Posts by Year


P.O.O. - Hack The Box

Professional Offensive Operations (P.O.O.) was the first endgame lab released by Hack The Box. It contained five different flags spread across two Windows machines. The initial part required some tricky recon with ds_store and IIS short names to find a MSSQL DB connection string. We then had to pivot by abusing the trust between MSSQL linked servers. The lab also had kerberoasting, password cracking, mimikatz and attack path enumeration with Bloodhound in it.

Resolute - Hack The Box

We start Resolute with enumeration of the domain user accounts using an anonymous bind session to the LDAP server and find an initial password in the description field of one of the account. Password spraying the password against all the discovered accounts give us an initial shell then we pivot to another user after finding creds in a console history file. The priv esc is pretty cool: we’re in the DNS admins group so we can reconfigure the DNS service to run an arbitrary DLL as SYSTEM.

Obscurity - Hack The Box

The Obscurity box has a vulnerable Python web application running. After finding the source code from a secret directory we find that the exec call can be command injected to get a shell as www-data. Then we have to solve a simple crypto challenge to retrieve an encryption key that decrypts a file containing the robert user’s password. We finally get root by exploiting a race condition in a python script so that we can copy the /etc/shadow file and crack the root password.

OpenAdmin - Hack The Box

OpenAdmin is an easy box that starts with using an exploit for the OpenNetAdmin software to get initial RCE. Then we get credentials from the database config and can re-use them to connect by SSH. We then find another web application with an hardcoded SHA512 hash in the PHP code for the login page. After cracking it we’re able to log in and obtain an encrypted SSH key that we have to crack. After getting one more shell, we can run nano as root with sudo and spawn a shell as root.

Control - Hack The Box

Control runs a vulnerable PHP web application that controls access to the admin page by checking the X-Forwarded-For HTTP header. By adding the X-Forwarded-For HTTP header with the right IP address we can access the admin page and exploit an SQL injection to write a webshell and get RCE. After pivoting to another user with the credentials found in the MySQL database, we get SYSTEM access by modifying an existing service configuration from the registry.

Mango - Hack The Box

Mango was a medium box with a NoSQSL injection in the login page that allows us to retrieve the username and password. The credentials we retrieve through the injection can be used to SSH to the box. For privilege escalation, the jjs tool has the SUID bit set so we can run scripts as root.

Traverxec - Hack The Box

Sometimes you need a break from the hard boxes that take forever to pwn. Traverxec is an easy box that start with a custom vulnerable webserver with an unauthenticated RCE that we exploit to land an initial shell. After pivoting to another user by finding his SSH private key and cracking it, we get root through the less pager invoked by journalctl running as root through sudo.

Registry - Hack The Box

This writeup is outdated and the attack path presented for user bolt has been patched. Initially once we pivoted from the bolt user to www-data we could run restic as root and abuse the sftp.command parameter to execute any command as root.

Sniper - Hack The Box

Sniper is another box I got access to through an unintended method. The PHP application wasn’t supposed to be exploitable through Remote File Inclusion but because it runs on Windows, we can use UNC path to include a file from an SMB share. Once I had a shell, I pivoted using plink and logged in as user Chris with WinRM. The box author was nice enough to leave hints as to what kind of malicious payload was expected and I used Nishang to generate a CHM payload and get Administrator access.

Forest - Hack The Box

Forest is a nice easy box that go over two Active Directory misconfigurations / vulnerabilities: Kerberos Pre-Authentication (disabled) and ACLs misconfiguration. After I retrieve and cracked the hash for the service account I used aclpwn to automate the attack path and give myself DCsync rights to the domain.

Postman - Hack The Box

Postman was a somewhat frustrating box because we had to find the correct user directory where to write our SSH key using the unprotected Redis instance. I expected to be able to use a wordlist to scan through /home and find a valid user but on this box the redis user was configured with a valid login shell so I had to guess that and write my SSH key to /var/lib/redis/.ssh instead. The rest of the box was pretty straightforward, crack some SSH private key then pop a root shell with a Webmin CVE.

Bankrobber - Hack The Box

Bankrobber is a web app box with a simple XSS and SQL injection that we have to exploit in order to get the source code of the application and discover a command injection vulnerability in the backdoor checker page that’s only reachable from localhost. By using the XSS to make a local request to that page, we can get land a shell on the box. To get root, we exploit a buffer in an application to override the name of the binary launched by the program.

Zetta - Hack The Box

Zetta is another amazing box by jkr. The first part was kinda tricky because you had to pay attention to the details on the webpage and spot the references to IPv6 that lead you to the EPTR command to disclose the IPv6 address of the server. Then there’s some light bruteforcing of rsync’s credentials with a custom bruteforce script and finally a really cool SQL injection in a syslog PostgreSQL module.

JSON - Hack The Box

To get remote code execution on JSON, I exploited a deserialization vulnerability in the web application using the formatter. After getting a shell I could either get a quick SYSTEM shell by abusing SeImpersonatePrivileges with Juicy Potato or reverse the Sync2FTP application to decrypt its configuration and find the superadmin user credentials.

RE - Hack The Box

I had fun solving RE but I did it using an unintended path. After getting a shell with a macroed .ods file, I saw that the Winrar version had a CVE which allowed me to drop a webshell in the webserver path and get RCE as iis apppool\re. The user had access to modify the UsoSvc service running with SYSTEM privileges so it was trivial at that point to get a SYSTEM shell. Because the root flag was encrypted for user Coby, I used meterpreter to impersonate his token and read the file.

Mini WebSocket CTF

During the holidays, @stackfault (sysop from the BottomlessAbyss BBS) ran a month long CTF with challenges being released every couple of days. Some of challenges were unsolved or partially solved challenges from earlier HackFest editions as well as some new ones. There was also a point depreciation system in place so challenges solved earlier gave more points. This post is a writeup for the Evilconneck challenge, a quick but fun challenge with websockets and a bit of crypto.

AI - Hack The Box

Exploiting the simple SQL injection vulnerability on the AI box was harder than expected because of the text-to-speech conversion required. I had to use a few tricks to inject the single quote in the query and the other parameters needed for the injection.

Player - Hack The Box

Player was a tough one. Getting the initial shell on Player took me quite some time. Every time I got new credentials I thought I would be able to log in but there was always another step after. The trickiest part of the box for me was finding the .php~ extension to read the source code of the page. I had the hint from the chat application but I couldn’t connect the dots.

Bitlab - Hack The Box

I solved this gitlab box the unintended way by exploiting the git pull command running as root and using git post-merge hooks to execute code as root. I was able to get a root shell using this method but I still had to get an initial shell by finding the gitlab credentials in some obfuscated javascript and modifying PHP code in the repo to get RCE.

Craft - Hack The Box

Craft was a fun Silicon Valley themed box where we have to exploit a vulnerable REST API eval function call to get RCE. After getting a shell on the app container, we escalate to a user shell on the host OS by finding credentials and SSH private keys. To gain root access, we have to generate an OTP token with the vault software installed on the machine.

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Smasher2 - Hack The Box

Just its predecessor, Smasher2 is a very difficult box with reverse engineering and binary exploitation. Unfortunately, the initial step required some insane brute-forcing which took part of the fun out of this one for me. I solved the authentication bypass part using an unintended method: The code compares the password against the username instead of the password in the configuration file so by guessing the username I also had the password and could log in. I had to do some WAF evasion to get my payload uploaded and land a shell. Then the final part of the box is exploiting a kernel driver mmap handler to change the credential structure in memory of my current user to get root access.

Wall - Hack The Box

Wall is running a vulnerable version of the Centreon application that allows authenticated users to gain RCE. The tricky part of this box was finding the path to the application since it’s not something that normally shows up in the wordlists I use with gobuster. The intended way was to bypass the HTTP basic auth by using a POST then the redirection contained a link to the centreon page but instead I did some recon on the box creator’s website and saw that he had written an exploit for Centreon and guessed the path accordingly. The priv esc was the same used on Flujab: a vulnerability in screen that allows the attacker to write to any file on the system.

Heist - Hack The Box

Heist starts off with a support page with a username and a Cisco IOS config file containing hashed & encrypted passwords. After cracking two passwords from the config file and getting access to RPC on the Windows machine, I find additional usernames by RID cycling and then password spray to find a user that has WinRM access. Once I have a shell, I discover a running Firefox process and dump its memory to disk so I can do some expert-level forensics (ie: running strings) to find the administrator password.

Chainsaw - Hack The Box

I learned a bit about Ethereum and smart contracts while doing the Chainsaw box from Hack the Box. There’s a command injection vulnerability in a smart contract that gives me a shell. Then after doing some googling on IPFS filesystem, I find an encrypted SSH key for another user which I can crack. To get root access I use another smart contract to change the password used by a SUID binary running as root, then find the flag hidden in the slack space for root.txt

Networked - Hack The Box

Networked was an easy box that starts off with a classic insecure upload vulnerability in an image gallery web application. The Apache server is misconfigured and let me use a double extension to get remote code execution through my PHP script. To escalate to root, we have to find a command injection vulnerability in the script that checks for web application attacks, then exploit another script running as root that changes the ifcfg file.

Jarvis - Hack The Box

The entrypoint for Jarvis is an SQL injection vulnerability in the web application to book hotel rooms. There is a WAF but I was able to easily get around it by lowering the amount of requests per second in sqlmap and changing the user-agent header. After landing a shell, I exploit a simple command injection to get access to another user then I use systemctl which has been set SUID root to create a new service and get root RCE.

Haystack - Hack The Box

Haystack is an easy ctf-like box where the initial credentials can be found hidden in an ElasticSearch database. Knowing some ES API syntax it’s very easy to retrieve the credentials then get an SSH shell. After exploiting CVE-2018-17246 in Kibana, I get another shell with user kibana who has read access on the configuration for logstash which is running as root. The logstash configuration will run as root any command placed in a specific logstash directory/file so once I figured that out it was easy to get a root shell.

Safe - Hack The Box

Safe was a bit of a surprise because I didn’t expect a 20 points box to start with a buffer overflow requiring ropchains. The exploit is pretty straightforward since I have the memory address of the system function and I can call it to execute a shell. The privesc was a breeze: there’s a keepass file with a bunch of images in a directory. I simply loop through all the images until I find the right keyfile that I can use with John the Ripper to crack the password and recover the root password from the keepass file.

Writeup - Hack The Box

Writeup starts off easy with an unauthenticated vulnerability in CMS Made Simple that I exploit to dump the database credentials. After cracking the user hash, I can log in to the machine because the user re-used the same password for SSH. The priv esc is pretty nice: I have write access to /usr/local and I can write a binary payload in there that gets executed by run-parts when I SSH in because it’s called without the full path. Another nice box by jkr.

Ghoul - Hack The Box

Ghoul was a tricky box from Minatow that required pivoting across 3 containers to find the bits and pieces needed to get root. To get a shell I used a Zip Slip vulnerability in the Java upload app to drop a PHP meterpreter payload on the webserver. After pivoting and scanning the other network segment I found a Gogs application server that is vulnerable and I was able to get a shell there. More credentials were hidden inside an archive file and I was able to use the root shell on one of the container to hijack the SSH agent socket from a connecting root user and hop onto the host OS.

Swagshop - Hack The Box

SwagShop is one of those easy boxes where you can pop a shell just by using public exploits. It’s running a vulnerable Magento CMS on which we can create an admin using an exploit then use another one to get RCE. To privesc I can run vi as root through sudo and I use a builtin functionality of vi that allows users to execute commands from vi so I can get root shell.

Kryptos - Hack The Box

I loved the Kryptos machine from Adamm and no0ne. It starts with a cool parameter injection in the DSN string so I can redirect the DB queries to my VM and have the webserver authenticate to a DB I control. Next is some crypto with the RC4 stream cipher in the file encryptor web app to get access to a protected local web directory and an LFI vulnerability in the PHP code that let me read the source code. After, there’s an SQL injection and I use stacked queries with sqlite to gain write access and RCE by writing PHP code. After finding an encrypted vim file, I’ll exploit a vulnerability in the blowfish implementation to recover the plaintext and get SSH credentials. For the priv esc, I pop a root shell by evading an eval jail in a SUID python webserver and exploiting a broken PRNG implementation.

Luke - Hack The Box

Luke is a easy machine that doesn’t have a lot steps but we still learn a few things about REST APIs like how to authenticate to the service and get a JWT token and which headers are required when using that JWT. The rest of the box was pretty straighforward with some gobuster enumeration, finding PHP sources files with credentials then finally getting a shell through the Ajenti application.

Bastion - Hack The Box

Bastion was an easy box where we had to find an open SMB share that contained a Windows backup. Once we mounted the disk image file, we could recover the system and SAM hive and then crack one of the user’s password. An OpenSSH service was installed on the machine so we could SSH in with the credentials and do further enumeration on the box. We then find a mRemoteNG configuration file that contains encrypted credentials for the administrator. The system flag blood was still up for grab when I reached that stage so instead of reversing the encryption for the configuration file I just installed the mRemoteNG application on a Windows VM, copied the config file over and was able to log in as administrator.

Onetwoseven - Hack The Box

OneTwoSeven starts with enumeration of various files on the system by creating symlinks from the SFTP server. After finding the credentials for the ots-admin user in a vim swap file, I get access to the administration page by SSH port-forwarding my way in and then I have to use the addon manager to upload a PHP file and get RCE. The priv esc was pretty fun and unique: I had to perform a MITM attack against apt-get and upload a malicious package that executes arbitrary code as root.

Unattended - Hack The Box

Unattended was a pretty tough box with a second order SQL injection in the PHP app. By injecting PHP code into the web server access logs through the User-Agent header, I can get RCE by including the logs using the SQL injection. I didn’t quite understand what the priv esc was about though. I found the initrd archive and stumbled upon the contents by doing a grep on the box author’s name.

Helpline - Hack The Box

I did Helpline the unintended way by gaining my initial shell access as NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM and then working my way back to the root and user flags. Both flags were encrypted for two different users so even with a SYSTEM shell I couldn’t immediately read the files and had to find the user plaintext credentials first. The credentials for user Tolu were especially hard to find: they were hidden in Windows Event Log files and I had to use a Python module to parse those.

Arkham - Hack The Box

Arkham was a medium difficulty box that shows how Java deserialization can be used by attackers to get remote code execution. After finding the JSF viewstates encryption key in a LUKS encrypted file partition, I created a Java deserialization payload using ysoserial to upload netcat and get a shell. After getting to user Batman with credentials found in a backup file, I was able to get access to the administrator directory by mounting the local c: drive via SMB instead of doing a proper UAC bypass.

Fortune - Hack The Box

In this box, I use a simple command injection on the web fortune application that allows me to find the Intermediate CA certificate and its private key. After importing the certificates in Firefox, I can authenticate to the HTTPS page and access a privileged page that generates an SSH private key. Next is SSH port forwarding to access an NFS share, upload my SSH public key to escalate to another user, then recover a pgadmin database which contains the DBA password which is also the root password. Cool box overall, but it should have been rated Hard instead of Insane.

LaCasaDePapel - Hack The Box

I had trouble with the OTP token on this box: I never figured out why but whenever I scanned the QR code with my Google Authenticator app it would always generate an invalid token. Using a Firefox add-on I was able to properly generate the token to get access to the page. As a nice twist, the login shell was changed to psysh so I couldn’t use the vsftpd exploit to get a full shell on the box. LaCasaDePapel has some typical HTB elements: scavenger hunt for SSH keys, base64 encoding and a cronjob running as root for final priv esc.

CTF - Hack The Box

This time it’s a very lean box with no rabbit holes or trolls. The box name does not relate to a Capture the Flag event but rather the Compressed Token Format used by RSA securid tokens. The first part of the box involves some blind LDAP injection used to extract the LDAP schema and obtain the token for one of the user. Then using the token, we are able to generate tokens and issue commands on the box after doing some more LDAP injection. The last part of the token was pretty obscure as it involved abusing the listfile parameter in 7zip to trick it into read the flag from root.txt. I was however not able to get a root shell on this box using this technique.

Friendzone - Hack The Box

Friendzone is an easy box with some light enumeration of open SMB shares and sub-domains. I used an LFI vulnerability combined with a writable SMB share to get RCE and a reverse shell. A cron job running as root executes a python script every few minutes and the OS module imported by the script is writable so I can modify it and add code to get a shell as root.

Hackback - Hack The Box

Hackback took me a long time to do. There are so many steps required just to get a shell. For extra difficulty, AppLocker is enabled and an outbound firewall policy is configured to block reverse shells. This box has a bit of everything: fuzzing, php, asp (for pivoting with reGeorg), command injection in a Powershell script, some light reversing. For the privesc, I used the diaghub vulnerability and modified an existing exploit to get a bind shell through netcat.

Netmon - Hack The Box

I think Netmon had the quickest first blood on HTB yet. The user flag could be grabbed by just using anonymous FTP and retrieving it from the user directory. I guessed the PRTG admin password after finding an old backup file and changing the year in the password from 2018 to 2019. Once inside PRTG, I got RCE as SYSTEM by creating a sensor and using Nishang’s reverse shell oneliner.

Querier - Hack The Box

To solve Querier, we find an Excel spreadsheet that contains a VBA macro then use Responder to capture NTLM hashes from the server by forcing it to connect back to our machine with xp_dirtree. After cracking the hash, we gain RCE on the server by using the standard xp_cmdshell command. The Administator credentials are found in a Group Policy Preference file.

Flujab - Hack The Box

Flujab was without a doubt one of the toughest HTB box. It’s got a ton of vhosts that force you to enumerate a lot of things and make sure you don’t get distracted by the quantity of decoys and trolls left around. The key on this box is to stay ‘in scope’ as the box author hinted at before the box was released, so that means enumerating two specific domains without getting distracted by all the other stuff on the box.

Help - Hack The Box

Help showed that a small programming mistake in a web application can introduce a critical security vulnerability. In this case, the PHP application errors out when uploading invalid extensions such as PHP files but it doesn’t delete the file. Combined with a predictable filename generated based on MD5 of original file + epoch, we can get RCE.

Sizzle - Hack The Box

Sizzle was an amazing box that requires using some Windows and Active Directory exploitation techniques such as Kerberoasting to get encrypted hashes from Service Principal Names accounts. The privesc involves adding a computer to domain then using DCsync to obtain the NTLM hashes from the domain controller and then log on as Administrator to the server using the Pass-The-Hash technique.

Chaos - Hack The Box

Chaos starts with some enumeration to find a hidden wordpress site that contains a set of credentials for a webmail site. There’s some simple crypto we have to do to decrypt an attachment and find a hidden link on the site. We then exploit the PDF creation website which uses LaTeX and gain RCE. After getting a reverse shell, we do some digging into the user’s folders and find the webmin root credentials stored in the Firefox user profile.

Conceal - Hack The Box

Conceal uses IPSec to secure connectivity to the server and nothing is exposed by default except SNMP and IPSec. After finding the preshared key by enumerating with SNMP, we connect to the server, upload an ASP payload to gain RCE then privesc to SYSTEM using RottenPotato. Not a bad box overall, but the initial part of figuring out the IPSec configuration parameters took me a while to figure out/guess.

Lightweight - Hack The Box

Lightweight was a fun box that uses Linux capabilities set on tcpdump so we can capture packets on the loopback interface and find credentials in an LDAP session. We then find more credentials in the source code of the web application and finally priv esc to root by abusing a copy of the openssl program that all has Linux caps set on it.

Bighead - Hack The Box

Bighead was an extremely difficult box by 3mrgnc3 that starts with website enumeration to find two sub-domains and determine there is a custom webserver software running behind an Nginx proxy. We then need to exploit a buffer overflow in the HEAD requests by creating a custom exploit. After getting a shell, there’s some pivoting involved to access a limited SSH server, then an LFI to finally get a shell as SYSTEM. For the final stretch there is an NTFS alternate data stream with a Keepass file that contains the final flag.

Irked - Hack The Box

Irked is an easy box running a backdoored UnrealIRC installation. I used a Metasploit module to get a shell then ran steghide to obtain the SSH credentials for the low privileged user then got root by exploiting a vulnerable SUID binary.

Teacher - Hack The Box

Teacher uses the Moodle Open Source Learning platform and contains a vulnerability in the math formula that gives us RCE. The credentials for the Moodle application are found in a .png file that contains text instead of an actual image. After getting a shell with the math formula, we find the low privilege user credentials in the MySQL database. We then escalate to root by abusing a backup script running from a cronjob as root.

Curling - Hack The Box

This is the writeup for Curling, a pretty easy box with Joomla running. We can log in after doing basic recon and some educated guessing of the password.

Giddy - Hack The Box

This is the writeup for Giddy, a Windows machine with an interesting twist on SQL injection, PowerShell Web Access and a priv exploiting improper permissions.

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Creating a custom shellcode crypter

For this last SLAE assignment, I’ve created a custom shellcode crypter using the Salsa20 stream cipher. Salsa20 is a family of 256-bit stream ciphers designed in 2005 and submitted to eSTREAM, the ECRYPT Stream Cipher Project.

Custom shellcode encoder

A shellcode encoder can be used for different purposes such as modify an existing shellcode to make it harder to detect by AV engines or simply avoid bad characters (such as null-bytes).

Egghunter Linux Shellcode

An egghunter can be useful in situations where the buffer space the attacker controls is limited and doesn’t allow for a full shellcode to be placed on the stack. The egghunter acts as a staged payload: the smaller payload which is executed first looks through the entire process memory space for a marker (the egg) indicating the start of the larger payload. Once the egg is found, the stager jumps to the memory address following the egg and executes the shellcode.

TCP reverse shellcode

A TCP reverse shell connects back to the attacker machine, then executes a shell and redirects all input & output to the socket. This is especially useful when a firewall denies incoming connections but allows outgoing connections.

TCP bind shellcode

A bind shellcode listens on a socket, waiting for a connection to be made to the server then executes arbitrary code, typically spawning shell for the connecting user. This post demonstrates a simple TCP bind shellcode that executes a shell.

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