Dectect syscall hooking using eBPF



Detect Kernel Rootkits hooking syscalls


Kernel Rootkits such as Diamorphine hook various syscall functions so they can either:

  • Hide files and processes from usermode applications, by altering the data returned from the Kernel
  • Facilitate a covert channel from usermode-kernel to trigger actions such as priliege escallation

This project attempts to detect this syscall hooking using eBPF, and it's ability to get kernel stack traces. HookDetect monitors the following syscalls:

  • kill
    • Used to send signals to other processes
  • getdents and getdents64
    • Used to list files and folders

HookDetect will check every use of these syscalls to check two things:

  • How many stack frames are there between the initial kernel entrypoint and the actual syscall function
    • This detects when a hook interposes on the function to alter it's return data
  • After the kernel detected the processes making a syscall, was the read function actually called?
    • This detect for the covert-channel uses where the real syscall is not actually run


For more details, see this blog: Detecting kernel hooking using eBPF

This code has been tested on:

  • Ubuntu 21.04, Kernel 5.11.0-17
  • RHEL 7.6, Kernel 3.10.0-957


To use pre-build binaries, grab them from the Releases page.

To build from source, do the following:


As this code makes use of CO-RE, it requires a recent version of Linux that has BTF Type information. See these notes in the libbpf README for more information. For example Ubuntu requries Ubuntu 20.10+.

To build it requires these dependecies:

  • zlib
  • libelf
  • libbfd
  • clang 11
  • make

On Ubuntu these can be installed by

sudo apt install build-essential clang-11 libelf-dev zlib1g-dev libbfd-dev libcap-dev libfd-dev


To Build from source, recusivly clone the respository the run make in the src directory to build:

git clone --recusrive
cd bpf-hookdetect/src

The binaries will built into bpf-hookdetect/src/bin.


To run, run the hookdetect binary as root. If the program detects a function was hooked, it will print the syscall name, along with the process and PID:

$> sudo ./bpf-hookdetect/src/bin/hookdetect
sys_getdents64 is hooked for PID 2584743 (ls) - Real function called but data possibly altered
sys_kill is hooked for PID 2584087 (bash) - Real function not called

To print out the stack traces from each syscall logged, run hookdetect with --verbose:

$> sudo ./bpf-hookdetect/src/bin/hookdetect --verbose
    0xffffffff886b88e1 -> __x64_sys_kill
    0xffffffff89234d38 -> do_syscall_64
    0xffffffff8940008c -> entry_SYSCALL_64_after_hwframe
sys_kill is hooked for PID 2584087 (bash) - Real function called but data possibly altered

Example Test

To test, download, make, and install the Diamorphine rootkit. Once rootkit is installed, start hookdetect and run:

# Sending signal 63 is intercepted by Diamorphine, and real syscall function is not called
kill -63 0

# But when sending other signals the real function is called
kill -s 23 $$


The project's skeleton is adapted from libbpf-bootstrap

The code to convert stack addresses to function names is taken from the BCC Project

  • Recursive misspelled

    Recursive misspelled

    Minor issue with misspelling of git clone --recusrive

    Change to git clone --recursive

    opened by morrowd 0
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