RevOK – HTTP response fuzzer to test security scanners


Reversed Overtaking Kit – An HTTP response fuzzer to test security scanners.

We see the targets of our scan as passive entities, and this leads to underestimating the risk of performing a scan. However, the tools we use to scan are not immune to vulnerabilities. Testing these bugs is often hard since they require a dedicated testing infrastructure: RevOK supports analysts by simulating a malicious target and by tracking data in the security scanner.

While the focus is on security scanners, RevOK can be used to test any software that takes (attacker-controlled) third-party data and displays it to a user (e.g., server-side REST API calls).

RevOK helped us to find two XSS to RCE bugs in Metasploit Pro[2] (CVE-2020-7354 and CVE-2020-7355), as well as many other vulnerabilities. We described this technique in our paper “Never Trust Your Victim: Weaponizing Vulnerabilities in Security Scanners” [3], accepted at RAID 2020.

How to cite us

RevOK implements the automatic testing methodology presented in “Never Trust Your Victim: Weaponizing Vulnerabilities in Security Scanners” [3].

If you want to cite us, please use the following (BibTeX) reference:

@inproceedings {valenza20revok,
author = {Andrea Valenza and Gabriele Costa and Alessandro Armando},
title = {Never Trust Your Victim: Weaponizing Vulnerabilities in Security Scanners},
booktitle = {23rd International Symposium on Research in Attacks, Intrusions and Defenses ({RAID} 2020)},
year = {2020},
isbn = {978-1-939133-18-2},
address = {San Sebastian},
pages = {17--29},
url = {},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = oct,

Getting started

The core of RevOK is the stub component. It listens for incoming requests and sends attack responses.

Responses are crafted from a template file and a substitution list containing attack payloads.


This is an example of a template file:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: $a

    <h1>My page</h1>

For each incoming request, the stub substitutes the placeholder ($a by default) with a new element of the substitution list. You can also define custom placeholders using the --placeholder (-p) switch. Example usage:

python stub example.template example.substitutions -p "$a"

You can find example.template and example.substitutions in this repo. WARNING: stub will substitute ANY occurrence of the defined placeholder; choose one that does not occur in any other part of the template.

You can also define a specific port using the --port switch, for example:

python stub example.template example.substitutions --port 3000

Additional options are available from the --help switch.

:~$ python stub --help


    Run a stub that serves tracking responses.

    --log-file TEXT
    --port INTEGER
    --help           Show this message and exit.

Automatic token deployment

“All responses are equal, but some responses are more equal than others”

Responses are not all parsed in the same way. Some parsers accept that the Status message is something different from “OK” or “Moved permanently”, others do not and discard the response.

To make testing easier, the stub component has a tracking mode, where it generates responses based on a probabilistic context-free grammar.

You can launch the tracking mode of the stub component without defining the template and substitution list:

python server

Enumerate tainted flows

:~$ python taint --help


    Get tainted paths between log and report.

    --token-format TEXT
    --help               Show this message and exit.

Fetch attack template

:~$ python template --help


    Get a prebuilt template from a tainted token. The template can be used
    from the stub component.
    WARNING! Use the same placeholder used by the stub.

    -p, --placeholder TEXT
    --help                  Show this message and exit.

Vulnerable Targets

To let you try RevOK against a realistic target, we built DVAS, a Damn Vulnerable Application Scanner.

Why RevOK?

In short, RevOK makes scanners explode.

This is somewhat of an obscure reference from the 1981 movie Scanners [4].

Private military company ConSec recruits “scanners” – super-powered individuals capable of telepathy and psychokinesis – and uses them in service of the company. However, when one of ConSec’s scanners demonstrates his powers at a marketing event, the volunteer – Darryl Revok – turns out to be a more powerful scanner, who causes the ConSec scanner’s head to explode.

Here you can find the full scene.


  1. Attacking the attackers
  2. Metasploit Pro Release Notes for CVE-2020-7354 and CVE-2020-7355
  3. A. Valenza, G. Costa, A. Armando. “Never Trust Your Victim: Weaponizing Vulnerabilities in Security Scanners”
  4. Scanners (1981)