Configure your web application pentesting lab

Configure your web application pentesting lab
In the previous tutorial, we set up our web application pentesting lab. However, it’s far from ready, and we need to make some changes to get it working as per our needs. Here’s the link to the previous post if you didn’t follow that-
Set up your web app pentesting lab


  1. Fixing the problems
  2. Changing credentials
  3. Adding recaptcha key
  4. Enabling disabled stuff
  5. Installing missing stuff
  6. Giving write privileges

Fixing problems

If you remember from previous post, we reached this point-

There’s some stuff in red color
All the stuff in red needs fixing. If you are lucky, we have the same set of issues which need fixing. Otherwise, you’ll have to do some googling to find out how to fix problems which you are facing and I am not.

Changing mysql username and password

The default credentials are ‘root’ and ‘p@ssw0rd’ in the file. We change it to the correct mysql login credentials, ‘root’ and ”, in my case. You can change depending on your mysql credentials. This gets rid of our biggest worry – Unable to connect to database!

This is the biggest problem. Solving this means we can create our database, some modules may not work
perfectly, but DVWA will run. Without fixing this, we won’t even be able to start.
To fix this, open /opt/lamp/htdocs/DVWA-master/config/ file in your favorite text editor.

This password isn’t the password of our mysql database. In my case, password is nothing, i.e. two single quotes (i.e. ”).
Update the value here. In case your mysql password is something else, use that. Change
the username too is need be.
This is the corrected password value in my case. After this, refresh the page and click “Create/Reset database”

Now everything works fine after you click Create/Reset database.

Now we’ll fix the other remaining issues.

Fixing missing recaptcha key

Firstly, we need to solve the recaptcha key missing problem. Go to this URL

Go to the URL, you’ll see a form like this

Fill form, values don’t matter much
You obtain site key and secret key. Site key = Private key, secret key = private key
Open the config.ini.php file in your favourite text editor
Edit the recaptcha public key and private key fields. Here is what I did.

Now we have a a recaptcha key. One red down, 3 to go.

Fixing disabled allow_url_include 

We simply have to locate the configuration file and edit the value of the parameter from Off to On.

The php configuration file is located at /opt/lampp/etc/php.ini
Edit it with your favourite text editor, you’ll need root privileges (sudo)
Locate the allow_url_include line by using search feature of your text editor
Change Off to On 
Restart the lampp service

Reload page, you’ll see that the issue is fixed

Note: Any other function which is disabled can be enabled in a similar manner. All settings are in the php.ini file. You just need to search for the corresponding line and edit it.

Fixing missing modules

If a module is shown as missing , then we need to install it. In my case, everything is installed. Most likely, since you are also using XAMPP, everything would be installed. However, if that is not the case, then you have to figure out how to install the modules. If you aren’t using XAMPP and did everything manually, then apt-get would be the way to go. Otherwise look at XAMPP’s (or whichever bundle you are using) documentation.

Fixing File Ownership

We need to give www-data user write access to two directories. We’ll can use chgrp and chmod commands in unison to give only the privileges that are needed, or we could go the lazy way and use chmod 777 (full read, write and execute privileges to everyone). I’m feeling lazy and I’m just gonna go the chmod way. Run the command below-

chmod 777

Replace directory with the correct directory.

This is the last thing that needs to be done

Everything is green finally! Also, notice the credentials, we’ll need it later.
“admin // password”
Database created. Populated with tables. 
Finally the damn vulnerable application is running.

The username = “admin” and password is “password” (“admin // password” that we saw three pics ago).

Everything is running perfectly. This is the page you should see after successful login.

I’ll leave you at the welcome page of DVWA. In the next tutorial, we’ll begin proper exploitation of the intentional vulnerabilities, moving from trivial stuff to the really hard stuff. The first two tutorials complete the installation and configuration parts.


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