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Using Metasploit for System Penetration Testing and Security Hardening

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The Metasploit Framework is the foundation on which commercial add-on products for Metasploit Pro are built. 


It is an open source project that provides the infrastructure, content, and tools for performing system penetration tests and security auditing.


A quick overview of the basics:




A Metasploit module is a standalone piece of code that extends the functionality of the Metasploit Framework system.


A module can be an:


No operation payload (NOP)
Post-exploitation module



For example, an exploit uses a payload to deliver code for running on another machine. The payload can open a shell or a Meterpreter session to run an exploitation module.


The encoder ensures the payload is delivered and the “no operation payload” or NOP ensures the payload size is kept consistent.


Metasploit comes pre-installed on Kali Linux. There are also pre-installed ready-to-use virtual machines with Kali Linux and Metasploit Framework available for download.



To install Metasploit on Ubuntu


First install Oracle Java 8


add the Oracle Java Package source:


sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:webupd8team/java


sudo apt-get update


sudo apt-get -y install oracle-java8-installer


Then install dependencies that are needed by Metasploit Framework:


sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade


sudo apt-get install build-essential libreadline-dev libssl-dev libpq5 libpq-dev libreadline5 libsqlite3-dev libpcap-dev git-core autoconf postgresql pgadmin3 curl zlib1g-dev libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev libyaml-dev curl zlib1g-dev gawk bison libffi-dev libgdbm-dev libncurses5-dev libtool sqlite3 libgmp-dev gnupg2 dirmngr



How to Start mfsconsole


then you can start the msfconsole. This is the primary user interface to Metasploit Framework.



IMPORTANT! Please run msfdb as a non-root user!


Do not run as root!



root@asus:~# msfconsole



. .

‘ dB’ BBP
dB’dB’dB’ dBBP dBP dBP BB
dB’dB’dB’ dBP dBP dBP BB

. . dB’ dBP dB’.BP
| dBP dBBBB’ dBP dB’.BP dBP dBP
–o– dBP dBP dBP dB’.BP dBP dBP

o To boldly go where no
shell has gone before


=[ metasploit v6.1.35-dev ]
+ — –=[ 2209 exploits – 1171 auxiliary – 395 post ]
+ — –=[ 615 payloads – 45 encoders – 11 nops ]
+ — –=[ 9 evasion ]


Metasploit tip: You can use help to view all
available commands


msf6 >
msf6 >




Set Up a Database for Metasploit


The first essential task is to set up a database for Metasploit:


Most of the database creation is now handled by the Metasploit installation routine.


After you’ve set up the database, you need to connect to it.


You will need to manually connect to the database each time you launch msfconsole.



So once you have completed the installation of Metasploit, start msfconsole and then run the following command in the console:


msf6 >
msf6 >


msfdb init



msf6 > msfdb init
[*] exec: 

[?] Would you like to init the webservice? (Not Required) [no]: Clearing http web data service credentials in msfconsole


Running the ‘init’ command for the database:
Existing database found, attempting to start it
Starting database at /home/kevin/.msf4/db…success
msf6 >
msf6 >



and then you can connect with


db_connect msfdb


db_connect msfdb
[*] Connected to Postgres data service: /msfdb
msf6 >



You can then assemble commands and run exploits using msfconsole.



Remember that each time you restart msfconsole you first need to run the two commands:


msfdb init
db_connect msfdb



msf6 > msfdb init
[*] exec: msfdb init


[?] Would you like to init the webservice? (Not Required) [no]:
Clearing http web data service credentials in msfconsole
Running the ‘init’ command for the database:
Existing database running
msf6 > db_connect msfdb
[*] Connected to Postgres data service: /msfdb
msf6 >



to verify that you are connected to the database you can run this command at any time:


msf6 > db_status
[*] Connected to msfdb. Connection type: postgresql. Connection name: local_db_service.
msf6 >




msfconsole Command Overview



msf6 > help

Core Commands

Command Description
------- -----------
? Help menu
banner Display an awesome metasploit banner
cd Change the current working directory
color Toggle color
connect Communicate with a host
debug Display information useful for debugging
exit Exit the console
features Display the list of not yet released features that can be opted in to
get Gets the value of a context-specific variable
getg Gets the value of a global variable
grep Grep the output of another command
help Help menu
history Show command history
load Load a framework plugin
quit Exit the console
repeat Repeat a list of commands
route Route traffic through a session
save Saves the active datastores
sessions Dump session listings and display information about sessions
set Sets a context-specific variable to a value
setg Sets a global variable to a value
sleep Do nothing for the specified number of seconds
spool Write console output into a file as well the screen
threads View and manipulate background threads
tips Show a list of useful productivity tips
unload Unload a framework plugin
unset Unsets one or more context-specific variables
unsetg Unsets one or more global variables
version Show the framework and console library version numbers

Module Commands

Command Description
------- -----------
advanced Displays advanced options for one or more modules
back Move back from the current context
clearm Clear the module stack
favorite Add module(s) to the list of favorite modules
info Displays information about one or more modules
listm List the module stack
loadpath Searches for and loads modules from a path
options Displays global options or for one or more modules
popm Pops the latest module off the stack and makes it active
previous Sets the previously loaded module as the current module
pushm Pushes the active or list of modules onto the module stack
reload_all Reloads all modules from all defined module paths
search Searches module names and descriptions
show Displays modules of a given type, or all modules
use Interact with a module by name or search term/index

Job Commands

Command Description
------- -----------
handler Start a payload handler as job
jobs Displays and manages jobs
kill Kill a job
rename_job Rename a job

Resource Script Commands

Command Description
------- -----------
makerc Save commands entered since start to a file
resource Run the commands stored in a file

Database Backend Commands

Command Description
------- -----------
analyze Analyze database information about a specific address or address range
db_connect Connect to an existing data service
db_disconnect Disconnect from the current data service
db_export Export a file containing the contents of the database
db_import Import a scan result file (filetype will be auto-detected)
db_nmap Executes nmap and records the output automatically
db_rebuild_cache Rebuilds the database-stored module cache (deprecated)
db_remove Remove the saved data service entry
db_save Save the current data service connection as the default to reconnect on startup
db_status Show the current data service status
hosts List all hosts in the database
loot List all loot in the database
notes List all notes in the database
services List all services in the database
vulns List all vulnerabilities in the database
workspace Switch between database workspaces

Credentials Backend Commands

Command Description
------- -----------
creds List all credentials in the database

Developer Commands

Command Description
------- -----------
edit Edit the current module or a file with the preferred editor
irb Open an interactive Ruby shell in the current context
log Display framework.log paged to the end if possible
pry Open the Pry debugger on the current module or Framework
reload_lib Reload Ruby library files from specified paths
time Time how long it takes to run a particular command


`msfconsole` is the primary interface to Metasploit Framework. There is quite a
lot that needs go here, please be patient and keep an eye on this space!

Building ranges and lists

Many commands and options that take a list of things can use ranges to avoid
having to manually list each desired thing. All ranges are inclusive.

### Ranges of IDs

Commands that take a list of IDs can use ranges to help. Individual IDs must be
separated by a `,` (no space allowed) and ranges can be expressed with either
`-` or `..`.

### Ranges of IPs

There are several ways to specify ranges of IP addresses that can be mixed
together. The first way is a list of IPs separated by just a ` ` (ASCII space),
with an optional `,`. The next way is two complete IP addresses in the form of
specifications may also be used, however the whole address must be given to
Metasploit like `` and not `127/8`, contrary to the RFC.
Additionally, a netmask can be used in conjunction with a domain name to
dynamically resolve which block to target. All these methods work for both IPv4
and IPv6 addresses. IPv4 addresses can also be specified with special octet
ranges from the [NMAP target

### Examples

Terminate the first sessions:

sessions -k 1

Stop some extra running jobs:

jobs -k 2-6,7,8,11..15

Check a set of IP addresses:

check, 127.0.0-2.1-4,15

Target a set of IPv6 hosts:

set RHOSTS fe80::3990:0000/110, ::1-::f0f0

Target a block from a resolved domain name:

set RHOSTS www.example.test/24
msf6 >

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