A screenshot of the EAF+ error generateted W=by the latest Google Chrome release when used with the defualt EMET config

PSA: The latest Google Chrome release trips EMET’s EAF+ mitigation

When Google Chrome updated to 53.0.2785.101 on my Windows systems, I encountered an onslaught of alerts from EMET, which was killing chrome.exe processes for EAF+ violations as fast as Chrome kept trying to spawn them (each tab in Chrome is a separate process). Luckily, this problem is easily fixable.

Event log flood

Here is one of many similar errors that were recorded in the Windows Application log in Event Viewer:

EMET version 5.51.6024.23768
EMET detected EAF+ (GuardPage) mitigation and will close the application: chrome.exe

EAF+ (guard page) check failed:
Application     : C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe
User Name     : sean
Session ID     : 1
PID         : 0x1FE4 (8164)
TID         : 0x9C8 (2504)
Module     : chrome_child.dll
Mod Base     : 0x00007FFE3CE90000
Mod Address     : 0x00007FFE3D66BDA5
Mem Address     : 0x00007FFE3CE901C8

What is EAF+?

Export Address Table Access Filtering Plus (EAF+) is described in the EMET User Guide as:

…an extension of EAF that can be used independently or in combination with EAF itself. Following is the list of actions that this mitigation performs:

  • Detects if the stack register is out of the allowed boundaries
  • Detects mismatch of stack and frame pointer registers;
  • Detects memory read access to export table pointers of KERNEL32, NTDLL and KERNELBASE originated from specific modules (typically used during the exploitation of memory corruption vulnerabilities);
  • Detects memory read accesses to the MZ/PE header of specific modules (typically used during the exploitation of memory corruption vulnerabilities).

The actions described in the last two bullet points require users to specify a set of modules that will be used for validation; if no modules are specified, these two actions will be ignored.

TL;DR? It Prevents processes from corrupting memory in ways that could be used to exploit vulnerabilities.

Why is this happening now?

EAF+ has been enabled for Chrome by default ever since the feature was added to EMET, and it has not caused issues until now. Most likely, a change was made to  chrome_child.dll in the new version of the browser that causes the DLL to access memory in an abnormal way.

What’s the fix?

Disable EAF+ for chrome.exe in EMET’s configuration until Chrome and/or EMET gets an update that will fix this. There are different ways of doing this, depending on how you deployed EMET.

Using the EMET GUI

Open the EMET GUI and click on Apps. Search for chrome, uncheck the EAF+ mitigation, and click OK.

A scrreenshot of the EMET app config for chrome.exe

Group Policy

Edit the Application Configuration option in the EMET Group Policy settings.

In the left column, enter:

*\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe

In the right column, enter:

-EAF+

Command line

Create a copy of C:\Program Files (x86)\EMET 5.5\Deployment\Protection Profiles\Popular Software.xml and edit it.

Locate the following:

  <Product Name="Chrome">
   <Version Arch="x86" Path="*\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe">
   <Mitigation Name="SEHOP" Enabled="true" MinOS="6.1"/>
   <Mitigation Name="EAF+" Enabled="true">
     <eaf_modules>chrome_child.dll</eaf_modules>
   </Mitigation>
 
   </Version>
 </Product>

Change

<Mitigation Name="EAF+" Enabled="true">

to

<Mitigation Name="EAF+" Enabled="false">

Save the file, distribute it to your systems, and run a command like this on each of them (write a script!):

C:\Program Files (x86)\EMET 5.5\EMET_Conf.exe --import Popular Software.xml

My EMET deployment scripts take care of this for you.

A little work for strong protection

EMET will occasionally break software. As a result, some don’t want to bother with it. But such problems are so rare, and so easily fixable that the benefits greatly outweigh a little extra work. Hopefully Google will release an update soon that will not require this EMET configuration change.

 

2 thoughts on “PSA: The latest Google Chrome release trips EMET’s EAF+ mitigation

  1. Hi Sean, I follow your Command line steps, but the annoy crash still happened. So what can I do? My chrome version is 55.0.2883.87 m (64-bit) and EMET 5.5. Btw, I set the GPO, “Default Protections for Popular Software” is enabled.

    • Sorry, I just noticed this comment. The GPO is overriding the local settings that you are trying to apply via command line. You will need to change the follow the GPO instructions in this article instead.

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