Dangerous Detours, Wrap-Up

This concludes the little series about the limitations of Detours:

Granted, the probability of experiencing any of the problems described in these posts is rather low. Whether these problems should be considered bugs of Detours or rather an inherent problem of the concept is not quite easy to judge — on the one hand, Detours indeed acts a little naive and especially the unhooking problem could have been easily avoided. Addressing the problems depicted in the previous posts, however, would require a sinificantly more precise analysis of the binary code, which is expensive and comes with its own risks.

Concluding from these facts, my evaluation is that Detours is a decent technology for hooking explicitly chosen functions — functions you may know the disassembly of and whose “detourability” can be tested. In contrast to this, I consider Detours an inappropriate technology for hooking functions determined at runtime, i.e. functions you may not know and whose “detourability” cannot be tested. Using Detours for implementing tracing functionality, as suggested by one of the samples, should thus be considered not a particularly good idea.

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About me

Johannes Passing lives in Berlin, Germany and works as a Solutions Architect at Google Cloud.

While mostly focusing on Cloud-related stuff these days, Johannes still enjoys the occasional dose of Win32, COM, and NT kernel mode development.

He also is the author of cfix, a C/C++ unit testing framework for Win32 and NT kernel mode, Visual Assert, a Visual Studio Unit Testing-AddIn, and NTrace, a dynamic function boundary tracing toolkit for Windows NT/x86 kernel/user mode code.

Contact Johannes: jpassing (at) hotmail com

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