.' ) )
                auto psection      = reinterpret_cast< const void* >( peac_base + psection_headers[ i ].VirtualAddress );
                auto psection_copy = reinterpret_cast< const void* >( peac_driver_copy_base + psection_headers[ i ].VirtualAddress );

                const auto virtual_size = psection_headers[ i ].VirtualSize & 0xFFFFFFF0;

                // Compare the original section with its copy
                if ( memcmp( psection, psection_copy, virtual_size ) != 0 )
                    // Uh oh
                    not_modified = false;

    return not_modified;

As you can see, EAC allocates a pool and makes a copy of itself (you can check that by yourself) that will be used in their integrity check. It compares the bytes from EAC.sys with its copy and see if both match. It returns false if the module was patched.

The work-around

Since the integrity check function is obfuscated, it would be pretty annoying to find it because it is subject to change between releases. Wanting the bypass to be simple, I began brainstorming some alternative solutions.

The .pdata section contains an array of function table entries, which are required for exception handling purposes. As the semantics of the function itself is unlikely to change, we can take advantage of this information!

In order to make the solution cleaner, we need to patch EasyAntiCheat.sys and its copy to disable the integrity checks. To find the pool containing the copy, we can use the undocumented API ZwQuerySystemInformation and pass SystemBigPoolInformation (0x42) as the first argument. When the call is successful, it returns a SYSTEM_BIGPOOL_INFORMATION structure, which contains an array of SYSTEM_BIGPOOL_ENTRY structures and the number of elements returned in that array. The SYSTEM_BIGPOOL_ENTRY structure contains information about the pool itself, like its pooltag, base and size. Using this information, we can find the pool that was allocated by EAC and modify its contents, granting us the unhindered ability to patch any EAC code without triggering integrity violations.

Proof of Concept

PoC code is released here

It contains the bypass for the integrity check and a patch to a function that’s called by their pre-operation callbacks, registered by ObRegisterCallbacks, letting you create handles to the target process. I’m aware that this is by no means an ideal solution because you’d need to take care of other things, like handle enumeration, but I’ll leave this as an exercise for the reader. You are free to improve this example to suit your needs.

The tests were made on four different games: Rust, Apex Legends, Ironsight and Cuisine Royale.

Have fun! See you in the next article!