Gears of War: EP#1 Vulnhub Walkthrough

Gears of War: EP#1 VM is made by eDu809. This VM is a purposely built vulnerable lab with the intent of gaining experience in the world of penetration testing. It is of intermediate level and is very handy in order to brush up your skills as a penetration tester. The ultimate goal of this challenge is to get root and to read the root flag.

Level: Intermediate

Since these labs are available on the Vulnhub Website. We will be downloading the lab file from this link.

Penetration Testing Methodology

Network Scanning

  • Netdiscover
  • Nmap Port Scan


  • Browsing HTTP Service
  • SMB Login


  • Using Crunch to generate a wordlist
  • Using Fcrack to bruteforce ZIP file password
  • Using Hydra to bruteforce SSH Login

Privilege Escalation

  • Reading /etc/passwd File
  • Getting SUID bit files
  • Using Openssl for generating a password hash
  • Adding  User to /tmp file
  • Reading Final Flag


Network Scanning

Let’s start by scanning the network for targets using Netdiscover.

We found the target IP Address Let’s begin with basic port scanning with NMAP.


For more details, we will need to start enumeration against the host machine. Therefore, we will navigate to a web browser for exploring HTTP service since port 80 is open.

Since HTTP service was not much of a help. On the other hand, we can clearly note from the nmap scan that we have the SMB service running, and we don’t have any credentials for the ssh so we went directly on with SMB. We logged in using the command mentioned. There is a list of shared directories. We tried accessing LOCUS_LAN$ directory and enumerated it. We find a notes.txt file and file. Let’s transfer these files on our machine to read their contents.

We tried opening the file but it seems password protected.

We thought of reading the contents of SOS.txt file and it was a success. It surely gave us a hint about the characters of the password for ZIP file.


It’s time to FIRE UP!! Crunch and generate a wordlist as per the combination of the password we have fetched from the SOS.txt file.

Once the wordlist is all set up, we have used FCRACK TOOL to crack the password for the ZIP file as shown below.

The password for the ZIP file is r44M. We also found a key.txt file inside the ZIP file.

After reading the key.txt file, we got another credential which could be useful for SSH login but we still need a username. Bring up HYDRA.

We have brute forced the username for SSh Login using hydra with password 3_d4y.

After successfully logged into SSH, we try enumerating the /etc directory but couldn’t because user Marcus doesn’t have the privileges to access the /etc directory.

Privilege Escalation

Since our target machine is in a bash shell. We will be using a command to force SSH for TTY allocation. This will help us run commands as an administrator. Finally, we are able to access the /etc directory.

On reading the passwd file which was not much help, but we got an idea what we can do next.

On checking the SUID bit for all the readable files under /bin directory, we came to know that the current user can use the cp command. This is going to be interesting.

Without any further waiting, we need the password hash for the user that we are going to create on the target machine by making an entry in the /etc/passwd file. We are going to use the openssl to generate a salted hash.

Now back to our user marcus on the target machine. Here we are going to use the hash that we generated in the previous step and make a user raj which has the elevated privilege. We have to use nano command to make an entry in the /tmp directory. After making an entry we checked the entry using the tail command. cd /tmp

Now all we to do login using username and password, we just created to get our root shell. On enumeration we found flag.txt.

Time to Read our Final Flag!!

Author: Ashray Gupta is a Security Researcher and Technical Writer at Hacking Articles. Contributing his 3 years in the field of security as a Penetration Tester and Security Analyst. Contact Here

HA: Chakravyuh Vulnhub Walkthrough

Today we are going to solve our Boot to Root challenge called “HA Chakravyuh”. We have developed this lab for the purpose of online penetration practices. It is based on the Mahabharat Saga’s renowned Battle Formation by the same name. Let’s Solve it!!

Download Here

Level: Intermediate

Task: To Enumerate the Target Machine and Get the Root Access.

Penetration Methodologies

  • Network Scanning
    • Netdiscover
    • Nmap Scan
  • Enumeration
    • Browsing HTTP Service
    • Anonymous FTP Login
    • Password Bruteforce using John The Ripper
    • Getting Login Credentials
    • Searching Exploit using Searchsploit
  • Exploitation
    • Exploiting LFI Vulnerability
    • Getting a reverse connection
    • Spawning a TTY Shell
  • Privilege Escalation
    • Docker


Network Scanning

After downloading, run the Machine in VMWare Workstation. To work on the machine, we will be needing its IP Address. For this, we will be using the netdiscover command. After matching the MAC and IP Address we found the Virtual Machine IP Address to be

Now that we have the Target Machine IP Address, our next logical step would be to do a port scan on the target to get information about the various services that are running on the target machine. After the Aggressive Scan of all the ports, we see that we have the SSH service (22), HTTP service (80), FTP service (65530) running on the Target Machine. We did a scan for all the ports because sometimes Administrators set up a service on a different port altogether so that they are not visible in a normal scan.


Moving on, we observed that we have the HTTP service running. It is probable that a web page is hosted. So, we decided to take a look through our Web Browser. It contained a webpage with a painting depicting Arjuna battling to break the Chakravyuh. We did a thorough browsing of the webpage. We went through its source code and images, but there was no way in or any hint.

We then diverted our attention to the service that was shifted to port 65530. During our Nmap aggressive scan, we saw that Nmap was able to tell us that the Anonymous login is enabled on this server. We decided to take a look at the shared files. So, after logging in the FTP service we looked around to find a directory named pub. Inside it was a Compressed 7z file named arjun. To take a closer look we downloaded the file with the help of get command.

After successfully downloading we tried to open the Compressed file using the Archive Manager as shown in the image below. It gave us a prompt for a password. We currently didn’t have any passwords. So now we have to try and enumerate the password for this file.

We didn’t have any choice other than brute force the password. In order to brute force with John The Ripper. We required a python script that could give us the hashed from the compressed file. These scripts usually have the name as “xyz2john”, where xyz would be the file extension that we need hashes from. We googled 7z2john, we found the script and saved on our system as It is pretty easy to find this script. But still, if you don’t get it, you can download by clicking here.  Now that we have the python script, we extracted the hashes from the file and ran John The Ripper to crack the password hash. Upon cracking we see that we have the password as “family”.

We opened the Compressed file to find a text file named secret inside it. On opening the secret.txt we find an encoded text inside it. On a first look, it seemed like Base64 encoded text. 

We decoded the text found in the secret.txt using the echo and base64 command. The encryption was indeed base64. Upon decryption, we see that the text hints that we have Gila CMS to deal with in this scenario. Also, we got what seems to be login id and password.

Since we got the hint that we have the Gila CMS. We tried to visit the link to access the page hosted with the help of Gila CMS. And we have a webpage as shown in the image below.

We also tried the admin keyword to access the login panel. This came out to be the actual login panel. So, we entered the credentials we found earlier.

They worked like charm. We got inside the Gila CMS admin panel. We took a look around to see if we have any hints or any way to exploit it.

After looking for a while we couldn’t find any way in through the CMS. So, we went onto the basics. We searched for Gila CMS in searchsploit. We saw that we have a Local File Inclusion Vulnerability that could be useful. We downloaded the exploit to our Attacker machine. After completion of the Download.


In the exploit we see that we have the link but as mentioned by the author of the exploit that the PoC mentioned works on Xampp Server and we have a Linux machine as the target machine. So, we changed the link to point at the /etc/passwd. Also, it has the website set at the gilacms section and we found that we have it at /gila/. So, we changed that bit too.

We see that we have the list of all the files hosted via the Gila CMS. We see that we have the index.php file. It seemed like our way in. So, we opened the file. It contained the PHP code for the display of the index page. We used our PHP reverse shellcode by pentestmonkey. It can be found here. We changed the IP Address in the shell to the IP Address of our Attacker Machine. We started a netcat listener on our attacker machine on the port that we mentioned in our reverse shell. After making the necessary changes, we saved the changes in index.php. And we opened the file in the Web Browser.

As we opened the file, the PHP reverse shell got executed and we got the shell on the target machine. It was an improper shell. So, we used the python one-liner to convert it into a proper shell. After getting the shell as per our satisfaction we ran the id command to see the users and groups on the target machine. We got to know that we have a docker user group. This could help us in Privilege Escalation.

Privilege Escalation

Since we have access to the user which is a part of the docker group. While working we docker we know that there is an issue with the docker that all the commands in docker require sudo as docker needs root to run. The Docker daemon works in such a way that it is allowed access to the root user or any other user in the particular docker group. This shows that access to the docker group is the same as to give a perpetual, root access without any password. We ran the command shown below. This command obtains the alpine image from the Docker Hub Registry and runs it. The –v parameter specifies that we want to create a volume in the Docker instance. The –it parameters put the Docker into the shell mode rather than starting a daemon process. The instance is set up to mount the root filesystem of the target machine to the instance volume, so when the instance starts it immediately loads a chroot into that volume. This gives us the root of the machine. After running the command, we traverse into the /mnt directory and found out flag.txt. This concludes this lab.

Author: Pavandeep Singh is a Technical Writer, Researcher and Penetration Tester Contact here

HA Rudra: Vulnhub Walkthrough

This is our Walkthrough for HA: Rudra” and this CTF is designed by Hacking Articles Team 😊. Lord Rudra also known as Shiv, Bolenath, Mahadev and he is Venerable by Hinduism. We have designed this VM because it is festival eve in India and all Indian strongly believe in Indian culture and religions and also to spread awareness of Indian culture among all people, hope you will enjoy.

There are multiple methods to solve this machine or direct way to finish the task.

You can download from here.

Level: Intermediate

Task: Boot to Root

Penetration Methodologies

Initial Recon

  • netdiscover
  • Nmap
  • Shared directory
  • dirb

Initial Compromise

  • LFI

Established Foothold

  • Netcat session

Internal Recon

  • Access Mysql database

Data Exfiltration

  • Steganography

Lateral Movement

  • Connect to ssh

Privilege Escalation

  • Sudo rights


Initial Recon

First of all, we try to identify our target. We did this using the netdiscover command. It came out to be

Now that we have identified our target using the above command, we can continue to our second step that is scanning the target. We will use Nmap to scan the target with the following command:

We found port 22, 80 and 2049 are open for ssh, HTTP and NFS respectively, let’s go for services enumeration.

When you will explore machine IP in the web browser, it will display the beautiful sight of lord shiva.

If you didn’t find any hint from web page, then without wasting time enumerate the share directory since NFS service is running on the host machine.

when you will mount the whole shared directory in your local machine, you’ll a text file named “mahadev.txt”.

Till now we didn’t find any hint to establish our foothold, therefore we chose DIRB for directory brute force attack and Luckily found URL for robots.txt file.

Now when you will navigate to the following URL, it will give a hint for nandi.php

But on exploring /nandi.php, it will give you a blank page and this hint might be indicating the possibility for LFI.

Initial Compromised

To ensure that the host machine is vulnerable to LFI, you need to try to extract /etc/passwd file and this will show you some usernames from here: Rudra, Shivay and mahakaal as shown below.

This phase is considered as initial compromised stage because with the help of LFI we are able to extract low privilege data.

Established foothold

To established foothold, you need to spawn shell of the host machine by injecting malicious file. As you know due to NFS we are able to access share directory and also web application is vulnerable to LFI and for exploiting the host machine first upload the PHP backdoor (penetestmonkey PHP reverse shell) inside the mount directory “/tmp/ignite” and then execute it through a web browser.

As you can observe in the above image, we have uploaded the PHP backdoor inside /tmp/ignite and now will use LFI to trigger the shell.php file. Keep the Netcat listener ON for reverse connection.


Internal Recon

As soon as you will trigger the backdoor, it will give the reverse connection of the host machine.

Once we have compromised the host machine, then go for Internal Recon, as you can observe this time, we have used netstat to identify the network statics and found MySQL is running on localhost.

Without wasting time, we get into MySQL DBMS and enumerated the following information:

It means there are is something inside media filesystem and the author wants to dig it out.

Data Exfiltration-Steganography

So, when you will move inside /media directory then you will get two files named “creds and hint” and the “hint” file contains the following hints:


Message: Without noise

The cred file contains emojis and it looks like a kind of steganography, download the cred file in your local machine (I saved as /root/pwd) and without wasting we explored the given link. This link will open the article on data exfiltration tool named cloackify which is used by the author for hiding text behind emojis.

With the help of the above link, you can extract the hidden text behind emojis. Follow the below step in your local machine.

Download the tool from GitHub and run a python script as shown then decrypt the file without noise as given inside the hint file.

Choose emoji as a type of ciphers and press key 3. This will save the decoded text inside /root/decodedpwd as shown below.

And we found the credential for the following:

Lateral Movement

So with the help above credential, we connect to ssh service and start post enumeration. Thus, we check sudo right for mahakaal and found that he has sudo right to run /usr/bin/watch program other than root which means with ALL specified, user mahakaal can run the binary / usr/bin/watch as any user.

Privilege Escalation

The author added this loophole because it is the latest zero-day exploit CVE: 2019-14287 and you should to proactive to bypass it.

Type following for escalating the root the shell:

Conclusion: The VM was designed to cover each track of the kill chain by considering red team approach and proactive learning with latest vulnerabilities.

Hope you have enjoyed this machine. Happy Hacking!!!!!!!

Author: Pavandeep Singh is a Technical Writer, Researcher and Penetration Tester Contact here

Drupal: Reverseshell

In this post, you will learn how to test security loopholes in Drupal CMS for any critical vulnerability which can cause great damage to any website if found on any webserver.  In this article, you will learn how a misconfigured web application can be easily exploited.

Remote Code Execution: Remote Code Evaluation is a vulnerability that occurs because of the unsafe handling of inputs by the server application or that can be exploited if user input is injected into a File or a String and executed by the programming language’s parser or the user input is not sanitised properly in POST request and also when accepting query string param during GET requests.

Therefore a Remote Code Evaluation can lead to a full compromise of the vulnerable web application and also a web server.

Let’s Begin!!

So the drupal is accessible through a web browser by exploring the following URL:

And this opens the default home page, to access the dashboard you must-have credential for login.

So, to access the user console, I used following creds.

After accessing the admin console, it was time to exploit web application by injecting malicious content inside it. Directly writing malicious scripts as web content will not give us the reverse shell of the application but after spending some time, we concluded that it requires PHP module. We, therefore, move to install new module through Manage>Extend>List>Install new module.

You can download the PHP package for Drupal from the URL below and upload the tar file to install the new module.

To install php module upload the tar file that was downloaded.

So, when the installation is completed, we need to enable to the added module.

Again, move to Manage > Extend >filters and enable the checkbox for PHP filters.

Now use the Pentest monkey PHP script, i.e. “reverse shell backdoor.php” to be injected as basic content. Don’t forget to add a “listening IP & port” to get a reversed connection. Continue to change the “text format to PHP” and enable the publishing checkbox. Keep the netcat listener ON in order to receive the incoming shell.

When everything is set accordingly, click the preview button and you’ll get the reverse connection over the netcat.

Hence, we got the reverse connection of the host machine.

Author: Komal Singh is a Cyber Security Researcher and Technical Content Writer, she is completely enthusiastic pentester and Security Analyst at Ignite Technologies. Contact Here