Archive for February 2nd, 2007

Crash Dump Analysis Patterns (Part 8)

Friday, February 2nd, 2007

Today I will talk about another pattern occurring frequently and I call it Hidden Exception. You run !analyze -v command and you don’t see an exception or you see only a breakpoint hit. In this case manual analysis is required. This happens sometimes because of another pattern: Multiple Exceptions. In other cases an exception happens and it is handled by an exception handler dismissing it and a process continues execution slowly accumulating corruption inside its data leading to a new crash or hang. Sometimes you see a process hanging during its termination like the case I present here.

We have a process dump with only one thread:

0:000> kv
ChildEBP RetAddr
0096fcdc 7c822124 ntdll!KiFastSystemCallRet
0096fce0 77e6baa8 ntdll!NtWaitForSingleObject+0xc
0096fd50 77e6ba12 kernel32!WaitForSingleObjectEx+0xac
0096fd64 67f016ce kernel32!WaitForSingleObject+0x12
0096fd78 7c82257a component!DllInitialize+0xc2
0096fd98 7c8118b0 ntdll!LdrpCallInitRoutine+0x14
0096fe34 77e52fea ntdll!LdrShutdownProcess+0x130
0096ff20 77e5304d kernel32!_ExitProcess+0x43
0096ff34 77bcade4 kernel32!ExitProcess+0x14
0096ff40 77bcaefb msvcrt!__crtExitProcess+0x32
0096ff70 77bcaf6d msvcrt!_cinit+0xd2
0096ff84 77bcb555 msvcrt!_exit+0x11
0096ffb8 77e66063 msvcrt!_endthreadex+0xc8
0096ffec 00000000 kernel32!BaseThreadStart+0x34

We can look at its raw stack and try to find the following address:


This function calls RtlDispatchException:

0:000> !teb
TEB at 7ffdc000
    ExceptionList:        0096fd40
    StackBase:            00970000
    StackLimit:           0096a000
    SubSystemTib:         00000000
    FiberData:            00001e00
    ArbitraryUserPointer: 00000000
    Self:                 7ffdc000
    EnvironmentPointer:   00000000
    ClientId:             00000858 . 000008c0
    RpcHandle:            00000000
    Tls Storage:          00000000
    PEB Address:          7ffdd000
    LastErrorValue:       0
    LastStatusValue:      c0000135
    Count Owned Locks:    0
    HardErrorMode:        0

0:000>dds 0096a000 00970000
0096c770  7c8140cc ntdll!RtlDispatchException+0x91
0096c774  0096c808
0096c778  0096ffa8
0096c77c  0096c824
0096c780  0096c7e4
0096c784  77bc6c74 msvcrt!_except_handler3
0096c788  00000000
0096c78c  0096c808
0096c790  01030064
0096c794  00000000
0096c798  00000000
0096c79c  00000000
0096c7a0  00000000
0096c7a4  00000000
0096c7a8  00000000
0096c7ac  00000000
0096c7b0  00000000
0096c7b4  00000000
0096c7b8  00000000
0096c7bc  00000000
0096c7c0  00000000
0096c7c4  00000000
0096c7c8  00000000
0096c7cc  00000000
0096c7d0  00000000
0096c7d4  00000000
0096c7d8  00000000
0096c7dc  00000000
0096c7e0  00000000
0096c7e4  00000000
0096c7e8  00970000
0096c7ec  00000000
0096c7f0  0096caf0
0096c7f4  7c82ecc6 ntdll!KiUserExceptionDispatcher+0xe
0096c7f8  0096c000
0096c7fc  0096c824 ; a pointer to an exception context
0096c800  0096c808
0096c804  0096c824
0096c808  c0000005
0096c80c  00000000
0096c810  00000000
0096c814  77bd8df3 msvcrt!wcschr+0×15
0096c818  00000002
0096c81c  00000000
0096c820  01031000
0096c824  0001003f
0096c828  00000000
0096c82c  00000000
0096c830  00000000
0096c834  00000000
0096c838  00000000
0096c83c  00000000

A second parameter to both functions is a pointer to a so called exception context (processor state when an exception occurred). We can use .cxr command to change thread execution context to what it was at the time of exception:

After changing the context we can see thread stack prior to that exception:

0:000> kL
ChildEBP RetAddr
0096caf0 67b11808 msvcrt!wcschr+0×15
0096cb10 67b1194d component2!function1+0×50
0096cb24 67b11afb component2!function2+0×1a
0096eb5c 67b11e10 component2!function3+0×39
0096ed94 67b14426 component2!function4+0×155
0096fdc0 67b164b7 component2!function5+0×3b
0096fdcc 00402831 component2!function6+0×5b
0096feec 0096ff14 program!function+0×1d1
0096ffec 00000000 kernel32!BaseThreadStart+0×34

We see that the exception happened when component2 was searching a Unicode string for a character (wcschr). Most likely the string was not zero terminated:

To summarize and show you the common exception handling path in user space here is another thread stack taken from a different dump:

ntdll!RtlpCoalesceFreeBlocks+0×36e ; crash is here

When RtlpCoalesceFreeBlocks (this function compacts heap and it is called from RtlFreeHeap) does an illegal memory access then this exception is first processed in kernel and because it happened in user space and mode the execution is transferred to RtlDispatchException which searches for exception handler and in this case there is a default one installed: UnhandledExceptionFilter.

If you see this function on call stack you can also manually get an exception context and a thread stack leading to it like in this example below taken from other dump:

The most likely reason of this crash is an instance of Dynamic Memory Corruption pattern - heap corruption.

- Dmitry Vostokov -