Published on September 18th, 2023 📆 | 7496 Views ⚑0
Razer Synapse Race Condition / DLL Hijacking – Torchsec
Product: Razer Synapse
Manufacturer: Razer Inc.
Affected Version(s): Versions before 3.8.0428.042117 (20230601)
Tested Version(s): 3.8.0228.022313 (20230315)
under Windows 10 Pro (10.0.19044)
under Windows 11 Home (10.0.22621)
Vulnerability Type: Improper Privilege Management (CWE-269)
Time-of-check Time-of-use Race Condition
Risk Level: High
Solution Status: Fixed
Manufacturer Notification: 2023-03-23
Solution Date: 2023-04-28
Public Disclosure: 2023-08-31
CVE Reference: CVE-2022-47631
Author of Advisory: Dr. Oliver Schwarz, SySS GmbH
Razer Synapse is an additional driver software for Razer gaming devices.
The manufacturer describes the product as a "unified cloud-based
hardware configuration tool" (see ).
Due to an unsafe installation path, improper privilege management, and a
time-of-check time-of-use race condition, the associated system service
"Razer Synapse Service" is vulnerable to DLL hijacking.
As a result, local Windows users can abuse the Razer driver installer to
obtain administrative privileges on Windows.
In order to exploit the vulnerability, the attacker needs physical
access to the machine and needs to prepare the attack before Razer
Synapse is installed along with a Razer driver.
The attack scenario considers a Windows machine without any previous
installation of any Razer device or software.
The attacker has a local unprivileged Windows account, physical access
to the machine, and a device which is either a Razer peripheral or able
to pretend to be one (such as a Bash Bunny or a Raspberry Pi Zero).
The attacker aims at executing code with full system privileges.
The attack exploits the Razer Synapse Service which runs with elevated
privileges. While the main binary of the service is stored in the
protected location "C:\Program Files (x86)\Razer\Synapse3\Service", it
dynamically loads libraries from
Before the installation, standard users can write to this path, since
"C:\ProgramData" is world-writable on a standard installation of
The Synapse installation procedure changes access privileges, so that
standard users cannot write to the path any longer.
However, if the path is created before the driver installation, the
creator can set own files to be read-only and deny write access for
the SYSTEM user.
Upon start, the Synapse service checks the location for foreign DLLs,
removes them, and aborts upon failure to delete them.
However, due to a time-of-check time-of-use race condition, attackers
can replace a benign DLL after it has been checked and before it is
Note that the described vulnerability is similar to CVE-2021-44226
(SYSS-2021-058) and CVE-2022-47632 (SYSS-2022-047), which Razer Inc.
fixed in March and September of 2022, respectively.
The new attack differs from the earlier ones in that the attacker
now has to exploit a race condition.
Proof of Concept (PoC):
The attack consists of the following steps:
1. Before the installation of the driver/Synapse, the attacker creates
"C:\ProgramData\Razer\Synapse3\Service\bin", copies a custom
malicious version of userenv.dll into the directory, sets the DLL to
read-only, and denies write access for SYSTEM.
2. Afterwards, the attacker triggers the installation of Synapse.
This can be done without any elevated privileges by plugging in a
Razer device and following the installation procedure for Synapse
if device-specific co-installers are not disabled.
Alternatively, a device such as Bash Bunny or a Raspberry Pi Zero
can be used and pretend to be a Razer device.
3. With the help of a script, the attacker monitors the installation
progress. As soon as legitimate DLL files show up in the directory,
the attacker temporarily overwrites the malicious DLL with a
legitimate one, waits for the DLL to be assessed (i.e., read), and
then quickly copies back the malicious content to the DLL before it
is actually loaded and executed.
Razer has published a patched version that will be deployed automatically
upon driver installation on current Windows builds.
To prevent similar attacks through other co-installers, system
administrators can disable them by setting the following key in the
Installer\DisableCoInstallers = 1
2022-12-19: Vulnerability discovered
2023-03-23: Vulnerability reported to manufacturer
2023-04-28: Patch released by manufacturer
2023-08-31: Public disclosure of vulnerability
 Product website for Razer Synapse 3
 SySS Security Advisory SYSS-2023-002
 SySS Responsible Disclosure Policy
 SySS Proof of Concept Video
This security vulnerability was found by Dr. Oliver Schwarz of SySS GmbH.
Key ID: 0x9716294F1294280D
Key Fingerprint: D452 B014 E992 2886 E799 6B43 9716 294F 1294 280D
The information provided in this security advisory is provided "as is"
and without warranty of any kind. Details of this security advisory may
be updated in order to provide as accurate information as possible. The
latest version of this security advisory is available on the SySS Web
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