Need to get root on a Windows box? Plug in a Razer gaming mouse

Jim Salter

Ars Technica

This is definitely not a Razer mouse—but you get the idea.

Enlarge / This is definitely not a Razer mouse—but you get the idea. (credit: calvio via Getty Images)

This weekend, security researcher jonhat disclosed a long-standing security bug in the Synapse software associated with Razer gaming mice—during software installation, the wizard produces a clickable link to the location where the software will be installed. Clicking that link opens a File Explorer window to the proposed location—but that File Explorer spawns with SYSTEM process ID, not with the user's.

Have mouse, will root

  • The "Install Location" at the lower left is a clickable link that opens a File Explorer window to browse for non-standard locations. [credit: jonhat ]

By itself, this vulnerability in Razer Synapse sounds like a minor issue—after all, in order to launch a software installer with SYSTEM privileges, a user would normally need to have Administrator privileges themselves. Unfortunately, Synapse is a part of the Windows Catalog—which means that an unprivileged user can just plug in a Razer mouse, and Windows Update will cheerfully download and run the exploitable installer automatically.

Jonhat isn't the only—or even the first—researcher to discover and publicly disclose this bug. Lee Christensen publicly disclosed the same bug in July, and according to security researcher _MG_, who demonstrated it using an OMG cable to mimic the PCI Device ID of a Razer mouse and exploit the same vulnerability, researchers have been reporting it fruitlessly for more than a year.

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