The Hack The Box Meetup is a monthly online event hosted on the first Tuesday of every month by Hack South. The meetup is an opportunity to connect with other InfoSec enthusiasts, learn new tools and tricks, exchange knowledge and of course Hack The Box.

A new theme is followed each month and tonight was focussed on Password Cracking. The stream recording can be viewed on our YouTube channel.

The meetups always ends with an opportunity to implement what you have just learnt and tonight was no different. After working through a few basic password cracking tasks together the ultimate challenge was handed out…


Contained within this .zip archive are 3 files. Each have used different password protection methods/hashes and contain a portion of the final flag that needs to be retrieved and submitted to the facilitators. The first 3 people to crack all 3 hashes (passwords) would win a Hack The Box VIP+ monthly subscription. A wordlist has been provided to ensure that the playing field is levelled. customWordlist.txt


  • The first thing I did was download the archive and extract the contents. Within the archive were 3 files that I renamed for ease of reference:
excelDB(Challenge 1).xlsx           ->      1.xlsx
LetsHashThisOut(Challenge 2).txt    ->      2.txt                      ->
  • I started with 2.txt as the contents of the file looked like a standard bcrypt hash. I noticed an additional whitespace at the end so I removed that quickly. To confirm, I copied the hash and dropped it in

hash identifier

  • Having confirmed the hash code, I ran hashcat -m 3200 2.txt customWordlist.txt and got the second part of the flag; ReLeAs3_tHe

running hashcat

  • Next I moved on to After trying to open the archive I was prompted to provide a password. It was clear that I needed to crack the .zip password first. Using zip2john > zip.txt created a hashable file that I could feed to John The Ripper and get the password shelby. I could now “unlock” the .zip archive using that password and read the file flag3.txt that had the third part of the flag: _CrAcK!nG}


  • Last but not least was 1.xlsx which was also password protected. XLSX is a Microsoft Office filetype (Microsoft Excel) and a quick Google search pointed me to office2john. Using locate office2john I found the file path and file type (Python).

  • Using python /usr/share/john/ 1.xlsx > office.txt allowed John The Ripper to now crack the hash with john --wordlist=customWordlist.txt office.txt and get the XLSX password. Opening the file with this password revealed the first part of the flag: HTBSA{


  • I could now submit the final flag: HTBSA{ReLeAs3_tHe_CrAcK!nG}