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Module 08: Web Application Penetration Testing Methodology 7

Written By AKADEMY on Thursday, July 4, 2019 | 10:11 PM

Exercise 7: Exploiting WordPress Web Application Vulnerability by Uploading a Customized Shell


Some older versions of WordPress web application provide an option for the admin user to edit the footer, archive.php and 404.php files. If the admin employs weak user credentials to log in, and if an attacker is able to crack those credentials, there is a chance for the attacker to break into the account, upload a shell and gain access to the entire server hosting the web application,
As a penetration tester, you need to know how to create a customized php shell and identify the entry points where you can upload it.
This lab is a continuation of the previous lab exercise. In this lab, you are going to learn how to:
i. Create a customized php shell
ii. Identify the entry point and insert the shellcode in it, to gain access to the server
Lab Duration20 Minutes
  1. Click Kali Linux (External Network).
    If Kali Linux lock screen appears, click on the screen and press Enter. If it does not appear, skip to the next task.
  2. Type root in the Username field and click Next.
  3. Type toor in the Password field and click Sign In.
  4. Once you log in to Kali Linux, launch a web browser, type the URL in the address bar and press Enter.
    WordPress login page appears, enter the username and password you obtained in the previous lab exercise and click Log In.
  5. WordPress Dashboard appears as shown in the screenshot.
    As we can see in the dashboard, there are no plugins installed on the web application, meaning there is no specific attack vector to gain access the machine hosting the application.
    We will now target the WordPress theme file 404.php from Theme Editor.
    We can update the content of this file with that of the shell content, which we will be preparing using the b374k shell.
  6. Now, we need to launch WordPress Theme Editor.
    To launch, hover the mouse cursor on Appearance menu in the left pane and click Editor.
  7. Heads Up! pop-up appears, click I understand.
  8. Theme Editor window appears, click 404 Template in the right pane to edit the 404.phpfile.
  9. 404 Template file content appears, select all content in the file.
  10. Minimize the web browser, launch a command line terminal and issue the command cd b374k-master to change directory to b374k-master.
  11. Type the command php -f index.php -- -o shell.php -s -b -z gzcompress -c 9 and press Enter.
    This creates a php shell as shown in the screenshot:
  12. Now, close the command line terminal, navigate to home --> b374k-master folder and double-click shell.php file.
  13. shell.php file opens in a text editor, displaying the file content.
    You need to copy this content and paste it into the file content of 404.php.
    So, select all the content and copy it.
  14. Maximize the web browser and replace the content of 404 Template with the shell content.
  15. You will see that the 404 Template content is replaced with the shell content. Now, click Update File to update the template's content with that of the shell.
  16. Now, shell content to the 404.php file is uploaded successfully in Twentyseventeentheme.
    If we browse this file, we will gain shell access to the machine hosting this website. We need to know the directory structure to browse the file.
    We will be using directory browsing tool DirBuster in the next lab exercise to identify the directory location of the twentyseventeen theme, where 404.php is stored.
In this lab, you have learned how to:
i. Create a customized php shell
ii. Identify the entry point and insert the shellcode in it, to gain access to the server
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