Windows Local Privilege Escalation MS16-032


Windows Local Privilege Escalation (LPE) is a technique used by attackers to gain access to higher levels of privilege on a Windows system. This type of attack can be devastating to an organization, as it allows the attacker to gain access to sensitive information and perform malicious actions with little detection. In this article, we will explore the different methods used for Windows LPE, including common vulnerabilities and exploit techniques, as well as best practices for preventing and detecting Windows LPE attacks.

The Windows operating system is widely used in both corporate and personal settings, making it a prime target for attackers. Windows LPE attacks can occur through a variety of means, such as exploiting software vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, or by utilizing tools and techniques to bypass security controls. Understanding the various methods used in Windows LPE attacks is crucial for effective security defense against this type of threat.

In this article, we will cover in details the various techniques of Windows LPE attacks and will explore the common vulnerabilities that can be exploited. We will also provide an overview of the tools and techniques used to detect and prevent these attacks. With this knowledge, you will be better equipped to secure your organization against Windows LPE attacks, and better protect your sensitive data and systems.

Windows Local Privilege Escalation

I was utilizing a lab environment from (Lab 11) for this tutorial. I established a SSH tunnel to access the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) port on the DMZ machine.

SSH Tunneling to RDP

After brute-forcing the login using the tool Patator, I was able to connect to the Windows machine, but with limited permission (non-administrator).

I then utilized the vulnerability, CVE-2016-032, to perform Windows Local Privilege Escalation. This vulnerability exists in Microsoft Windows due to the failure of the Windows Secondary Logon Service to properly manage request handles in memory. By exploiting this vulnerability, an attacker could run arbitrary code as an administrator, allowing them to install programs, view, change, or delete data, or create new accounts with full user rights.

After researching, I found a local exploit for Windows 7 – Windows 10 (both 32/64bit). By successfully exploiting this vulnerability, I was able to gain system access.

Windows Local Privilege Escalation

Microsoft Windows 7 < 10 / 2008 < 2012 R2 (x86/x64) - Local Privilege Escalation (MS16-032) (PowerShell)

Done, we got the system access.


In conclusion, Windows Local Privilege Escalation (LPE) is a technique used by attackers to gain access to higher levels of privilege on a Windows system. It is crucial for organizations to understand the methods used in Windows LPE attacks, including common vulnerabilities and exploit techniques, in order to effectively prevent and detect such attacks. Through the use of tools like Patator and understanding of vulnerabilities such as CVE-2016-0099, it is possible to gain access to a Windows system with limited permission and escalate privileges to an administrator level. It is also important to keep in mind that LPE can be achieved through various means and it’s necessary to have a comprehensive approach to detect and prevent them.

It is also important for organizations to stay up-to-date with security patches and updates, conduct regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, and ensure that all systems are properly configured and secured. Additionally, it is essential to implement security best practices, such as least privilege principle and maintaining secure coding practices, to prevent LPE attacks in the first place. With a comprehensive security strategy in place and awareness of LPE methods and techniques, organizations can better protect themselves against this type of threat.

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