TryHackMe: Web Fundamentals

author: Nathan Acks
date: 2022-01-03

Introduction to Django


“Additionally, Django is arguably one of the most secure developing frameworks, which in the right configuration, can strongly resist against SQL injections and XSS.”

– Swafox in the “Introduction to Django” room

That’s a hell of a statement. We shall see.

Getting Started

Kali Linux comes with Django 3.2.10 pre-installed. I’m going to use that and hope it’s not too different from 2.2.12.

Creating a Website

Okay, one difference between Django 2.2 and 3.2 is that the import of django.urls in does not pull in include() in 3.2. So this needs to be added manually before inserting additional urlpattern elements.

The app created with python3 startapp articles also doesn’t include a file (though this seems to be by design; I checked a few other tutorials, and it isn’t listed there either). This meant that I had to construct both a basic and file in articles/ before python3 migrate could successfully set up the new app.


This CTF involves a Django site. The target is at

Going to reveals an error page stating that the target IP needs to be added to the ALLOWED_HOSTS array.

The provided username and password gets us into the target via SSH; we can see a Django project called messagebox here. Adding to the ALLOWED_HOSTS array in ~/messagebox/messagebox/ resolves the initial error, though it takes a few minutes to reload.

The app now directs us to, where there’s a kind of weird stream-of-consciousness wall of text. At the bottom of this is a “Decode this message?” prompt, but clicking “Yes” results in an error dialog.

The Django admin interface at doesn’t accept the SSH credentials.

Poking around more on the server, it turns out that the error produced by the “Decode this message?” prompt is hard-coded. Which I could probably have figured out if I looked at the page source.

Running sudo -l reveals that the django-admin user has full superuser access. Using this, we can conduct a search of the entire filesystem for “THM” style flags.