Hakluke’s Ultimate OSCP Guide: Part 3 — Practical hacking tips and tricks
So, you’ve finally signed up, paid the money, waited for the start date, logged in to the VPN, and are suddenly hit in the face with a plethora of vulnerable boxes and you have no idea where to start.
This part of the guide will show the general process I tend to use when approaching a new target in the OSCP labs. This is by no means a replacement for reading the PWK manual and doing the exercises, it’s a brief overview of some major vulnerability types and a few tips. You can always refer back to this post later, using it as a cheat sheet for command syntax.
First of all, we need to know what boxes exist on the network nmap run a ping scan:
nmap -sn 10.0.0.0/24
The above command will test whether all machines in the 10.0.0.0/24 subnet are alive (10.0.0.0–10.0.0.255). You may need to change this for the lab network.
Once I have chosen a host, the first thing I always do is:
nmap -A -oA nmap $targetip
This will scan the 1024 most common ports, run OS detection, run default nmap scripts, and save the results in a number of formats in the current directory.
Scanning more deeply:
nmap -v -p- -sT $targetip
This will scan all 65535 ports on $targetip with a full connect scan. This scan will probably take a very long time. The -v stands for verbose, so that when a new port is discovered, it will print it out straight away instead of having to wait until the end of the scan, scanning this many ports over the internet takes a long time. I would often leave the scan running overnight, or move on to a different box in the meantime.
From these initial nmap scans, we should have gained a lot of information about machine — we know what ports are open, and usually what services they are running.
If the server is running HTTP or HTTPS, the next logical step is to check it out in a web browser. What does it display? Is it a potentially vulnerable web application? Is it a default web server page which reveals version…