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Re: Penetration of HP/UX
From: Philipp Lachberger <ph_lachi () yahoo de>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2011 21:26:31 +0200

Hi all,

first off - sorry for the late reply.

Thanks for all the quick and helpful replies. I just thought I'd answer
in summary, thus summing up the threads.

The vulnerable system is HP/UX 11.0 (can't say anything about the
architecture though).

To all of those who pointed me to Exploit-DB and other Exploitation
Sites or Frameworks - Thanks!
I have looked most of them up before and haven't found anything (yet)
with a ported return address for HP/UX. The Sendmail version seems to be
vulnerable, so my next step concerning system exploitation would be
porting one of the Sendmail Exploits to HP/UX.

To all who found my deadly mistake of saying SPARC architecture instead
of PA-RISC - Thank you very much (at least I got the Endianess right ;-) )

Everyone who pointed me to Hydra or some other password guessing tool -
Thank you, I did that in parallel and have found a valid
username/password combination.
For all who don't know which word-lists to use and haven't had the money
to buy one, there's a site I can link you to (containing loads of free

@Marco: Thank you very much for the hint to phrack - didn't know there
was an issue on HP/UX exploits. But I'll definitely look into it right away

@Javatard: Thank you also for the hint on production systems - haven't
encountered any issues up to now, but I'll watch the system closely

Best Regards,

On 12.06.2011 21:11, Gilles LAMI wrote:
k logins and passwords may be a chance to enter and go forward (ProFTPD.)
Did you give it a try ?

On 13.06.2011 02:01, Paul Melson wrote:
HP-UX runs on either PA-RISC or Itanium CPUs, not SPARC.  And it's more an just the issue of endianness, the 
registers are different, etc.  But your general statement that x86 shellcode won't work on this system is correct.  

That said, you (or someone that knows IA64 ASM anyway) can write shellcode that will work in exploiting 
vulnerabilities on this box.  GIYF.

Otherwise, it's time for you to fire up hydra and guess some passwords. Or social.


On 13.06.2011 00:23, Nur Agus wrote:
Hi Phillip,

I have never done UX specific security audiy before, but yes I have been using my favorite port scanner and tools. 

UX is based on PA-RISC and IA64 Itanium, though PA-RISC has reached its end of sales last year I think. 

UX have different endian from Linux. It's endian is same with other UNIXes such as AIX and SOLARIS. 


On 12.06.2011 21:26, javatard wrote:
Careful, we run one in production and it is so old it doesn't do
TCP/IP natively. We have an adapter on it to do that. A lot of the old
systems do not know how to close empty connections (think nMap scan)
and if scanned too often they can crash.

Just my experience and thoughts.

On 13.06.2011 13:05, Marco Ivaldi wrote:

On Wed, 8 Jun 2011, Philipp Lachberger wrote:

Hello fellow pen-testers,

I've recently encountered a HP/UX Box in a penetration test. Now I've
been searching for materials on HP/UX as it is (over here) not a
common system to encounter.

Which version of HP-UX?

All I've found on public search engines were links to exploits from
2001. Have I just not searched thoroughly enough or are there hardly
any papers?

I would greatly appreciate it if you could give me directions to look

Here you can find some exploits:


That said, you don't necessarily need an exploit in order to
compromise a system (see a few examples below).

There are two services listening - Sendmail and ProFTPD, both not
obviously wrong configured.

Can you enumerate valid users via SMTP? Common things to try:

    $ telnet target 25
    220 target ESMTP Sendmail blah blah
    vrfy test
    550 5.1.1 test... User unknown
    vrfy root
    250 2.1.5 Super-User <root () target>
    $ telnet target 25
    220 target ESMTP Sendmail blah blah
    expn test
    550 5.1.1 test... User unknown
    expn root
    250 2.1.5 Super-User <root () target>
- RCPT TO (extremely common even with modern configurations)
    $ telnet target 25
    220 target ESMTP Sendmail blah blah
    helo foo
    250 target Hello blah blah, pleased to meet you
    mail from:<test () test com>
    250 2.1.0 <test () test com>... Sender ok
    rcpt to:test
    550 5.1.1 test... User unknown
    rcpt to:root
    250 2.1.5 root... Recipient ok

Once you identify some valid users, you can mount a brute force attack
on the FTP daemon. Even if you can't enumerate valid users through
SMTP, you can still try the brute force attack.

You can automate the process with an username dictionary and some
scripting or with readily-available support tools, such as:


Finally, be sure to report all SMTP/FTP misconfigurations (is TLS
available or credentials are transmitted in clear-text? how is TLS
configured? is SMTP relaying properly configured? etc.)

Exploits don't work for HP/UX as they do for "normal" Linuxes/Unixes.
This is because HP/UX (as far as I know) mainly works on SPARC CPU's,
thus having Big Endian instructions which is different from standard
x86 - or am I wrong?

HP-UX runs on PA-RISC and Itanium, not SPARC. Sun Solaris runs on
SPARC. Take a look here for some background:


Thank you all for your time!

Hope this helps,

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