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UMassCTF '21 Hermit 2 WriteUp

hermit logo


The image above is what we see when visiting the challenge URL (

That’s strange. Initially I thought the site is down but it’s fine.

Let’s try to connect with NetCat and see what the server tell us and why browser can’t display it.

nc -vvv 8087

and response we get back is: [] 8087 (?) open
SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_7.9p1 Debian-10+deb10u2

Doesn’t look like valid HTTP resopnse lol. Ok now we know that SSH server is running on that port so let’s try to connect.

ssh -p 8087 - and we see the prompt to enter a password for myself (krydos). It isn’t clear what user should I use. And even if we know the user what is the password?

As a hint the challenge name is hermit so the user is probably has the same name but we still need to know password.

Poking around, trying different things I noticed that hermit 2 challenge is on the same IP address where hermit 1 is.

That’s actually great because we have shell access on the server from the previous challenge.

So I went to /home/hermit/.ssh folder, copied user’s private key and used it in my ssh command like this:

ssh -i /tmp/hermit.ssh.private.key hermit@ -p 8087

We’re in. Now… where is the flag? We know one flag from the previous challenge but I wasn’t able to find another one.

Grep’ing everything didn’t help. My assumption was that the flag is somewhere in /root folder or somewhere else where hermit user doesn’t have access to.

Now… how can I become a root? Tried some stuff but didn’t find anything useful.

Then I grepped for flag in /etc folder and I found

hermit ALL = (root) NOPASSWD: /bin/gzip -f /root/rootflag.txt -t in /etc/sudoers file.

This record means that we can execute that command without asking for password.

Let’s do it:

sudo /bin/gzip -f /root/rootflag.txt -t and we see the flag - UMASS{a_test_of_integrity}


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