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A collection of tips, tricks and snips. A proud Blosxom weblog. All code. No cruft.

Tue, 10 Jan 2017

[-] Auxiliary failed: Msf::OptionValidateError The following options failed to validate: RHOSTS.

Mucking about with a fresh copy of Kali brings to attention that it’s packaged with an Armitage that doesn’t correctly work.

I know what you’re thinking… Good. Type the commands into Msfconsole like a real man, y’uh lazy good-fer-naught! And, in practice, that was my immediate solution. But I can’t resist a good tinker when things are misbehaving.

I was anticipating that the problem would be thoroughly solved when I ixquicked it. That was partially correct. Surprised, however, when apt-get update && apt-get upgrade didn’t fix the issue. More surprised at the age of the issue. Most surprised that I could see lots of evidence that users have been plagued by this issue — but no clear work arounds were quickly found.

Guess what we’re doing today?

Okay. The issue is quite minor but just enough to be heartbreaking to the fledgling pentester trying to get a VM off the ground.

In brief, the owner of Armitage’s Github explains:

The MSF Scans feature in Armitage parses output from Metasploit’s portscan/tcp module and uses these results to build a list of targets it should run various Metasploit auxiliary modules against. A recent-ish update to the Metasploit Framework changed the format of the portscan/tcp module output. A patch to fix this issue just needs to account for the new format of the portscan/tcp module.

That is, a colon makes it into the input for the Msfconsole command to define RHOSTS. I.e.: set RHOSTS -

An other kind coder tweaked the regex and submitted the patch and pull request, which was successfully incorporated into the project.

Sadly, things have stalled out there. So if this problem is crippling your rig, let’s fix it!

We just want a fresh copy of the project.
root@kali:~/armitage# git clone https://github.com/rsmudge/armitage

Cloning into ‘armitage’…
remote: Counting objects: 7564, done.
remote: Total 7564 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 7564
Receiving objects: 100% (7564/7564), 47.12 MiB | 2.91 MiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (5608/5608), done.

Kali is Debian-based and we’re going to need Apache Ant:
root@kali:~/armitage# apt-get install ant

Then, we’ll build our new fella:
root@kali:~/armitage# cd armitage
root@kali:~/armitage# ./package.sh

Buildfile: /root/test/armitage/build.xml


Total time: 0 seconds
Buildfile: /root/test/armitage/build.xml

[mkdir] Created dir: /root/test/armitage/bin

[javac] Compiling 111 source files to /root/test/armitage/bin
[javac] depend attribute is not supported by the modern compiler
[javac] Note: /root/test/armitage/src/ui/MultiFrame.java uses or overrides a deprecated API.
[javac] Note: Recompile with -Xlint:deprecation for details.
[javac] Note: Some input files use unchecked or unsafe operations.
[javac] Note: Recompile with -Xlint:unchecked for details.

Total time: 2 seconds
Buildfile: /root/test/armitage/build.xml



[unzip] Expanding: /root/test/armitage/lib/sleep.jar into /root/test/armitage/bin
[unzip] Expanding: /root/test/armitage/lib/jgraphx.jar into /root/test/armitage/bin
[unzip] Expanding: /root/test/armitage/lib/msgpack-0.6.12-devel.jar into /root/test/armitage/bin
[unzip] Expanding: /root/test/armitage/lib/postgresql-9.1-901.jdbc4.jar into /root/test/armitage/bin
[unzip] Expanding: /root/test/armitage/lib/javassist-3.15.0-GA.jar into /root/test/armitage/bin
[copy] Copying 4 files to /root/test/armitage/bin/scripts-cortana
[jar] Building jar: /root/test/armitage/armitage.jar
[jar] Building jar: /root/test/armitage/cortana.jar

Total time: 1 second
adding: readme.txt (deflated 55%)
adding: armitage.exe (deflated 49%)
adding: cortana.jar (deflated 5%)
adding: armitage.jar (deflated 5%)
adding: whatsnew.txt (deflated 65%)
Archive: ../../armitage.zip
inflating: readme.txt
inflating: armitage.exe
inflating: cortana.jar
inflating: armitage.jar
inflating: whatsnew.txt

And here, best I can guess from messages read, is where a lot of people are running into trouble. We have successfully produced our new working copy of armitage. However, it is in our own local directory and will not be run if we just enter the command: armitage

Let’s review how to figure out what we want to do about that.

First, we want to verify what happens when we run the command armitage.
root@kali:~/armitage# which armitage


Good! Let’s check and see what that does!
root@kali:~/armitage# head /usr/bin/armitage


cd /usr/share/armitage/
exec ./armitage “$@”

Almost there! It’s running /usr/share/armitage/armitage with whatever variables we’ve passed in. We’ll check that out.
root@kali:~/armitage# head /usr/share/armitage/armitage

java -XX:+AggressiveHeap -XX:+UseParallelGC -jar armitage.jar $@

We have enough information to assemble a solution.

I trust that the people behind Kali and Armitage will get this corrected so I don’t want to suggest a solution that would replace the armitage command and prevent an updated version from running later. So, let’s just make a temporary replacement?

root@kali:~/armitage# echo -e '#!/bin/sh\njava -XX:+AggressiveHeap -XX:+UseParallelGC -jar ~/armitage/armitage.jar $@' > /usr/bin/tmparmitage

Hereafter, we can use the command ‘tmparmitage’ (either CLI or ALT-F2) to run our fresh version until things catch up.

And, of course, to save you the time, weary hacker:

Download here:

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