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Debug Registers


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Hey guys,


I am reading up on ARteam securom information.


What I am wondering is the following.


Deroko in his post is posting a  method to set hardware breakpoints to work his way around with the code splicing.


What I am mis understanding is the following code from the goodies dir there is vmtrace.asm.


In here he sets Dr0 with the following info:


mov [ecx.context_dr0], eax          //eax reg hold the address to breakpoint

mov [ecx.context_dr7], 10101h   //should be a breakpoint on write


What I am missing here is how did he calculate 10101h.


According to the intel manual, there is 31 bits:



19  18  17   16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0    BITS


0     0   1     0    0    0  0   0   0   1  0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0


LE  LE RW RW                                    3 3 2 2 1 1 0 0    DEBUG REGS


Based on the above I am doing the following:


I set bit 1 to enable global breakpoint for debug register 0


Than I set 0 to the other bits till 10, according to the intel manual bit 10 should be 1.


Bits 11 - 15 are set to 0


Bit 16 and 17 describes what type of breakpoint to set

According to the intel manual:

00 break on execution

01 break on write                  //Bit 16 = 0 - Bit 17 = 1?

10 break on read/ write

11 break on read/ write


Than bit 18 and 19 describe the size:

According to intel manual:

00 1 byte                             //Bit 18 = 0 - Bit 19 = 0 to tell 1 byte?

01 2 bytes

10 undefined/ 8 bytes

11 4 bytes


based on the above my results = 20402h


What am I missing here? as my breakpoint isn't triggered either, it only works when setting 10101h and I have no idea why.


Could someone explain to me how to work with these.


Thanks in advance.

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evlncrn8 the result from deroko = 10000000100000001 -> converted to hexadecimal as 10101h


My result = 100000010000000010 -> converted to hexadecimal as 20402h.


I have no idea why I am not getting the result he is getting.

It looks like he is setting lesser bits or I am missing an important thing here.

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Some time ago I wrote a usable hardware breakpoint structure + conversion to uint and vice-versa, so I decided to extend the thing a little.

Using this code (c++):

#include <stdio.h>#include <windows.h>enum HWBP_MODE{    MODE_DISABLED=0, //00    MODE_LOCAL=1, //01    MODE_GLOBAL=2 //10};enum HWBP_TYPE{    TYPE_EXECUTE=0, //00    TYPE_WRITE=1, //01    TYPE_READWRITE=3 //11};enum HWBP_SIZE{    SIZE_1=0, //00    SIZE_2=1, //01    SIZE_8=2, //10    SIZE_4=3 //11};struct DR7{    BYTE HWBP_MODE[4];    BYTE HWBP_TYPE[4];    BYTE HWBP_SIZE[4];};#define BITSET(a,x) (a|=1<<x)#define BITCLEAR(a,x) (a&=~(1<<x))#define BITTOGGLE(a,x) (a^=1<<x)#define BITGET(a,x) (a&(1<<x))ULONG_PTR dr7uint(DR7* dr7){    ULONG_PTR ret=0;    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_MODE[0],0))        BITSET(ret,0);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_MODE[0],1))        BITSET(ret,1);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_MODE[1],0))        BITSET(ret,2);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_MODE[1],1))        BITSET(ret,3);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_MODE[2],0))        BITSET(ret,4);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_MODE[2],1))        BITSET(ret,5);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_MODE[3],0))        BITSET(ret,6);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_MODE[3],1))        BITSET(ret,7);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_TYPE[0],0))        BITSET(ret,16);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_TYPE[0],1))        BITSET(ret,17);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_SIZE[0],0))        BITSET(ret,18);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_SIZE[0],1))        BITSET(ret,19);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_TYPE[1],0))        BITSET(ret,20);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_TYPE[1],1))        BITSET(ret,21);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_SIZE[1],0))        BITSET(ret,22);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_SIZE[1],1))        BITSET(ret,23);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_TYPE[2],0))        BITSET(ret,24);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_TYPE[2],1))        BITSET(ret,25);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_SIZE[2],0))        BITSET(ret,26);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_SIZE[2],1))        BITSET(ret,27);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_TYPE[3],0))        BITSET(ret,28);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_TYPE[3],1))        BITSET(ret,29);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_SIZE[3],0))        BITSET(ret,30);    if(BITGET(dr7->HWBP_SIZE[3],1))        BITSET(ret,31);    return ret;}void uintdr7(ULONG_PTR dr7, DR7* ret){    memset(ret, 0, sizeof(DR7));    if(BITGET(dr7,0))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_MODE[0],0);    if(BITGET(dr7,1))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_MODE[0],1);    if(BITGET(dr7,2))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_MODE[1],0);    if(BITGET(dr7,3))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_MODE[1],1);    if(BITGET(dr7,4))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_MODE[2],0);    if(BITGET(dr7,5))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_MODE[2],1);    if(BITGET(dr7,6))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_MODE[3],0);    if(BITGET(dr7,7))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_MODE[3],1);    if(BITGET(dr7,16))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_TYPE[0],0);    if(BITGET(dr7,17))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_TYPE[0],1);    if(BITGET(dr7,18))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_SIZE[0],0);    if(BITGET(dr7,19))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_SIZE[0],1);    if(BITGET(dr7,20))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_TYPE[1],0);    if(BITGET(dr7,21))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_TYPE[1],1);    if(BITGET(dr7,22))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_SIZE[1],0);    if(BITGET(dr7,23))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_SIZE[1],1);    if(BITGET(dr7,24))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_TYPE[2],0);    if(BITGET(dr7,25))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_TYPE[2],1);    if(BITGET(dr7,26))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_SIZE[2],0);    if(BITGET(dr7,27))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_SIZE[2],1);    if(BITGET(dr7,28))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_TYPE[3],0);    if(BITGET(dr7,29))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_TYPE[3],1);    if(BITGET(dr7,30))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_SIZE[3],0);    if(BITGET(dr7,31))        BITSET(ret->HWBP_SIZE[3],1);}int main(){    printf("size: %d\n", sizeof(DR7));    DR7 dr7;    memset(&dr7, 0, sizeof(DR7));    dr7.HWBP_MODE[0]=MODE_GLOBAL; //enable hardware breakpoint    dr7.HWBP_SIZE[0]=SIZE_4; //dword    dr7.HWBP_TYPE[0]=TYPE_READWRITE; //readwrite    ULONG_PTR dr7_=dr7uint(&dr7);    printf("dr7: %X\n", dr7_);    DR7 test;    uintdr7(dr7_, &test);    if(!memcmp(&test, &dr7, sizeof(DR7)))        puts("good!");    ULONG_PTR deroko=0x10101;    uintdr7(deroko, &test);    char* modes[]= {"MODE_DISABLED","MODE_LOCAL","MODE_GLOBAL"};    char* types[]= {"TYPE_EXECUTE","TYPE_WRITE","TYPE_IO","TYPE_READWRITE"};    char* sizes[]= {"SIZE_1","SIZE_2","SIZE_8","SIZE_4"};    for(int i=0; i<4; i++)        printf("HWBP%d:%s,%s,%s\n", i+1, modes[test.HWBP_MODE[i]], types[test.HWBP_SIZE[i]], sizes[test.HWBP_TYPE[i]]);    memset(&dr7, 0, sizeof(DR7));    dr7.HWBP_MODE[0]=MODE_GLOBAL; //enable hardware breakpoint    dr7.HWBP_SIZE[0]=SIZE_8; //dword    dr7.HWBP_TYPE[0]=TYPE_READWRITE; //readwrite    printf("dr7: %.16llX\n", dr7uint(&dr7)); //11110000000000000010    return 0;}
Prints me:
So you're setting a local hardware breakpoint (that's OK), on execute with size 2 (which is ignore iirc)

Also notice, that the code you provided:

mov [ecx.context_dr0], eax          //eax reg hold the address to breakpointmov [ecx.context_dr7], 10101h   //should be a breakpoint on write
will NOT work work x64, you should first set dr7 and then dr0 (otherwise dr0 gets reset):
mov [ecx.context_dr7], 10101h   //should be a breakpoint on writemov [ecx.context_dr0], eax          //eax reg hold the address to breakpoint
Seems like deroko made a small mistake in his paper..

EDIT: 0x10001 is the result of, so you should use that:

dr7.HWBP_MODE[0]=MODE_LOCAL; //enable hardware breakpointdr7.HWBP_SIZE[0]=SIZE_1; //byte+word+dword(+qword)dr7.HWBP_TYPE[0]=TYPE_WRITE; //write
Edited by Mr. eXoDia
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will NOT work work x64, you should first set dr7 and then dr0 (otherwise dr0 gets reset):


what do you mean? you're only modifying a struct in memory, as long as you call SetContext() only once, you'll be fine.

Also, writing to a dr register does not have any sideeffects on other dr registers, to my knowledge (x86 and x64).



merry christmas, btw! :)

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Thanks for the information.

I am trying to do it in ASM, will see what I can make out of this C++ information.

Atm the results still don't make sense to me, and all the results are giving me are stack overflows (as the breakpoint is never triggered).


So: 10001 = the right result, but I still don't understand how to calculate them manually by setting the bits.



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would set a data breakpoint on the address in DR0, local, on write for one byte.


The breakpoint would not work if


* there is no valid address in DR0

* the address is only read, not written to



as to the why:




VAs: DR0,DR1,DR2,DR3

Invalid: DR4,Dr5

Status: DR6

Flags: DR7

Bits     Meaning


        Flags for each of the 4 debug registers (2 for each).

        The first flag is set to specify a local breakpoint (so the CPU resets the flag when switching tasks),

        and the second flag is set to specify a global breakpoint.



        2 bits for each register, defining when the breakpoint will be triggered:

        00b - Triggers when code is executed

        01b - Triggers when data is written

        10b - Reserved

        11b - Triggers when data is read or written


        2 bits for each register, defining the size of the breakpoint:

        00b - 1 byte

        01b - 2 bytes

        10b - 8 bytes

        11b - 4 bytes

10001hex == 1-0000-0000-0000-0001bin


The rightmost flag (position 0) enabes a local breakpoint for DR0.

The leftmost flag (position 17) specifies "data written".

The 24th bit (not written) is zero and specifies "1 byte size".

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what do you mean? you're only modifying a struct in memory, as long as you call SetContext() only once, you'll be fine.

Also, writing to a dr register does not have any sideeffects on other dr registers, to my knowledge (x86 and x64).



merry christmas, btw! :)

Merry Christmas to you too!

Here is a video to show what I mean, not setting dr7 sort of 'locks' the dr0 register... But you're indeed right about the structure part, in this case it doesn't matter..


Edited by Mr. eXoDia
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  • 4 months later...

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