Exploiting Keepass

RoadToOSCP
3 min readSep 30

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In an era where cybersecurity threats are increasingly sophisticated, the importance of secure password management cannot be overstated. Password managers like KeePass aim to protect our sensitive information, but they are not immune to vulnerabilities. In this write-up, we’ll dive into the world of KeePass vulnerabilities and the potential risks associated with its exploitation.

Actually, during my stint with an HTB machine (hackthebox) I came across a challenge that forced me to deal with this software, since in past I had never tested or used this software I thought before actually solving the problem let's try to get my hands dirty with this software and understand its working mechanism.

Understanding KeePass:

KeePass is a free open-source password manager, which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way

Possible vulnerabilities with password managers:

The Vulnerabilities:

While KeePass is a strong defender of your passwords, it’s not invincible. Here are some common vulnerabilities and risks associated with KeePass as well:

Memory Dump Vulnerability: One of the most significant concerns is the possibility of a memory dump attack. When KeePass is active and your database is unlocked, a copy of your passwords resides in your computer’s memory. If an attacker gains access to this memory dump, they can potentially retrieve your passwords.

Malware Exploitation: Malicious software on your computer can compromise KeePass’s operation. Keyloggers, in particular, can capture keystrokes, including your master password, potentially providing attackers with access to your KeePass database.

Weak Master Passwords: Weak or easily guessable master passwords can undermine the security of your KeePass database. It’s essential to choose a strong, unique master password to protect your data effectively.

Ideally, 1 and 2 are of serious concern as they are dependent on certain factors, like the development of software and human tendencies to their passwords.

Memory Dumping:

A researcher published a PoC to retrieve the master password from KeePass by exploiting the CVE-2023–32784 vulnerability.

Security researcher Vdohney released a PoC tool called KeePass 2.X Master Password Dumper that allows retrieving the master password for KeePass.

The tool exploits the unpatched KeePass vulnerability, tracked CVE-2023–32784, to retrieve the master password from the memory of KeePass 2.x versions. While trying to extract the password from the memory dump you will observe that the recovered password will be missing some characters then to recover the remaining of them either you have to depend on wild guesses or use a popular password cracking tool like John the Ripper and Hashcat. (That too when the user has set some simple kind of password)

Weak master password:

I took this approach more often as you will face this kind of use case more often to handle the need I have also coded a simple Python script that you can club with any password list of your choice and get a hold on the master password provided you have database file of KeePass.(Script given below)

Let's see complete walkthrough of the exploitation

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happy hacking

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RoadToOSCP

Security enthusiasts and avid python fan