TryHackMe: Complete Beginner

author: Nathan Acks
date: 2021-10-29

Common Linux Privsec

Direction of Privilege Escalation


In general, vertical escalation involves obtaining root/SYSTEM access.


TryHackMe is going to focus on the use of the LinEnum script. Direct download via:

curl -O

Abusing SUID/GUID Files

# Find SUID/SGID binaries
find / -type f -perm -u=s
# ...or...
find / -type f -perm -4000

Recall that leading a permission specified with - in find requires that all of the specified permission bits be set (but is agnostic as to the presence/absence of additional permissions); for numeric permissions 0 effectively acts as a wildcard.

Exploiting Writeable /etc/passwd

Strangely, it turns out that the x in the password field for /etc/password isn’t just anachronistic - it still literally means “look in /etc/shadow”. If a password is present in that field instead… Well, the login process (at least on most Linux systems) will still use that!

Compliant password hashes can be created with the openssl passwd command. For example, to create an MD5 hashed password:

openssl passwd -1 -salt $SALT $PASSWORD

It’s also possible to have multiple users with the same UID and GID in /etc/passwd (wut?). So this is a way of “cloning” the root account.

Escaping the Vi Editor

The sudo -l command will helpfully tell us what we can run as the superuser without a password.

A compendium of binary escapes: GTFOBins.

Expanding Your Knowledge

Linux privilege escalation checklists: