cracking the infernal hades

About a month ago, Vulnhub released a boot2root image built by Lok_Sigma called Hades. The box promised to be full of annoyances and it delivered them in droves. Requiring a combination of exploit development, reverse engineering and some out of the box thinking, I really enjoyed this challenge. I decided to share my solution now that the competition is over. It goes without saying this post has a lot of SPOILERS!

Big thanks go out to the Vulnhub team for the awesome work they do. Follow them on Twitter to keep up with the latest releases.

If you want to tackle Hades yourself, you can grab a copy of the machine here.


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part 3: cleaning and optimising shellcode

In Part 2: Building the shellcode, we created a bind shell on port 4444 which accepts connections from any host and then interacts with “/bin/sh” to facilitate remote code execution. Our shellcode however was littered with null bytes and would probably not be very useful if embedding in any exploit code.

In this final part, we will clean our code and remove any null bytes from our shellcode. We will also look at removing unnecessary instruction to make our shellcode smaller if possible. Lets get started.

Step one, lets take a look at our shellcode using objdump:

objdump -D bindshell -M intel

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part 2: building the shellcode

In Part 1: Disassembling and Understanding Shellcode we disassembled some shellcode and found out the steps required to create a bind shell. In Part 2, we will take each of these 6 steps, understand them and write assembly instructions to call them.

The steps we need to follow to create our bind shell are:
1. Socket
2. Bind
3. Listen
4. Accept
5. Dup2
6. Execve

We are going to spend a lot of time working with NASM (The Netwide Assembler). To install NASM, run the following command:

sudo apt-get install nasm

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part 1: disassembling and understanding shellcode

About a month ago I signed up for the Securitytube Linux Assembly Expert certification to get a deeper understanding of assembly and GDB. Doing so has helped me understand what is actually going on in the registers and not just relying on “hail-mary” advice like “use pop, pop, ret when dealing with SEH.” If you’re interested in Assembly or writing shellcode, I’d highly recommend you take the certification.

My first SLAE assignment was to write my own bind shell. I don’t know C well enough to code straight from memory, and even though I understand how individual assembly instructions affect data in the registers and the stack, I didn’t know how to string these together to create working shellcode. I couldn’t find many tutorials devoted to the subject so I decided to just dive in and build it from scratch.
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build a heartbleed test lab in 5 minutes

Lets be clear, I’m all about the offensive side of information security. I’m a pentester and I enjoy popping, rooting, owning and pwning all the things. I am aware that what we do is there to assist and encourage better defensive countermeasures but I just leave that to the experts. My colleague sitting nearby has the more unfortunate “defensive” job consisting of writing detections for all the evil things I do.

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post exploitation: finding passwords in haystacks

Often while conducting an internal pentest you may gain access to a user machine through some vulnerability or more commonly via social engineering. Let’s say that you pop a shell, unprivileged, and incognito only finds unprivileged domain tokens. You could move onto another target or you can try some post exploitation reconnaissance. A commonly overlooked source of sensitive information is documents that are stored on the company servers as well as staff who think they know enough to start sharing folders with their peers and end up sharing the root of ‘C’. These can be a fantastic source of juicy info if you know how to index and then search through them effectively.
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