Created: Aug 14, 2023

[HackTheBox Write-Up: Keeper] - [Easy]


In today's write-up, we'll be diving deep into the Keeper machine from HackTheBox. This machine teaches a very important lesson about the interconnectedness of vulnerabilities and how, at times, lateral thinking is just as important as technical know-how.

Initial Reconnaissance

The journey began at the Keeper website http://keeper.htb, which pointed us to http://tickets.keeper.htb/, a login page for Request Tracker. It's always a good idea to start with the basics, and in this case, trying default credentials bore fruit: 'root:password' were the default credentials for the Request Tracker administrative interface.

Digging Deeper

Inside, there was a single issue: someone had trouble with their KeePass. The user had dumped their KeePass file in their home directory for investigation. A quick look at the user's profile revealed a note containing user's initial password: Welcome2023!. This was my ticket in.


Gaining Initial Access

Using the password, I SSHed into the machine and secured first flag: the user flag. But the journey was far from over. In the user's home directory, there was a ZIP file containing two intriguing items: keystore.kdbx and keepass.dmp.

Exploiting Known Vulnerabilities

After some research, a vulnerability (CVE-2023-32784) was found, that would allow to dump the master password from keepass.dmp. However, the dumped password, **dgr*d med fl*de, was incomplete.


A crucial clue was found back in the user's profile on Request Tracker. Investigating user's name and city, it was clear the user was Danish.


And for anyone familiar with the Danish language, **dgr*d med fl*de can be decoded to rødgrød med fløde, a popular Danish dish translating to 'red porridge with cream'. The special character 'ø' was the reason initial exploit didn't dump the entire password.

Cracking the KeePass Vault

Using the web-based KeePass client at, I unlocked the .kdbx file with the password 'rødgrød med fløde'. Inside, I found the contents of a PuTTY PPK file for the root user:


Root Access

With puttygen, it's easy to convert the PPK to an id_rsa SSH private key, which allows to SSH into the machine as root. The journey concluded with the capture of the root flag:

$ puttygen key.ppk -O private-openssh -o id_rsa

$ chmod 600 id_rsa

$ ssh -i id_rsa [email protected]



The Keeper machine offered a wonderful blend of technical challenges and cultural nuances. It emphasized the importance of keen observation and the need to sometimes think outside the box — or in this case, outside the language. Whether it's a default password or a Danish dish, every piece of information can be the key to unlocking the next stage. Always keep your eyes open, and remember: hacking is as much an art as it is a science.