SSH or Secure Shell or Secure Socket Shell, is a network protocol that gives users a secure way to access a computer over an unsecured network.Default port: 22
# nmap Scan Result showing SSH is running 22/tcp open ssh syn-ack
- openSSH – OpenBSD SSH, shipped in BSD, Linux distributions and Windows since Windows 10
- Dropbear – SSH implementation for environments with low memory and processor resources, shipped in OpenWrt
- PuTTY – SSH implementation for Windows, the client is commonly used but the use of the server is rarer
- CopSSH – implementation of OpenSSH for Windows
SSH libraries (implementing server-side):
- libssh – multiplatform C library implementing the SSHv2 protocol with bindings in Python, Perl and R; it’s used by KDE for sftp and by GitHub for the git SSH infrastructure
- wolfSSH – SSHv2 server library written in ANSI C and targeted for embedded, RTOS, and resource-constrained environments
- Apache MINA SSHD – Apache SSHD java library is based on Apache MINA
- paramiko – Python SSHv2 protocol library
nc -vn <IP> 22
ssh-audit is a tool for ssh server & client configuration auditing.
https://github.com/jtesta/ssh-audit is an updated fork from https://github.com/arthepsy/ssh-audit/
- SSH1 and SSH2 protocol server support;
- analyze SSH client configuration;
- grab banner, recognize device or software and operating system, detect compression;
- gather key-exchange, host-key, encryption and message authentication code algorithms;
- output algorithm information (available since, removed/disabled, unsafe/weak/legacy, etc);
- output algorithm recommendations (append or remove based on recognized software version);
- output security information (related issues, assigned CVE list, etc);
- analyze SSH version compatibility based on algorithm information;
- historical information from OpenSSH, Dropbear SSH and libssh;
- runs on Linux and Windows;
- no dependencies
usage: ssh-audit.py [-1246pbcnjvlt] <host> -1, --ssh1 force ssh version 1 only -2, --ssh2 force ssh version 2 only -4, --ipv4 enable IPv4 (order of precedence) -6, --ipv6 enable IPv6 (order of precedence) -p, --port=<port> port to connect -b, --batch batch output -c, --client-audit starts a server on port 2222 to audit client software config (use -p to change port; use -t to change timeout) -n, --no-colors disable colors -j, --json JSON output -v, --verbose verbose output -l, --level=<level> minimum output level (info|warn|fail) -t, --timeout=<secs> timeout (in seconds) for connection and reading (default: 5) $ python3 ssh-audit <IP>
Public SSH key of server
ssh-keyscan -t rsa <IP> -p <PORT>
Weak Cipher Algorithms
This is discovered by default by nmap. But you can also use sslcan or sslyze.
# Send default nmap scripts for SSH nmap -p22 <ip> -sC # Retrieve version nmap -p22 <ip> -sV # Retrieve supported algorythms nmap -p22 <ip> --script ssh2-enum-algos # Retrieve weak keys nmap -p22 <ip> --script ssh-hostkey --script-args ssh_hostkey=full # Check authentication methods nmap -p22 <ip> --script ssh-auth-methods --script-args="ssh.user=root"
Brute force usernames, passwords and private keys
In some versions of OpenSSH you can make a timing attack to enumerate users. You can use a metasploit module in order to exploit this:
# Metasploit msfconsole msf> use scanner/ssh/ssh_enumusers
Some common ssh credentials here and here and below.
Private/Public Keys BF
If you know some ssh private key that could be used... lets try it. You can use the nmap script:
Or the MSF auxiliary module:
# Metasploit msfconsole msf> use scanner/ssh/ssh_identify_pubkeys
Known badkeys can be found here:
You should look here in order to search for valid keys for the victim machine.
crackmapexec using the
ssh protocol can use the option
--kerberos to authenticate via kerberos. For more info run
crackmapexec ssh --help.
|Brocade||admin||admin123, password, brocade, fibranne|
|Cisco||admin, cisco, enable, hsa, pix, pnadmin, ripeop, root, shelladmin||admin, Admin123, default, password, secur4u, cisco, Cisco, _Cisco, cisco123, C1sco!23, Cisco123, Cisco1234, TANDBERG, change_it, 12345, ipics, pnadmin, diamond, hsadb, c, cc, attack, blender, changeme|
|Citrix||root, nsroot, nsmaint, vdiadmin, kvm, cli, admin||C1trix321, nsroot, nsmaint, kaviza, kaviza123, freebsd, public, rootadmin, wanscaler|
|D-Link||admin, user||private, admin, user|
|Dell||root, user1, admin, vkernel, cli||calvin, 123456, password, vkernel, Stor@ge!, admin|
|EMC||admin, root, sysadmin||EMCPMAdm7n, Password#1, Password123#, sysadmin, changeme, emc|
|HP/3Com||admin, root, vcx, app, spvar, manage, hpsupport, opc_op||admin, password, hpinvent, iMC123, pvadmin, passw0rd, besgroup, vcx, nice, access, config, 3V@rpar, 3V#rpar, procurve, badg3r5, OpC_op, !manage, !admin|
|Huawei||admin, root||123456, admin, root, Admin123, Admin@storage, Huawei12#$, HwDec@01, hwosta2.0, HuaWei123, fsp200@HW, huawei123|
|IBM||USERID, admin, manager, mqm, db2inst1, db2fenc1, dausr1, db2admin, iadmin, system, device, ufmcli, customer||PASSW0RD, passw0rd, admin, password, Passw8rd, iadmin, apc, 123456, cust0mer|
|Oracle||root, oracle, oravis, applvis, ilom-admin, ilom-operator, nm2user||changeme, ilom-admin, ilom-operator, welcome1, oracle|
|VMware||vi-admin, root, hqadmin, vmware, admin||vmware, vmw@re, hqadmin, default|
If you are in the local network as the victim which is going to connect to the SSH server using username and password you could try to perform a MitM attack to steal those credentials:
- user traffic is redirected to the attacking machine
- the attacker monitors attempts to connect to the SSH server and redirects them to its SSH server
- the attacker's SSH server is configured, firstly, to log all entered data, including the user's password, and, secondly, send commands to the legitimate SSH server to which the user wants to connect, to execute them, and then return the results to the legitimate user
****SSH MITM **** does exactly what is described above.
In order to capture perform the actual MitM you could use techniques like ARP spoofing, DNS spoofin or others described in the Network Spoofing attacks.
By default most SSH server implementation will allow root login, it is advised to disable it because if the credentials of this accounts leaks, attackers will get administrative privileges directly and this will also allow attackers to conduct bruteforce attacks on this account.How to disable root login for openSSH:
- 1.Edit SSH server configuration
- 3.Take into account configuration changes:
sudo systemctl daemon-reload
- 4.Restart the SSH server
sudo systemctl restart sshd
SFTP command execution
Another common SSH misconfiguration is often seen in SFTP configuration. Most of the time when creating a SFTP server the administrator want users to have a SFTP access to share files but not to get a remote shell on the machine. So they think that creating a user, attributing him a placeholder shell (like
/usr/bin/false) and chrooting him in a jail is enough to avoid a shell access or abuse on the whole file system. But they are wrong, a user can ask to execute a command right after authentication before it’s default command or shell is executed. So to bypass the placeholder shell that will deny shell access, one only has to ask to execute a command (eg.
/bin/bash) before, just by doing:
$ ssh -v email@example.com id ... Password: debug1: Authentication succeeded (keyboard-interactive). Authenticated to 192.168.1.94 ([192.168.1.94]:22). debug1: channel 0: new [client-session] debug1: Requesting firstname.lastname@example.org debug1: Entering interactive session. debug1: pledge: network debug1: client_input_global_request: rtype email@example.com want_reply 0 debug1: Sending command: id debug1: client_input_channel_req: channel 0 rtype exit-status reply 0 debug1: client_input_channel_req: channel 0 rtype firstname.lastname@example.org reply 0 uid=1000(noraj) gid=100(users) groups=100(users) debug1: channel 0: free: client-session, nchannels 1 Transferred: sent 2412, received 2480 bytes, in 0.1 seconds Bytes per second: sent 43133.4, received 44349.5 debug1: Exit status 0 $ ssh email@example.com /bin/bash
Here is an example of secure SFTP configuration (
/etc/ssh/sshd_config – openSSH) for the user
Match User noraj ChrootDirectory %h ForceCommand internal-sftp AllowTcpForwarding no PermitTunnel no X11Forwarding no PermitTTY no
If you have access to a SFTP server you can also tunnel your traffic through this for example using the common port forwarding:
sudo ssh -L <local_port>:<remote_host>:<remote_port> -N -f <username>@<ip_compromised>
The sftp have the command "symlink". Therefor, if you have writable rights in some folder, you can create symlinks of other folders/files. As you are probably trapped inside a chroot this won't be specially useful for you, but, if you can access the created symlink from a no-chroot service (for example, if you can access the symlink from the web), you could open the symlinked files through the web.For example, to create a symlink from a new file "froot" to "/":
sftp> symlink / froot
If you can access the file "froot" via web, you will be able to list the root ("/") folder of the system.
On high security environment it’s a common practice to enable only key-based or two factor authentication rather than the simple factor password based authentication. But often the stronger authentication methods are enabled without disabling the weaker ones. A frequent case is enabling
publickey on openSSH configuration and setting it as the default method but not disabling
password. So by using the verbose mode of the SSH client an attacker can see that a weaker method is enabled:
$ ssh -v 192.168.1.94 OpenSSH_8.1p1, OpenSSL 1.1.1d 10 Sep 2019 ... debug1: Authentications that can continue: publickey,password,keyboard-interactive
For example if an authentication failure limit is set and you never get the chance to reach the password method, you can use the
PreferredAuthentications option to force to use this method.
$ ssh -v 192.168.1.94 -o PreferredAuthentications=password ... debug1: Next authentication method: password
Review the SSH server configuration is necessary to check that only expected methods are authorized. Using the verbose mode on the client can help to see the effectiveness of the configuration.
ssh_config sshd_config authorized_keys ssh_known_hosts known_hosts id_rsa
- You can find interesting guides on how to harden SSH in https://www.ssh-audit.com/hardening_guides.html