As an ethical hacker when you perform a pentest, you must follow some rules and process step by step to be efficient, below the different phases shortly explained.


The first step of a penetration test is to write an agreement, a kind of pre-engagement about the legal requirements and the rules of the test. It must be signed by both parties before starting the analysis. Some important informations have to be defined with your client:

  • the scope: ip range, URL, server…
  • the method used: white/grey/black box
  • the start date and the end date
  • the forbidden techniques: denial of service, social engineering…

> Read the agreement example by TrueSec



Here is a very interesting issue in MySQL database. SQL truncation occurs when you try to insert/update a field with a string which is longer than the maximum length defined in the table structure. For instance if you defined a column name as a varchar(8) and you provide abracadabra wich is 11, MySQL will truncate the string to 8 and will insert abracada instead. No message, no warning, nothing at all. This flaw can lead to security issue in some case.


First I create this small table:

  `id` int(11) unsigned NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
  `login` varchar(8) NOT NULL,
  `passwd` varchar(64) NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`)

Path traversal is a very powerful attack but not necessarily easy to find, fortunatly DotDotPwn is here to help you! DotDotPwn is a powerful traversal directory fuzzer. Written in perl, it’s installed in Kali Linux by default.

Basic usage is: -m <module> -h <host>

Several options are available:

-h: the host you want to test
-m: it supports http, ftp or text file as a payload
-o and -O: enable the operating system detection
-d: max depth it will look for (ie. max ../)
-f : file to grab (default is /etc/passwd for *nix system)
-E: try to grab some extra files depending of the os detection result
-S: ssl support
-x: specify the port
-r: output file
-q: quiet mode
-k: keyword to match in the response who means a win
-b: exit after the first vulnerability found
-M: http method to use with http module (can’t make it work)
-e: add an extension (.php, .png, …)

and some more…


Information gathering is the first and the most important step of a penetration test. More informations you will grab, easier the exploit will be.

Developed by Christian Martorella theHarvester is very usefull for this task. It’s a python script that will help you to find user emails and subdomains of a given domain by merely parsing search engines results. The following data sources are supported :

  • bing,
  • google, googleCSE, googleplus, google-profiles
  • jigsaw
  • linkedin
  • people123
  • pgp
  • shodan
  • twitter

theHarvester is by default installed on Kali Linux. Basic usage is: theharvester -d <domain> -b <source>


Check the home directory of flag03 and take note of the files there. There is a crontab that is called every couple of minutes. Files for this level can be found in /home/flag03.

First, let’s check the home directory of our target flag03:

Exploit Exercises Nebula Level03

Ok we have an empty directory with full access and a shell script who looks like this:

for i in /home/flag03/writable.d/* ; do
  (ulimit -t 5; bash -x "$i")
  rm -f "$i"