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Ptrace Code Injection Detection


The PtraceCodeInjection signature is tailored to identify attempts at code injection through the use of the ptrace system call. The signature specifically looks for the PTRACE_POKETEXT and PTRACE_POKEDATA requests, commonly used for altering the target process's memory. Code injection is a sophisticated attack vector, allowing attackers to run arbitrary code within the context of another process.


Code injection is a pervasive technique used by adversaries to execute malicious payloads within other processes, evading detection and leveraging the permissions of the injected process. This can enable them to operate stealthily, as the malicious operations appear to be coming from a legitimate process.

The ptrace system call, especially with the PTRACE_POKETEXT and PTRACE_POKEDATA requests, can be exploited for such purposes. By monitoring these specific requests, this signature can detect attempts to write to another process's memory, signaling potential code injection attempts.


The primary objective of the PtraceCodeInjection signature is to detect and raise alerts regarding potential code injection attempts using ptrace. Such detection is vital because, if successful, the attacker can assume the identity of another process, potentially gaining elevated privileges and evading detection mechanisms.


  • ID: TRC-103
  • Version: 1
  • Name: Code injection detected using ptrace
  • EventName: ptrace_code_injection
  • Description: The signature is specifically crafted to detect potential code injection attempts into another process using the ptrace system call. Code injection is a method used by adversaries to execute malicious code within the confines of another process, effectively evading detection and leveraging the permissions of the injected process.
  • Properties:
  • Severity: 3 (Moderate to high threat level)
  • Category: defense-evasion
  • Technique: Ptrace System Calls
  • Kubernetes_Technique: N/A
  • id: attack-pattern--ea016b56-ae0e-47fe-967a-cc0ad51af67f
  • external_id: T1055.008


Upon detecting a potential code injection attempt, the signature returns a Finding data structure, which entails:

  • SigMetadata: Metadata detailing the threat according to the signature's specifications.
  • Event: Provides an in-depth account of the specific event that triggered the signature's detection mechanism.
  • Data: Currently set to nil, indicating no additional data accompanies this structure.

Events Used

The detection capabilities of this signature rely primarily on the following event:

  • ptrace: Triggered when the ptrace system call is utilized. The signature meticulously evaluates the request type to determine if there's an invocation of either PTRACE_POKETEXT or PTRACE_POKEDATA, indicating a potential code injection attempt.