NVIDIA GeForce Experience LPE



  • Local Privilege Escalation
  • Severity

  • High
  • Affected products

  • NVIDIA GeForce Experience
  • CVE Reference

  • CVE‑2018‑6261
2018-06-18 Informed NVIDIA Security of vulnerability with PoC exploit PS script
2018-06-18 NVIDIA PSRT Assigned a case number
2018-06-26 NVIDIA PSRT Confirmed the case was under review
2018-06-29 NVIDIA PSRT Confirmed the vulnerability
2018-09-27 NVIDIA PSRT Patched the vulnerability and assigned a CVE


NVIDIA GeForce Experience is a control panel used for configuring features of NVIDIA graphics cards and compatible games.

Prior to version 3.15 it was found to contain a Local Privilege Escalation vulnerability that would allow a local attacker or malware to escalate their privileges from user to System.


An attacker or malicious process could exploit this vulnerability locally to escalate their privileges to NT/SYSTEM.

The CVSS V3 Vector assigned to this vulnerability is AV:L/AC:L/PR:L/UI:N/S:C/C:H/I:H/A:H and a score of 8.8.


When enabled, the GeForce Experience Shield GameStream feature causes the 'NVIDA LocalSystem Container' System service to write a log file (C:\ProgramData\NVIDIA Corporation\ShadowPlay\CaptureCore.log); but when this file is created it does not assign any permissions and permitted anyone to modify the file.

A local attacker as any authenticated user can remove the log file and create a symlink allowing for arbitrary file creation (with any name) with System permissions while still allowing any user to modify the file once created. 


This vulnerability was patched in NVIDIA GeForce Experience 3.15 and now prevents non administrators from writing to the file.


Step 1: Disable GameStream

In order to remove the file we first need to disable the GameStream feature. This can be done manually via the GeForce Experience settings menu (Shield > GameStream)

From reverse engineering the application it was found that this can also be done by sending a HTTP POST request on localhost to the 'NVIDIA Web Helper' process.

Invoke-WebRequest -H @{'X_LOCAL_SECURITY_COOKIE' = 'B594AD049E213E3A910E42755D171130'} -Body '{"streamingEnabled":false}' -Method POST

The port number and the value for X_LOCAL_SECURITY_COOKIE can be found in the following file and may change between reboots:

C:\Users\SomeUser\AppData\Local\NVIDA Corporation\NvNode\nodejs.json


Step 2: Remove Shadowplay folder

With the feature disabled we can now remove the file and any other file in the same folder.

rm 'C:\ProgramData\NVIDIA Corporation\ShadowPlay\'

Step 3: Create Symlink

Next we need to create a symlink.

To do this without administrator rights we first need to create a Mount Point such that 'C:\ProgramData\NVIDIA Corporation\ShadowPlay' points to the "\RPC Control\" object directory. Then create a Symlink such that "\RPC Control\CaptureCore.log" points to "\\?\C:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\NvContainer\nvaudcap64v.dll"

A simple way to perform this is using James Forshaw's symboliclink-testing-tools (https://github.com/google/symboliclink-testing-tools)

CreateSymlink.exe "C:\ProgramData\NVIDIA Corporation\ShadowPlay\CaptureCore.log" "C:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\NvContainer\nvaudcap64v.dll"

Step 4: Enable GameStream

To trigger file creation we need to enable the GameStream feature again. We can either do this via the settings menu manually or via a POST request:

Invoke-WebRequest -H @{'X_LOCAL_SECURITY_COOKIE' = 'B594AD049E213E3A910E42755D171130'} -Body '{"streamingEnabled":true}' -Method POST

This action will try to create and write the log file "C:\ProgramData\NVIDIA Corporation\ShadowPlay\CaptureCore.log" but this will be redirected to create the file "C:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\NvContainer\nvaudcap64v.dll" without any permissions set.

Step 5: Modify DLL

The contents of the DLL can now be modified to contain malicious code that will be executed as system when it is loaded by 'NVIDIA LocalSystem Container'.

In this PoC we built a simple DLL that will spawn cmd.exe when loaded.

Step 6: Disable/Enable GameStream

This DLL is loaded whenever the GameStream feature is started so we first disable the GameSteam feature (Step 1) and then enable it again (Step 4).

We should also remove our symlink before re-enabling the service again.

When the GameStream feature is enabled it causes the 'NVIDIA LocalSystem Container' service to load the malicious DLL and execute malicious code as System within the processes of that service.