TryHackMe write-up: Startup

4 min readJun 24, 2021


This is my write-up for TryHackMe’s Startup Room


Using nmap, I found that this box had 3 ports open.

The webpage looked like it was still under development.

I then ran gobuster and found a hidden folder.

Looking at the files directory, I saw the following:

Going back to the ftp service, I tried logging in via anonymous user.


Checking the ftp service, I found that I could upload a php file to the /ftp folder. I tried uploading the php reverse shell script found at

Looking back during the enumeration phase, I recalled that there was a folder named ftp inside the website’s files directory. I was able to access the uploaded php file.

Checking the netcat listener I opened prior to accessing shell1.php, I found that I now have a shell back to the target.

Checking the directory, I found that there is a file named recipe.txt. This contained the answer to the first question.

Looking back at the files and folders shown above, I saw an “incidents” folder. On looking further, it contained a pcap file. I was then able to transfer this file to my attacker machine via ftp.

Checking the traffic, I found that another hacker had a shell (same as what I had), and was trying to run sudo. However, the password used would not work.

But maybe the password would work for a different user? I tried switching to a different user and the password was correct for said user.

Privilege Escalation

Finding a way to escalate privilege was a bit tricky. I couldn’t run sudo as the current user and passwords weren’t available at accessible files.

Checking the files on the scripts folder, I found a script file and a text file. wrote something to startup_list.txt and then called /etc/ The thing is, after about a minute, startup_list.txt was modified by root.

Given that the text file was modified by root, it means that there must be another root process (maybe a cron job or something) that calls However, given that I didn’t have write privileges to, I had to write somewhere else. It’s a good thing that I had write permissions to /etc/ I then overwrote it to run a reverse shell back to my attacker machine.

After a while, I found that the target has connected back to my netcat listener and I had root permissions.