Exploiting internal tomcat server with SSRF - Insomnihack teaser 2017 Web 50 writeup

Jan 22, 2017 • ctf

Exploiting internal tomcat server (with default credentials) using SSRF (Insomnihack teaser 2017 Web 50 writeup)


After a break I started participating in CTFs again (The new year resolution was to participate in every single CTFs this year, lets see.. :P) and this year’s first CTF was Insomnihack teaser. The CTF was overall good and I guess most of the teams enjoyed playing it. So here is the writeup of Web 50:

Challenge Description:

Normal, regular cats are so 2000 and late, I decided to buy this allegedly smart tomcat robot Now the damn thing has attacked me and flew away. I can’t even seem to track it down on the broken search interface… Can you help me ?

Search interface

We are given a search interface in which we can enter the co-ordinates (latitude and longitude) and it searches for the missing cat. I decided to see how the parameters are getting send using burp and the results were interesting !

There is a parameter named u with the following value http://localhost:8080/index.jsp?x=1&y=1 when we enter 1 for both search values. This looks quite interesting so the first thing that came to my mind was RFI (Remote File Inclusion). Althrough I tried several methods to get code execution via RFI, it all failed so I decided to check the question from a different angle.

The name of the challenge is smart tomcat so there has to be something related to tomcat. So I tried to access an invalid page in the server which responded me back with the tomcat standard error page with version number (7.0.68) but that didn’t really lead me anywhere.


The next best thing to check is sensitive directories within tomcat and a quick Googling told me there is a tomcat manager usually on /manager path on the server. So lets try visit the same with u=http://localhost:8080/manager but unfortunately it was protected with HTTP basic authentication and we are not given any credentials ! After all this is a 50 point problem so it had to have the default credentials isn’t it ?

So lets try logging in with the default tomcat credentials which is tomcat:tomcat but how do we send the credentials ? We don’t have direct access to the server (that is we can visit it only via the u parameter and a direct access to it over browser URL was blocked) but we do can send the HTTP basic credentials over the URL itself in a standard format.

So finally, when we send u=http://tomcat:[email protected]:8080/manager/html it prints out the flag ! You can also do the same thing with curl: curl -d "u=http://tomcat:[email protected]:8080/manager/html" http://smarttomcat.teaser.insomnihack.ch/


1) https://github.com/psmiraglia/ctf/blob/master/kevgir/001-tomcat.md

Anirudh Anand

Web Application Security ♥ | Google, Microsoft, Zendesk Security Hall of Fames | Blogger by chance | CTF lover | Certifications - eWDP