Status Report 20210801

So it’s been a couple months now, and I’m feeling great about everything that I’ve accomplished. I started out just going after every challenge that I could find, and mostly, I was able to accomplish success.

Shortly into my journey, I realized that I would have much better success with my learning if I were to separate tasks. I have been at the learning game for my entire life, always seeking more knowledge on everything that I do; and I’ve learned a few things about how learning can be best accomplished.

For the task of learning more about hacking, it would be the easy button to go ahead and pwn each box from start to finish. Do the scans, find the foot-hold, get in, then privilege escalate based on some further enumeration. That, however, is not the right answer if you want to get the maximum amount of learning out of each task! Therefore, I separated my learning into compartments that will yield a much greater result.

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HTB – Beep – FH: LFI

Foot-hold: Local File Inclusion

For the Beep box, there were several ports found with NMAP. Some looked like mail servers, and others for MySQL and other things. So I explored around for each of them.

Found login page via
Port 80 redirects to this…

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HTB – Popcorn – FH: File Upload

Foot-hold: File upload via the torrent server

The Popcorn machine was fun, and played on many things that I had learned through a Udemy Course for web application testing. Specifically, changing the name of a file upload to ensure that the server trusts you.

To begin, I did the nmap scan to find only port 22 and 80 available. This machine was one that was only going to give away tricks through the web interface. I don’t go after port 22 unless I have to! So port 80 it was.

Visiting the webpage showed only some text that said that the web server was working. The source code confirmed that there was nothing interesting, and therefore a dead-end. The program ‘Dirb’ had something entirely different to say, however. I always run nmap to begin, and dirb as a follow-on. Dirb resulted in the discovery of several directories, one of which was torrent. So that was the vector for further enumeration.

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HTB – Devel – FH: FTP

Foot-hold: ftp anonymous upload

Devel was not a tricky machine. It was pretty obvious that trying the ftp connection was the way. The NMAP showed port 21 and 80, which didn’t give too many options for an exploit. The website on port 80 only showed an IIS installation, and a link that went to the Microsoft site. Before running a directory scanner, I went ahead and tried the connection to the ftp portion of the server.

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HTB – Legacy & Lame – FH: Samba (SMB)

I mentioned not long ago that I am going to change my learning strategy a bit… my goal has always been to accomplish hacks and pwn machines; but right now, I think that my goal should be concentrated on the initial foot-hold of the boxes. Because of this small (temporary) change in strategy, I’ve moved from the Try Hack Me platform, to primarily the Hack The Box platform.

What HTB doesn’t give you is guidance toward what it takes to pwn a machine. THM does that every time, and it’s the primary way that the site works. Although there are a ton of writeups on HTB, they are not required to accomplish the pwn of a box. Therefore, what I am going to do is all of the initial reconnaissance and scans for each of the HTB boxes to which I am interested. At the same time, I’ll be taking a ton of notes… but not learning notes… I am not concentrated on writing reports based on the results of what I’ve found. I have a feeling this will prepare me for what I will find in the future.

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The Perfect Importance

I lied a bit in my previous post. I said that my next step after finishing a course in hacking was to organize my notes, and change this website so that it reflects them. The past week, I did quite a bit opposite to that!

After looking at my notes, I got very much interested in learning more. So much so, that I begin two more courses. One was in Web Application Testing, and the other was in Windows Privilege Escalation. I just couldn’t stop learning! The right answer was to do what I described in the previous paragraph, but something just led me to absolutely wanting to know more. I couldn’t stand the fact that there was so much more knowledge out there to learn. In perusing these new courses, I learned a lot, but still needed to take a step back.

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THM – Simple CTF

Tonight, I decided to go into a CTF box. I’ve been watching tons of CTF videos by John Hammond and The Cyber Mentor, so it was a logical step in trying to pwn a new box on Try Hack Me.

The tutorial was rather vague. I wasn’t sure why it was asking about port 1000 in since NMAP was only showing other ports. For that question of how many services were running on port 1000, I simply took a guess and got it right.

To start owning the box, I did the standard NMAP and Directory scanning. The Gobuster results were fairly quick, and showed a directory that reveiled a service being run called CMS Made Simple. It was pretty easy to find an exploit… I googled “exploit CMS made simple.” This reveiled the CVE number, and a python script.

The python script (after making it executable) had some errors. It turns out that I didn’t have some required imports for the script. After a pip install, it actually ran.

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THM – Hydra

A couple days ago, on the website, I clicked on a machine that was labeled very easy. I figured it wouldn’t take me long to try out the tool called Hydra to which they were referring… man was I wrong!

I wasn’t wrong because it was difficult; far from that. I was wrong because i thought it wouldn’t take much time. The results of my efforts were interesting and fun, but it took me quite a while to strategize how I was going to accomplish the pwn.

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THM – Mr Robot

NOTE: This is not a tutorial on the Mr Robot machine hosted by Try Hack Me. It is simply an overview of the strategy used to defeat the box, and a reference for that strategy.

The target machine was a simple server hosting a webpage. Other than the web ports, and SSH, there was nothing else to exploit. I ran across the wordpress construct right after I did a dirbuster search on the box. As soon as I saw ‘wp-content’ in the list, I felt pretty comfortable about the organization of the folders. Knowing the wordpress structure through years of experience allowed me to notice if anything of importance stood out. It also allowed me to play with a tool with which I don’t have much experience… wpscan.

It’s not uncommon to run multiple scans at once and look at results in real time as they present themselves. I mentioned the dirbuster results, but also ran wpscan as soon as wordpress was discovered. I didn’t have many results on that tool other than some suggestions for referenced attacks using meterpreter (wasn’t interested in that here), and some information about versions.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png
WPScan Header Screenshot
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Busy Week for Hacking

As the title implies, it’s been quite the week of learning. I was furiously attempting to finish the course I’m taking so that I can move onto another one. The one right now has a little bit of everything when it comes to hacking. The next one will focus directly on privilege escalation for Windows, and I’m looking forward to that!

Most of this week has been dedicated to hacking Windows, and playing around with PowerShell to manipulate a computer. There were also some awesome enumeration tools that I was introduced to. Those included PowerView, Bloodhound, smbenumgpp, and winpeas.

Following the enumeration, I learned about some attacks that were pretty awesome. It was impressive how easy it was to take advantage of the convenience of an Active Directory system. Kerberoasting was fun, and used a ticket granting service to make Windows give you the hash dumps. From there, it was simply a matter of obtaining the passwords with hashcat. Those passwords were then used to gain access to the domain controller. Although all pen testing environments won’t offer the same playground, it was important to understand how the system worked in order to open my eyes up to the challenges of a client’s Windows network. It also showed me just how important it was to make sure that a network and all of its users employs very strong passwords of over 14 characters. In addition, this environment of which I was playing gave domain admin to local user accounts on workstations. That made it rather easy to hack as well.

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