BokuLoader - A Proof-Of-Concept Cobalt Strike Reflective Loader Which Aims To Recreate, Integrate, And Enhance Cobalt Strike's Evasion Features!

A proof-of-concept User-Defined Reflective Loader (UDRL) which aims to recreate, integrate, and enhance Cobalt Strike's evasion features!


Contributor Twitter Notable Contributions
Bobby Cooke @0xBoku Project original author and maintainer
Santiago Pecin @s4ntiago_p Reflective Loader major enhancements
Chris Spehn @ConsciousHacker Aggressor scripting
Joshua Magri @passthehashbrwn IAT hooking
Dylan Tran @d_tranman Reflective Call Stack Spoofing
James Yeung @5cript1diot Indirect System Calls

UDRL Usage Considerations

The built-in Cobalt Strike reflective loader is robust, handling all Malleable PE evasion features Cobalt Strike has to offer. The major disadvantage to using a custom UDRL is Malleable PE evasion features may or may not be supported out-of-the-box.

The objective of the public BokuLoader project is to assist red teams in creating their own in-house Cobalt Strike UDRL. The project aims to support all worthwhile CS Malleable PE evasion features. Some evasion features leverage CS integration, others have been recreated completely, and some are unsupported.

Before using this project, in any form, you should properly test the evasion features are working as intended. Between the C code and the Aggressor script, compilation with different versions of operating systems, compilers, and Java may return different results.

Evasion Features

BokuLoader Specific Evasion Features

  • Reflective callstack spoofing via synthetic frames.
  • Custom ASM/C reflective loader code
  • Indirect NT syscalls via HellsGate & HalosGate techniques
  • All memory protection changes for all allocation options are done via indirect syscall to NtProtectVirtualMemory
  • obfuscate "true" with custom UDRL Aggressor script implementation.
  • Loader will not copy headers raw beacon DLL to virtual beacon DLL. First 0x1000 bytes will be nulls.
  • XGetProcAddress for resolving symbols
  • Does not use Kernel32.GetProcAddress
  • xLoadLibrary for resolving DLL's base address & DLL Loading
  • For loaded DLLs, gets DLL base address from TEB->PEB->PEB_LDR_DATA->InMemoryOrderModuleList
  • Does not use Kernel32.LoadLibraryA
  • Caesar Cipher for string obfuscation
  • 100k UDRL Size
  • Import DLL names and import entry name strings are stomped in virtual beacon DLL.

Supported Malleable PE Evasion Features

Command Option(s) Supported
allocator HeapAlloc, MapViewOfFile, VirtualAlloc All supported via BokuLoader implementation
module_x64 string (DLL Name) Supported via BokuLoader implementation. Same DLL stomping requirements as CS implementation apply
obfuscate true/false HTTP/S beacons supported via BokuLoader implementation. SMB/TCP is currently not supported for obfuscate true. Details in issue. Accepting help if you can fix :)
entry_point RVA as decimal number Supported via BokuLoader implementation
cleanup true Supported via CS integration
userwx true/false Supported via BokuLoader implementation
sleep_mask (true/false) or (Sleepmask Kit+true) Supported. When using default "sleepmask true" (without sleepmask kit) set "userwx true". When using sleepmask kit which supports RX beacon.text memory (src47/Ekko) set "sleepmask true" && "userwx false".
magic_mz_x64 4 char string Supported via CS integration
magic_pe 2 char string Supported via CS integration
transform-x64 prepend escaped hex string BokuLoader.cna Aggressor script modification
transform-x64 strrep string string BokuLoader.cna Aggressor script modification
stomppe true/false Unsupported. BokuLoader does not copy beacon DLL headers over. First 0x1000 bytes of virtual beacon DLL are 0x00
checksum number Experimental. BokuLoader.cna Aggressor script modification
compile_time date-time string Experimental. BokuLoader.cna Aggressor script modification
image_size_x64 decimal value Unsupported
name string Experimental. BokuLoader.cna Aggressor script modification
rich_header escaped hex string Experimental. BokuLoader.cna Aggressor script modification
stringw string Unsupported
string string Unsupported


Project Origins


  1. Compile the BokuLoader Object file with make
  2. Start your Cobalt Strike Team Server
  3. Within Cobalt Strike, import the BokuLoader.cna Aggressor script
  4. Generate the x64 beacon (Attacks -> Packages -> Windows Executable (S))
  5. Use the Script Console to ensure BokuLoader was implemented in the beacon build

  6. Does not support x86 option. The x86 bin is the original Reflective Loader object file.

  7. Generating RAW beacons works out of the box. When using the Artifact Kit for the beacon loader, the stagesize variable must be larger than the default.
  8. See the Cobalt Strike User-Defined Reflective Loader documenation for additional information

Detection Guidance

Hardcoded Strings

  • BokuLoader changes some commonly detected strings to new hardcoded values. These strings can be used to signature BokuLoader:
Original Cobalt Strike String BokuLoader Cobalt Strike String
ReflectiveLoader BokuLoader
Microsoft Base Cryptographic Provider v1.0 12367321236742382543232341241261363163151d
(admin) (tomin)
beacon bacons

Memory Allocators

DLL Module Stomping

  • The Kernel32.LoadLibraryExA is called to map the DLL from disk
  • The 3rd argument to Kernel32.LoadLibraryExA is DONT_RESOLVE_DLL_REFERENCES (0x00000001)
  • the system does not call DllMain
  • Does not resolve addresses in LDR PEB entry as detailed by MDSec here
  • Detectable by scanning process memory with pe-sieve tool

Heap Allocation

  • Executable RX or RWX memory will exist in the heap if sleepmask kit is not used.

Mapped Allocator

  • The Kernel32.CreateFileMappingA & Kernel32.MapViewOfFile is called to allocate memory for the virtual beacon DLL.

Sleepmask Detection

Indirect Syscalls

  • BokuLoader calls the following NT systemcalls to setup the loaded executable beacon memory: NtAllocateVirtualMemory, NtProtectVirtualMemory
  • These are called indirectly from the BokuLoader executable memory.
  • Setting userland hooks in ntdll.dll will not detect these systemcalls.
  • It may be possible to register kernelcallbacks using a kernel driver to monitor for the above system calls and detect their usage.
  • The BokuLoader itself will contain the mov eax, r11d; mov r11, r10; mov r10, rcx; jmp r11 assembly instructions within its executable memory.

Virtual Beacon DLL Header

  • The first 0x1000 bytes of the virtual beacon DLL are zeros.

Source Code Available

  • The BokuLoader source code is provided within the repository and can be used to create memory signatures.
  • If you have additional detection guidance, please feel free to contribute by submitting a pull request.

Credits / References

Reflective Call Stack Spoofing

Reflective Loader

HalosGate SysCaller

  • Reenz0h from @SEKTOR7net
  • Checkout Reenz0h's awesome courses and blogs!
  • Best classes for malware development I have taken.
  • Creator of the halos gate technique. His work was initially the motivation for this work.
  • Sektor7 HalosGate Blog

HellsGate Syscaller

Aggressor Scripting

Cobalt Strike User Defined Reflective Loader


Great Resource for learning Intel ASM

ETW and AMSI Bypass

Implementing ASM in C Code with GCC


Cobalt Strike C2 Profiles

BokuLoader - A Proof-Of-Concept Cobalt Strike Reflective Loader Which Aims To Recreate, Integrate, And Enhance Cobalt Strike's Evasion Features! BokuLoader - A Proof-Of-Concept Cobalt Strike Reflective Loader Which Aims To Recreate, Integrate, And Enhance Cobalt Strike's Evasion Features! Reviewed by Zion3R on 11:41 AM Rating: 5