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New School Hacks: Test Setup for Hacking Roku Channels Written in Brightscript

30 March 2021 at 18:00

We were recently asked by one of our clients (our day job at IncludeSec is hacking software of all types) to take a look at their Roku channel. For those unfamiliar Roku calls apps for their platform “channels”. We haven’t seen too many Roku channel security reviews and neither has the industry as there isn’t much public information about setting up an environment to conduct a security assessment of a Roku channel.

The purpose of this post was to be a practical guide rather than present any new 0day, but stay tuned to the end of the post for application security tips for Roku channel developers. Additionally we did run this post by the Roku security team and we thank them for taking the time to review our preview.

Roku channels are scripted in Brightscript, a scripting language created specifically for media heavy Roku channels that is very similar syntax wise to our old 90s friend Visual Basic. A sideloaded Roku channel is just a zip file containing primarily Brightscript code, XML documents describing application components, and media assets. These channels operate within a Sandbox similar to Android apps. Due to the architecture of a sandboxed custom scripting language, Roku channels’ access to Roku’s Linux-based operating system, and to other channels on the same Roku device is limited. Channels are encrypted and signed by the developer (on Roku hardware) and distributed through Roku’s infrastructure, so users generally don’t have access to channel packages unlike APKs on Android.

The Brightscript language as well as channel development are well documented by Roku. Roku hardware devices can be put in a developer mode by entering a cheat code sequence which enables sideloading as well as useful features such as a debugger and remote control over the network. You’ll need these features as they’ll be very useful when exploring attacks against Roku channels.

You’ll also want to use the Eclipse Brightscript plugin as it is very helpful when editing or auditing Brightscript code. If you have access to a channel’s source code you can easily import it into Eclipse by creating a new Eclipse project from the existing code, and use the plugin’s project export dialog to re-package the channel and install it to a local Roku device in development mode.

Getting Burp to Work With Brightscript

As with most embedded or mobile type of client applications one of the first things we do when testing a new platform that is interacting with the web is to get HTTP requests running through Burp Suite. It is incredibly helpful in debugging and looking for vulnerabilities to be able to intercept, inspect, modify, and replay HTTP requests to a backend API. Getting a Roku channel working through Burp involves redirecting traffic destined to the backed API to Burp instead, and disabling certificate checking on the client. Note that Roku does support client certificates but this discussion doesn’t involve bypassing those, we’ll focus on bypassing client-side checks of server certificates for channels where the source code is available which is the situation we have with IncludeSec’s clients.

Brightscript code that makes HTTP requests uses Brightscript’s roUrlTransfer object. For example, some code to GET example.com might look like this:

urlTransfer = CreateObject("roUrlTransfer")
urlTransfer.SetUrl("https://example.com/")<br>s = urlTransfer.GetToString()

To setup an easy intercept environment I like to use the create_ap script from https://github.com/lakinduakash/linux-wifi-hotspot to quickly and easily configure hostapd, dnsmasq, and iptables to set up a NAT-ed test network hosted by a Linux machine. There are many ways to perform the man-in-the-middle to redirect requests to Burp, but I’m using a custom hosts file in the dnsmasq configuration to redirect connections to the domains I’m interested in (in this case example.com) to my local machine, and an iptables rule to redirect incoming connections on port 443 to Burp’s listening port.

Here’s starting the WIFI AP:

# cat /tmp/test-hosts<br> example.com

And here’s the iptables rule:

# iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -p tcp --src --dst --dport 443 -j REDIRECT --to-port 8085

In Burp’s Proxy -> Options tab, I’ll add the proxy listener listening on the test network ip on port 8085, configured for invisible proxying mode:


Next, we need to bypass the HTTPS certificate check that will cause the connection to fail. The easiest way to do this is to set EnablePeerVerification to false:

urlTransfer = CreateObject("roUrlTransfer")
s = urlTransfer.GetToString()

Then, re-build the channel and sideload it on to a Roku device in developer mode. Alternatively we can export Burp’s CA certificate, convert it to PEM format, and include that in the modified channel.

This converts the cert from DER to PEM format:

$ openssl x509 -inform der -in burp-cert.der -out burp-cert.pem

The burp-cert.pem file needs to be added to the channel zip file, and the code below changes the certificates file from the internal Roku file to the burp pem file:

urlTransfer = CreateObject("roUrlTransfer")
s = urlTransfer.GetToString()

It’s easy to add the certificate file to the package when exporting and sideloading using the BrightScript Eclipse plugin:


Now the request can be proxied and shows up in Burp’s history:


With that you’re off to the races inspecting and modifying traffic of your Roku channel assessment subject. All of your usual fat client/android app techniques for intercepting and manipulating traffic applies. You can combine that with code review of the BrightScript itself to hunt for interesting security problems and don’t discount privacy problems like unencrypted transport or over collection of data.

For BrightScript developers who may be worried about people using these types of techniques here are our top five tips for coding secure and privacy conscious channels:

  1. Only deploy what you need in a channel, don’t deploy debug/test code.
  2. Consider that confidentiality of the file contents of your deployed channel may not be a given. Don’t hard code secret URLs, tokens, or other security relevant info in your channel or otherwise an attacker will not have access to the client-side code.
  3. Don’t gather/store/send more personal information than is absolutely necessary and expected by your users.
  4. Encrypt all of your network connections to/from your channel and verify certificates. Nothing should ever be in plain text HTTP.
  5. Watch out for 3rd parties. User tracking and other personal data sent to 3rd parties can be come compliance and legal nightmares, avoid this and make your business aware of the possible ramifications if they chose to use 3rd parties for tracking.

Hopefully this post has been useful as a quick start for those interested in exploring the security of Roku channels and Brightscript code. Compared to other similar platforms, Roku is relatively locked down with it’s own scripting language and sandboxing. They also don’t have much user controllable input or a notable client-side attack surface area, but channels on Roku and apps on other platforms generally have to connect to backend web services, so running those connections through Burp is a good starting point to look for security and privacy concerns.

Further research into the Roku platform itself is also on the horizon…perhaps there will be a Part 2 of this post? 🙂

The post New School Hacks: Test Setup for Hacking Roku Channels Written in Brightscript appeared first on Include Security Research Blog.

Announcing RTSPhuzz — An RTSP Server Fuzzer

15 June 2020 at 14:00

There are many ways software is tested for faults, some of those faults end up originating from exploitable memory corruption situations and are labeled vulnerabilities. One popular method used to identify these types of faults in software is runtime fuzzing.

When developing servers that implement an RFC defined protocol, dynamically mutating the inputs and messages sent to the server is a good strategy for fuzzing. The Mozilla security team has used fuzzing internally to great effect on their systems and applications over the years. One area that Mozilla wanted to see more open source work in was fuzzing of streaming media protocols, specifically RTSP.

Towards that goal IncludeSec is today releasing https://github.com/IncludeSecurity/RTSPhuzz. We’re also excited to announce the work of the initial development of the tool has been sponsored by the Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) awards program. RTSPhuzz is provided as free and open unsupported software for the greater good of the maintainers and authors of RTSP services — FOSS and COTS alike!

RTSPhuzz is based on the boofuzz framework, it and connects as a client to target RTSP servers and fuzzes RTSP messages or sequences of messages. In the rest of this post we’ll cover some of the important bits to know about it. If you have an RTSP server, go ahead and jump right into our repo and shoot us a note to say hi if it ends up being useful to you.

Existing Approaches

We are aware of two existing RTSP fuzzers, StreamFUZZ and RtspFuzzer.

RtspFuzzer uses the Peach fuzzing framework to fuzz RTSP responses, however it targets RTSP client implementations, whereas our fuzzer targets RTSP servers.

StreamFUZZ is a Python script that does not utilize a fuzzing framework. Similar to our fuzzer, it fuzzes different parts of RTSP messages and sends them to a server. However, it is more simplistic; it doesn’t fuzz as many messages or header fields as our fuzzer, it does not account for the types of the fields it fuzzes, and it does not keep track of sessions for fuzzing sequences of messages.

Approach to Fuzzer Creation

The general approach for RTSPhuzz was to first review the RTSP RFC carefully, then define each of the client-to-server message types as boofuzz messages. RTSP headers were then distributed among the boofuzz messages in such a way that each is mutated by the boofuzz engine in at least one message, and boofuzz messages are connected in a graph to reasonably simulate RTSP sessions. Header values and message bodies were given initial reasonable default values to allow successful fuzzing of later messages in a sequence of messages. Special processing is done for several headers so that they conform to the protocol when different parts of messages are being mutated. The boofuzz fuzzing framework gives us the advantage of being able to leverage its built-in mutations, logging, and web interface.

Using RTSPhuzz

You can grab the code from github. Then, specify the server host, server port, and RTSP path to a media file on the target server:

RTSPhuzz.py --host target.server.host --port 554 --path test/media/file.mp3

Once RTSPhuzz is started, the boofuzz framework will open the default web interface on localhost port 26000, and will record results locally in a boofuzz-results/ directory. The web interface can be re-opened for the database from a previous run with boofuzz’s boo tool:

boo open <run-*.db>

See the RTSPhuzz readme for more detailed options and ways to run RTSPhuzz, and boofuzz’s documentation for more information on boofuzz.

Open Source and Continued Development

This is RTSPhuzz’s initial release for open use by all. We encourage you to try it out and share ways to improve the tool. We will review and accept PRs, address bugs where we can, and also would love to hear any shout-outs for any bugs you find with this tool (@includesecurity).

The post Announcing RTSPhuzz — An RTSP Server Fuzzer appeared first on Include Security Research Blog.

Introducing: SafeURL – A set of SSRF Protection Libraries

At Include Security, we believe that a reactive approach to security can fall short when it’s not backed by proactive roots. We see new offensive tools for pen-testing and vulnerability analysis being created and released all the time. In regards to SSRF vulnerabilities, we saw an opportunity to release code for developers to assist in protecting against these sorts of security issues. So we’re releasing a new set of language specific libraries to help developers effectively protect against SSRF issues. In this blog post, we’ll introduce the concept of SafeURL; with details about how it works, as well as how developers can use it, and our plans for rewarding those who find vulnerabilities in it!

Preface: Server Side Request Forgery

Server Side Request Forgery (SSRF) is a vulnerability that gives an attacker the ability to create requests from a vulnerable server. SSRF attacks are commonly used to target not only the host server itself, but also hosts on the internal network that would normally be inaccessible due to firewalls.
SSRF allows an attacker to:

  • Scan and attack systems from the internal network that are not normally accessible
  • Enumerate and attack services that are running on these hosts
  • Exploit host-based authentication services

As is the case with many web application vulnerabilities, SSRF is possible because of a lack of user input validation. For example, a web application that accepts a URL input in order to go fetch that resource from the internet can be given a valid URL such as http://google.com
But the application may also accept URLs such as:

When those kinds of inputs are not validated, attackers are able to access internal resources that are not intended to be public.

Our Proposed Solution

SafeURL is a library, originally conceptualized as “SafeCURL” by Jack Whitton (aka @fin1te), that protects against SSRF by validating each part of the URL against a white or black list before making the request. SafeURL can also be used to validate URLs. SafeURL intends to be a simple replacement for libcurl methods in PHP and Python as well as java.net.URLConnection in Scala.
The source for the libraries are available on our Github:

  1. SafeURL for PHP – Primarily developed by @fin1te
  2. SafeURL for Python – Ported by @nicolasrod
  3. SafeURL for Scala – Ported by @saelo

Other Mitigation Techniques

Our approach is focused on protection on the application layer. Other techniques used by some Silicon Valley companies to combat SSRF include:

  • Setting up wrappers for HTTP client calls which are forwarded to a single-purposed proxy that prevents it from talking to any internal hosts based on firewall rules as the HTTP requests are proxied
  • At the application server layer, hijack all socket connections to ensure they meet a developer configured policy by enforcing iptables rules or more advanced interactions with the app server’s networking layer



SafeURL can be included in any PHP project by cloning the repository on our Github and importing it into your project.


SafeURL can be used in Python apps by cloning the repository on our Github and importing it like this:

from safeurl import safeurl


To use SafeURL in Scala applications, clone the repository and store in the app/ folder of your Play application and import it.

import com.includesecurity.safeurl._



SafeURL is designed to be a drop-in replacement for the curl_exec() function in PHP. It can simply be replaced with SafeURL::execute() wrapped in a try {} catch {} block.

try {
    $url = "http://www.google.com";

    $curlHandle = curl_init();
    //Your usual cURL options
    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_USERAGENT, "Mozilla/5.0 (SafeURL)");

    //Execute using SafeURL
    $response = SafeURL::execute($url, $curlHandle);
} catch (Exception $e) {
    //URL wasn"t safe

Options such as white and black lists can be modified. For example:

$options = new Options();
$options->addToList("blacklist", "domain", "(.*)\.fin1te\.net");
$options->addToList("whitelist", "scheme", "ftp");

//This will now throw an InvalidDomainException
$response = SafeURL::execute("http://example.com", $curlHandle, $options);

//Whilst this will be allowed, and return the response
$response = SafeURL::execute("ftp://example.com", $curlHandle, $options);


SafeURL serves as a replacement for PyCurl in Python.

  su = safeurl.SafeURL()
  res = su.execute("https://example.com";)
  print "Unexpected error:", sys.exc_info()

Example of modifying options:

    sc = safeurl.SafeURL()

    opt = safeurl.Options()
    opt.setList("whitelist", [ 
    "google.com" , "youtube.com"], "domain")

    res = su.execute("http://www.youtube.com")
    print "Unexpected error:", sys.exc_info()


SafeURL replaces the JVM Class URLConnection that is normally used in Scala.

try {
  val resp = SafeURL.fetch("http://google.com")
  val r = Await.result(resp, 500 millis)
} catch {
  //URL wasnt safe


SafeURL.defaultConfiguration.lists.ip.blacklist ::= ""
SafeURL.defaultConfiguration.lists.domain.blacklist ::= "example.com"

Demo, Bug Bounty Contest, and Further Contributions

An important question to ask is: Is SafeURL really safe? Don’t take our word for it. Try to hack it yourself! We’re hosting live demo apps in each language for anyone to try and bypass SafeURL and perform a successful SSRF attack. On each site there is a file called key.txt on the server’s local filesystem with the following .htaccess policy:

<Files key.txt>
Order deny,allow
Deny from allow
Allow from

ErrorDocument 403 /oops.html

If you can read the contents of the file through a flaw in SafeURL and tell us how you did it (patch plz?), we will contact you about your reward. As a thank you to the community, we’re going to reward up to one Bitcoin for any security issues. If you find a non-security bug in the source of any of our libraries, please contact us as well you’ll have our thanks and a shout-out.
The challenges are being hosted at the following URLs:
PHP: safeurl-php.excludesecurity.com
Python: safeurl-python.excludesecurity.com
Scala: safeurl-scala.excludesecurity.com

If you can contribute a Pull Request and port the SafeURL concept to other languages (such as Java, Ruby, C#, etc.) we could throw you you some Bitcoin as a thank you.

Good luck and thanks for helping us improve SafeURL!

The post Introducing: SafeURL – A set of SSRF Protection Libraries appeared first on Include Security Research Blog.

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