File Uploads (Mythic -> Agent)

Upload a file from Mythic to the target

What does it mean to upload a file?

This section is specifically for uploading a file from the Mythic server to an agent. Because these messages aren't just to an agent directly (they can be routed through a p2p mesh), they can't just be as simple as a GET request to download a file. The file needs to be chunked and routed through the agents. This isn't specific to the upload command, this is for any command that wants to leverage a file from Mythic.

In general, there's a few steps that happen for this process (this can be seen visually on the Message Flow page):

  1. The operator issues some sort of tasking that has a parameter type of "File". You'll notice this in the Mythic user interface because you'll always see a popup for you to supply a file from your file system.

  2. Once you select a file and hit submit, Mythic loops through all of the files selected and registers them. This process sends each one down to Mythic, saves it off to disk, and assigns it a UUID. These UUIDs are what's stored in place of the raw bytes when you submit your task. So, if you had an upload command that takes a file and a path, your arguments would end up looking like {"file":"uuid", "path": "/some/path"} rather than {"file": raw bytes of file, "path": "/some/path"}.

  3. In the Payload Type's corresponding command python file there is a function called create_tasking that handles the processing of tasks from users before handing them off to the database to be fetched by an agent. If your agent supports chunking and transferring files that way, then you don't need to do anything else, but if your agent requires that you send down the entire file's contents as part of your parameters, you need to get the associated file.

  4. To get the file with Mythic, there's an RPC call we can do:

    async def create_tasking(self, task: MythicTask) -> MythicTask:
        file_resp = await MythicRPC().execute("get_file",
        if file_resp.status == MythicRPCStatus.Success:
            original_file_name = file_resp.response[0]["filename"]
            raise Exception("Error from Mythic: " + str(file_resp.error))
        task.display_params = f"script {original_file_name}"
        file_resp = await MythicRPC().execute("update_file",
                                              comment="Uploaded into memory for jsimport")
        return task

Lines 2-5 is where we do an RPC call with Mythic to search for files, specifically, we want ones where the file_id matches the one that was passed down as part of our parameters. This should only return one result, but the result, for consistency, will always come back as an Array. So, file_resp.response is an array of file information, we'll take the filename from the first entry. We can use this to get the original filename back out from Mythic from the user's upload command. If there's something we want to modify about the file (such as adding a comment automatically or indicating that the file should be deleted from disk after the agent fetches it) we can use the update_file RPC function to do so.

At this point, if you wanted to use the raw bytes of a file instead of the UUID as part of your tasking, your get_file query should indicate get_contents=True, then you can access the raw bytes via file_resp.response[0]["contents"]. You can then swap out the contents of the parameter with task.args.add_arg("arg name", "base64 of file contents here").

If you want to register a NEW file with Mythic from the payload container that the user didn't first upload, you need to use the create_file RPC call.

4. The agent gets the tasking and sees that there's a file UUID it needs to pull. It sends an initial message to Mythic saying that it will be downloading the file in chunks of a certain size and requests the first chunk. If the agent is going to be writing the file to disk (versus just pulling down the file into memory), then the agent should also send full_path. This allows Mythic to track a new entry in the database with an associated task for uploads. The full_path key lives at the same level as user_output, total_chunks, etc in the post_response .

5. The Mythic server gets the request for the file, makes sure the file exists and belongs to this operation, then gets the first chunk of the file as specified by the agent's chunk_size and also reports to the agent how many chunks there are.

6. The Agent can now use this information to request the rest of the chunks of the file.

The agent reporting back full_path is what allows Mythic to track the file in the Files search page as a file that has been written to disk. If you don't report back a full_path or have full_path as an empty string, then Mythic thinks that the file transfer only lived in memory and didn't touch disk. This is separate from reporting that a file was written to disk as part of artifact tracking on the Reporting Artifacts page.

It's not an extremely complex process, but it does require a bit more back-and-forth than a fire-and-forget style. The rest of this page will walk through those steps with more concrete code examples.

There is no expectation when doing uploads or downloads that the operator must type the absolute path to a file, that's a bit of a strict requirement. Instead, Mythic allows operators to specify relative paths and has an option in the upload action to specify the actual full path (this option also exists for downloading files so that the absolute path can be returned for better tracking). This allows Mythic to properly track absolute file system paths that might have the same resulting file name without an extra burden on the operator.

Example (agent pull down):

Files can (optionally) be pulled down multiple times (if you set delete_after_fetch as True, then the file won't exist on disk after the first fetch and thus can't be re-used). This is to prevent bloating up the server with unnecessary files.

An agent pulling down a file to the target is similar to downloading a file from the target to Mythic. The agent makes the following request to Mythic:

Base64( CallbackUUID + JSON(
	"action": "post_response",
	"responses": [
		"upload": {
			"chunk_size": 512000, //bytes of file per chunk
			"file_id": UUID, //the file specified to pull down to the target
			"chunk_num": #, // which chunk are we currently pulling down
			"full_path": "full path to uploaded file on target" //optional
		"task_id": task_id // the associated task that caused the agent to pull down this file

The chunk_num field is 1-based. So, the first chunk you request is "chunk_num": 1.

The full_path parameter is helpful for accurate tracking. This allows an operator to be in the /Temp directory and simply call the upload function to the current directory, but allows Mythic to track the full path for easier reporting and deconfliction.

The full_path parameter is only needed if the agent plans to write the file to disk. If the agent is pulling down a file to load into memory, then there's no need to report back a full_path.

The agent gets back a message like:

Base64( CallbackUUID + JSON(
	"action": "post_response",
	"responses": [ {
		"status": "success or error",
		"error": "error message if status is error, otherwise key not present",
		"total_chunks": #, // given the previous chunk size, the total num of chunks
		"chunk_num": #, //the current chunk number Mythic is returning
		"chunk_data": "base64_of_data" // the actual file data,
		"file_id": "file id that was requested",
		"task_id": "UUID of task" // task id that was presented in the request for tracking

This process repeats as many as times as is necessary to pull down all of the contents of the file.

If there is an error pulling down a file, the server will respond with as much information as possible and blank out the rest (i.e.: {'action': 'post_response', 'responses': [ {'total_chunks': 0, 'chunk_num': 0, 'chunk_data': '', 'file_id': '', 'task_id': '', 'status': 'error', 'error': 'some error message'} ] }) If the task_id was there in the request, but there was an error with some other piece, then the task_id will be present in the response with the right value.

Files in the Tasking JSON

There's a reason that files aren't base64 encoded and placed inside the initial tasking blobs. Keeping the files tracked by the main Mythic system and used in a separate call allows the initial messages to stay small and allows for the agent and C2 mechanism to potentially cache or limit the size of the transfers as desired.

Consider the case of using DNS as the C2 mechanism. If the file mentioned in this section was sent through this channel, then the traffic would potentially explode. However, having the option for the agent to pull the file via HTTP or some other mechanism gives greater flexibility and granular control over how the C2 communications flow.