HTB Access Walkthrough

Updated On: 03/03/19

This was my first box that I pwned on HTB. Let's get started.

nmap scan

The first thing I noticed was that anonymous FTP logins were allowed - time to explore.

nmap scan

Note: Telnet is also open (we'll need that for later)

Port 21 - FTP

I logged in as "ftp" (no password needed).

ftp login

There's a directory called "Backups" with a Microsoft Database file in it, so I transferred that to my Kali box to investigate it further.

ftp list

Note: the binary command will change the file transfer mode from ASCII to binary. This is so you can transmit a file other than ASCII from the FTP server.

ftp backup transfer

There's also a zip folder in the "Engineers" directory that I transferred over as well.

ftp zip transfer

File Analysis

The zip folder was password protected, so I figured that the password would be located somewhere in the database that I just transferred over.

Since the database is in a specific format that isn't natively compatible with Kali, I found a tool called mdb-tools that allowed me to export the tables to CSV files.

There's a long list of tables, so I just decided to export them all.

mdb tables list

The command to export all of the tables is "mdb-tables -d ‘,’ backup.mdb | xargs -L1 -d’,’ -I{} bash -c ‘mdb-export backup.mdb “$1” > “$1”.csv’ --{}".

Reference link for the exporting command.

One of the tables titled "auth_user" had a short list of what looked like were usernames and passwords.

auth users csv

The password that worked was "access4u@security" to open the zip folder.

zip folder

The unzipped folder gives us a .pst file (Microsoft Outlook file) and I used the "readpst" tool on Kali to convert it so I could read it.

As you can see in the email below, the new password for the "security" account is "4Cc3ssC0ntr0ller".


Port 23 - Telnet

This is where telnet comes into play. You can login as the "security" account onto their server.


If you navigate to the user's desktop folder, you will find the user's flag. The "more" command allows you to read txt files from the command line.

user flag

Privilege Escalation - Admin

I didn't have access to to the Administrator folder where the root flag was so I had to do some digging.

The "cmdkey /list" command will show you any stored credentials on the machine.


Conveniently enough, the Administrator credentials are stored on this machine, which means that we can run certain commands as an Administrator. *cue evil laugh*

The only limitation with this is that I can only run .exe files as an Admin.

I wanted to get a reverse shell going on the machine so I could view the file as an Admin. I had to get netcat on the machine first, so I set up a simple Python HTTP server to transfer the exe over.

python server

Note: ignore the first two GET commands in that screenshot, I was testing out a PowerShell exploit that didn't work out.

Once your server is running, you can go back to the Windows machine and use PowerShell to download the .exe file.

netcat download

Once the exe is downloaded, you can set up your listener on Kali. Reference link to set up a listener.

netcat listener

Next, you can run netcat as an admin to spawn the shell.

runas command

The "/savecred" parameter allows you to use those stored Admin credentials to run the command. The "/env" parameter keeps it in the same command line environment.


We have a shell! Now, you can navigate to the Admin's Desktop and view the root flag file.


If you're confused about any of the commands I used to escalate to root, here's a link to the tutorial I used to get the reverse shell going.

Check out my other pen testing walkthroughs here