Nokia 800 Tough

Last week I decided to get a banana phone. No idea why, no specific reason, just dumb curiosity to have something to fiddle around with.

After skimming through the KaiOS Devices , I decided that the Nokia 800 Tough is probably the best phone for me, as I'm pretty clumsy and constantly let phones fall to the ground by accident.

This write-up will be my personal notes, more in the sense of a Quickstart Guide than anything else... as information on how to do things with KaiOS is pretty chaotically spread around in some comments on some unfindable support thread somewhere on a random website in the South-Asian internet.


The firmware with the version identifier v12 seems to be standard among a lot of countries/target areas. But the v20 is the one that still allows to sideload apps (more on that later), whereas the v30 is more locked down and blocks the OmniSD app.

Debug Mode

The debug mode can be activated quite easily. Enter the GSM code *#*#33284#*#* , which is basically typing in *#*#debug#*#* as the keyboard is a T9 one.

When the debug mode is activated, you can see a little bug icon at the top of the screen, and adb devices on your connected computer should show up the device as being connected. Then we can also use adb shell to get an overview of how the system looks like.

[$] adb devices;
* daemon not running; starting now at tcp:5037
* daemon started successfully
List of devices attached
c6801cad	device


The filesystem has 5 partitions, and it looks very familiar to an Android device :

  • /system and contains the operating system, including preinstalled web apps.
  • /data and contains all user data, including installed apps.
  • /cache .
  • /persist .
  • /modem and contains the modem firmware.

The device also has an old Linux 3.10.49 kernel running, which might come handy later in case we need a user-privilege escalation exploit (and if the rooting instructions fail).

[$] adb shell;
shell@Nokia 800 Tough:/ $ mount;
/dev/block/bootdevice/by-name/system /system ext4 ro,seclabel,relatime,discard,data=ordered 0 0
/dev/block/bootdevice/by-name/userdata /data ext4 rw,seclabel,nosuid,nodev,noatime,discard,noauto_da_alloc,data=ordered 0 0
/dev/block/bootdevice/by-name/cache /cache ext4 rw,seclabel,nosuid,nodev,relatime,data=ordered 0 0
/dev/block/bootdevice/by-name/persist /persist ext4 rw,seclabel,nosuid,nodev,relatime,data=ordered 0 0
/dev/block/bootdevice/by-name/modem /firmware vfat ro,context=u:object_r:firmware_file:s0,relatime,uid=100

shell@Nokia 800 Tough:/data $ uname -a
Linux localhost 3.10.49-g58c036c69ff #1 SMP PREEMPT Sat Dec 7 08:58:31 CST 2019 armv7l

KaiOS Web Apps

KaiOS is based on FirefoxOS (also known as boot2gecko or b2g ). The filesystem structure and where things are hint into that direction. If we take a look at the /system/b2g/webapps/webapps.json file, we see an index of all installed web apps.

It seems that Web Apps on KaiOS are just HTML5 single-page apps that can be either hosted locally or online. For example, the Google Maps KaiOS Manifest is just an online manifest file that will be requested each time you open up the Google Maps web app on KaiOS.

[$] adb shell;
shell@Nokia 800 Tough:/ $ cat /system/b2g/webapps/webapps.json;


  "": {
    "origin": "app://",
    "installOrigin": "app://",
    "receipt": null,
    "installTime": 1575680915112,
    "updateTime": 1575680915112,
    "manifestURL": "app://",
    "localId": 53,
    "appStatus": 3,
    "manifestHash": "b4922f7b1bdcc1ef762c63a2cfb819c9"


shell@Nokia 800 Tough:/ $ cd /system/b2g/webapps/;
shell@Nokia 800 Tough:/system/b2g/webapps/ $ ls -la
-rw-r--r-- root     root      1903492 2008-12-31 17:00
-rw-r--r-- root     root          450 2008-12-31 17:00 manifest.webapp

Each Web App is namespaced into their own FQDN (fully qualified domain name), and in their equivalent folder contain an update.webapp file and an which contains the locally mounted assets.

Installed KaiOS Version

The installed KaiOS version can easily be identified by taking a look at the /system/b2g/application.ini or the /system/b2g/platform.ini file.

As we can also see, KaiOS 2.5.2 ships with Firefox 48.0.a2 , which is vulnerable to the buffer overflow and use-after-free vulnerability CVE-2020-26950 .

This vulnerability even has a metasploit module available on packetstormsecurity, so this might come in handy, too.

[$] adb shell;
shell@Nokia 800 Tough:/ $ cat /system/b2g/application.ini;




[Crash Reporter]

Hardware Drivers

After some fiddling around, we can identify that the system uses the Qualcomm MSM8909 system-on-a-chip.

shell@Nokia 800 Tough:/ $ getprop ro.board.platform;


Let's play nice and try to find some GTFO binaries that we can (ab-)use to get root access.

shell@Nokia 800 Tough:/ $ find /system/bin -user root -perm -4000 2> /dev/null;
(no results -_- )

No luck there, so LD_PRELOAD won't help us. The Nokia 800 Tough doesn't have a Broadcom Wi-Fi chipset, so Broadpwn and Bluepwn won't help us either.

Time to get out the big guns. The CVE database lists a couple of potential privilege escalation vulnerabilities for the 3.10 kernel .

Next time we're going to use one of these exploits, because that's it for now.