You’ve run your Nmap scan and you found the open web port. From the open web port, you’ve worked your way into the system and you have a low privilege shell. Now what?

The enumeration process starts all over again.

There are more than a few privilege escalation scripts as well as written documents that will aid in this process but only if you’re familiar with the operating system. If you’re hunting for that needle in the haystack but you don’t know what a needle looks like, how will you find it?  Recognizing that needle will come with time and I’m not trying to say you shouldn’t use those scripts.  Do use them but realize it could be overwhelming until you’re a bit more seasoned.

Read more: Pentesting 101: The Weakest Link

The first time I popped MS08-067 with Metasploit, I thought that was hacking.  And then I modified some exploit code I found on Exploit-db, popped a box, and I thought that was hacking.  In my current frame of reference, when I perform a buffer overflow, I get that feeling like I'm really hacking.  

So what is a buffer overflow?  Imagine you have a machine that dispenses soda into a can.  The can moves under the nozzle, the machine dispenses the right amount of soda to fit into the can, and the next can moves underneath the nozzle.  Now imagine that someone comes along with a hose and fills the can prior to it arriving underneath the nozzle.  When the machine dispenses the soda, the can overflows.  We have a design flaw.  The maker of the machine didn't anticipate that someone would come along and add liquid to the can prior to it arriving underneath the nozzle. 

Read more: Windows x86 Buffer Overflow

The stock Kali Linux distribution contains a number of password and word lists.  The most notable password list, RockYou, is from a breach that occurred in 2009.  The biggest revelation to come from this breach was the frequency of the most basic passwords.  The top five most used passwords in RockYou are:


In total, there were 32 million passwords in the RockYou breach but in the Kali version of this list, there are only 14 million passwords.

Read more: Pentesting 101: Passwords and Wordlists

I'm not critiquing the author because they are awesome!  However, I would say that dc-3 seems easier than dc-2 and if someone were to do these in order, this one would be later, not sooner.  That being said, I believe dc-6 was also easier and dc-5 is on my weekend list because it is different than the others.  Or perhaps at first glance, I missed something obvious with dc-5.  Time will tell.  

This machine was cool and it would definitely make a beginner think outside of the box.  It incorporates tools and technologies that you might not see every day.  I'm obviously trying not to spoil -- if someone is here just looking for a hint.  

Read more: Vulnhub DC: 2 Walkthrough

I've been doing this job for far too long and something like a power outage creates a certain level of panic at first discovery.  While we take numerous steps to protect from disasters the one true test is pulling the plug to see what happens.  That is essentially what a power outage does -- it brings a certain sense of randomness with it. 

When disaster strikes, we reach for the documentation which includes pictures of the entire server to guide those on site through the rack.  "Two down from the Cisco switch, that's the firewall.  Check to see if it's on."  Etc.

Once we were able to see the network, back to the documentation to retrieve the IP addresses for the hypervisors. 

Read more: Bad request timestamp () [40105]

I took a brief look at DC: 5 and I can read into the file system but it's definitely not obvious taking the next step.  Meanwhile, I just wrapped up DC: 3 and according to part of the description:

"For those with experience doing CTF and Boot2Root challenges, this probably won't take you long at all (in fact, it could take you less than 20 minutes easily)."

It didn't take long but it did take more than 20 minutes because I decided to learn how to write a Joomla reverse shell plugin.  When I wrote the WordPress Plugin : Reverse Shell, the thought occurred to me to do the same for Joomla but I didn't bother.  Given the easier target, it seemed like a good time.  And I learned something and that's what really matters.

Read more: Vulnhub DC: 3 Walkthrough