In this previous topic, we have seen how Nmap can be used to perform port scanning against a given target.
Of course, this is just one of the capabilities of this great tool. In fact, another very useful feature is represented by Nmap Scripting Engine (NSE).
NSE allows to include scripts, coded with Lua programming language, inside Nmap and run them to perform networking tasks in an autonomous way: this includes discovery, version detection, vulnerability discovery and even exploitation.
This is the reason why there are different categories for the scripts inside the engine: auth, broadcast, default, discovery, dos, exploit, external, fuzzer, intrusive, malware, safe, version, and vuln. For a description of each one, take a look here.
It is possible to check the complete scripts list here. If you are using Kali Linux, the scripts folder is located at
/usr/share/nmap/scripts and scripts have the extension “.nse”.
In order to update scripts database, we can just run
As the help section reports, to run the engine with a predefined number of scripts, the parameter to use is “-sC”:
root@kali:~# nmap -h ..................................................................... SCRIPT SCAN: -sC: equivalent to --script=default --script=<Lua scripts>: <Lua scripts> is a comma separated list of directories, script-files or script-categories --script-args=<n1=v1,[n2=v2,...]>: provide arguments to scripts --script-args-file=filename: provide NSE script args in a file --script-trace: Show all data sent and received --script-updatedb: Update the script database. --script-help=<Lua scripts>: Show help about scripts. <Lua scripts> is a comma-separated list of script-files or script-categories.
This will execute all the scripts included in the “default” category against the specified target. It is recommended to use this option with caution, since some of the scripts included in the default category might be particularly intrusive.
Instead of launching the engine using a particular category, we can run a single script by using the
--script parameter. This can be done, for example, after a previous scan where we detected an active service on some port that might be of interest.
Since the best way to understand how a tool works is to practice with it, we will see an example of NSE capabilities using a laboratory environment composed by an attacking Kali Linux machine and a vulnerable target, Metaspoitable 2 VM.
Metasploitable 2: NFS misconfiguration
Considering the results of the Nmap scan performed on the target in this article, we can take a look at the following services:
PORT STATE SERVICE ...................... 111/tcp open rpcbind ...................... 2049/tcp open nfs
NFS means Network File System: this protocol allows, through Remote Procedure Calls (RPC), to share portion of file systems over a computer network. Since this machine is intentionally vulnerable, the service has been misconfigured on purpose and we can use NSE to detect the misconfiguration.
The script we are interested in is nfs-ls in the “discovery safe” category; to display the description we just use
--script-help followed by the name of the script:
root@kali:~# nmap --script-help nfs-ls Starting Nmap 7.40 ( https://nmap.org ) at 2017-02-18 19:30 CET nfs-ls Categories: discovery safe https://nmap.org/nsedoc/scripts/nfs-ls.html Attempts to get useful information about files from NFS exports. The output is intended to resemble the output of <code>ls</code>. The script starts by enumerating and mounting the remote NFS exports. After that it performs an NFS GETATTR procedure call for each mounted point in order to get its ACLs. For each mounted directory the script will try to list its file entries with their attributes. Since the file attributes shown in the results are the result of GETATTR, READDIRPLUS, and similar procedures, the attributes are the attributes of the local filesystem. These access permissions are shown only with NFSv3: * Read: Read data from file or read a directory. * Lookup: Look up a name in a directory (no meaning for non-directory objects). * Modify: Rewrite existing file data or modify existing directory entries. * Extend: Write new data or add directory entries. * Delete: Delete an existing directory entry. * Execute: Execute file (no meaning for a directory). Recursive listing is not implemented.
The target has IP address 192.168.1.100 (discovered, for example, using Netdiscover or Nmap itself), so we can start running the NFS discovery script against the machine.
In order to trigger as less alerts as possible, it is always a good idea to scan only ports we are focusing on. The port we are interested in is not the one on which runs the NFS service, but the “rpcbind” one: this service performs the task of routing requests between clients and NFS server.
Then, we can launch Nmap against port 111:
root@kali:~# nmap -p 111 --script=nfs-ls 192.168.1.100 Starting Nmap 7.40 ( https://nmap.org ) at 2017-02-19 09:14 CET Nmap scan report for metasploitable2 (192.168.1.100) Host is up (0.00012s latency). PORT STATE SERVICE 111/tcp open rpcbind | nfs-ls: Volume / | access: Read Lookup Modify Extend Delete NoExecute | PERMISSION UID GID SIZE TIME FILENAME | -rwx------ 0 0 134 2016-02-27T18:28:03 .7RSS8eUhMslnW9Zc | drwxr-xr-x 0 0 4096 2012-05-14T03:35:33 bin | drwxr-xr-x 0 0 4096 2016-03-06T13:45:42 home | drwxr-xr-x 0 0 4096 2010-03-16T22:57:40 initrd | lrwxrwxrwx 0 0 32 2010-04-28T20:26:18 initrd.img | drwxr-xr-x 0 0 4096 2012-05-14T03:35:22 lib | drwx------ 0 0 16384 2010-03-16T22:55:15 lost+found | drwxr-xr-x 0 0 4096 2010-03-16T22:55:52 media | drwxr-xr-x 0 0 4096 2010-04-28T20:16:56 mnt | drwxr-xr-x 0 0 4096 2012-05-14T01:54:53 sbin |_ MAC Address: 00:0C:29:59:72:BC (VMware) Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 0.43 seconds
As the outputs reports, we have the directory listing, with details about permissions, for the NFS share; the mounting point is the root directory “/” (
nfs-ls: Volume /).
This can be confirmed with a command for showing mount points:
root@kali:~# showmount -e 192.168.1.100 Export list for 192.168.1.100: / *
This shows a really bad configuration: NFS service is useful to share portions of the file system to predefined users or groups, but if it is not configured properly it can turn into a huge security risk like in this case where anyone can access the root directory remotely.
To verify the possibility to mount the volume, we can create a temporary directory and try to mount Metasploitable 2 root directory on it:
root@kali:~# mkdir /tmp/nfs root@kali:~# mount -o nolock -t nfs 192.168.1.100:/ /tmp/nfs root@kali:~# ls -l /tmp/nfs/ total 160 drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 May 14 2012 bin drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 4096 Apr 28 2010 boot lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 11 Apr 28 2010 cdrom -> media/cdrom drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 May 20 2012 dev drwxr-xr-x 95 root root 4096 Feb 19 09:01 etc drwxr-xr-x 6 root root 4096 Mar 6 2016 home drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Mar 16 2010 initrd lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 32 Apr 28 2010 initrd.img -> boot/initrd.img-2.6.24-16-server drwxr-xr-x 13 root root 4096 May 14 2012 lib drwx------ 2 root root 16384 Mar 16 2010 lost+found drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4096 Mar 16 2010 media drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 4096 Apr 28 2010 mnt -rw------- 1 root root 65699 Feb 19 09:01 nohup.out drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Mar 6 2016 opt dr-xr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Apr 28 2010 proc drwxr-xr-x 13 root root 4096 Feb 19 09:01 root drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 May 14 2012 sbin drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Mar 16 2010 srv drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Apr 28 2010 sys drwxrwxrwt 4 root root 4096 Feb 19 09:01 tmp drwxr-xr-x 12 root root 4096 Apr 28 2010 usr drwxr-xr-x 15 root root 4096 May 20 2012 var lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 29 Apr 28 2010 vmlinuz -> boot/vmlinuz-2.6.24-16-server
“ls -l” shows the mount operation has been executed successfully. Now, we can read or write files in the compromised machine.
Once we have done with it, we can unmount the volume with:
root@kali:~# umount /tmp/nfs
In this article we have seen how NSE can be used to discover useful information about the target system. Of course, this is just a simple example to give an idea of what you can do with the engine. Since everyone can contribute to the scripts, this project has a lot of potential because you can write your own code and run it in Nmap.
Take your time to practice with this powerful tool taking also a look at the other scripts categories.