Introduction to VPN access

Last updated by 0ne - nine9 (admin)

Updated at October 29th, 2020

Over at Hack The Box, we use OpenVPN connections to create links between you and our labs and machines. 

The configuration files needed to auto-configure your OpenVPN client and to initialize the connection to our servers are called .ovpn packs, or tickets for short. 

These will place you in the same IP subnet as the vulnerable machines, allowing you to contact them (and attack them).

You will need:

  • A HackTheBox account.

  • The latest version of OpenVPN. (pre-installed with Kali Linux and ParrotOS)

  • A working internet connection.


Tutorial VPN packs

  • Starting Point EU Free Access

  • Starting Point US Free Access


Free VPN packs

  • EU Lab Free Access

  • US Lab Free Access

  • AU Lab Free Access

  • SG Lab Free Access

If you’ve bought a VIP subscription, you will be able to see the VIP packs as well. These look the same as the Free VPN packs listed above with the "Free" part changed to "VIP".


VPN Server selection

Connecting to Machines has gotten a whole lot easier. You are now able to interact directly on the Dashboard.

If you want to view and use the currently available VPN controls you can do so from any page, by clicking on the Connections icon next to your profile picture at the top right of the page you're currently on.

The first of the two available options would be to change your OpenVPN settings. By clicking that, you will be met with the server picker menu. The VPN Access selection will dictate the regional localization of the VPN server and the type: VIP or Free.


The selection below that will allow you to choose which specific VPN Server you'd like to connect to, so as to enable the ability for you and your friends to compete against each other on the same exact instance of any box.


After selecting the appropriate VPN Server, you can proceed to click the Download VPN button, which will prompt a download for your personalized .ovpn pack.

The command mentioned below the button, after selecting the appropriate VPN Server is a reference of what you need to run on your terminal to initialize the OpenVPN connection using the newly downloaded .ovpn file.


Booting up OpenVPN

To play Machines you must be connected to a VPN through your virtual machine.

After you click the Download button, your pack.ovpn file should be found, by default, in the Downloads folder of your Linux distro. You will be using this file as the configuration for your openVPN initialization process.


Open up a terminal and navigate to your Downloads folder.

Then, boot up the openVPN initialization process using your pack.ovpn as the configuration file.


Once the Initialization Sequence Completed message appears, you can proceed with opening a new terminal tab or window and start attacking the boxes. 

Please note that you will need to keep this terminal window open in order to keep the openVPN process running.

If you encounter any issues related to your VPN configuration, please check out the article below:

VPN Connection Troubleshooting Guide

Below you can find an explanation of all the VPN control menus:

Access

Under the Access menu, you can select from all the different available labs for the main Machines lineup. This includes both free and VIP servers, the latter now including the much requested AU VIP, SG Free and SG VIP servers!

As a best practice, select the closest lab to you while also taking into account your account’s VIP status.

VIP servers will of course have fewer users on them as there are many more than just the free VPN servers. Fewer members means less traffic and, more importantly, fewer people trying to attack the same Machines as you.

Server

From the Server menu, you can select the actual VPN server you want to connect to. After this step you should be able to directly download your .ovpn connection pack and proceed with engaging in attacks over the Machines.

We have implemented this method of server selection instead of randomly assigning users to the least populated ones due to several requests for multiple teammates attacking the same Machines on the same VPN server in an effort to compete against eachother. We hope that this will further improve collaboration between teammates and bring your educational progress to the next level for both you and your team or organization!

Download

The button to the right of the Server selection menu is the Download button for your now newly generated .ovpn pack. Once clicked, it will initialize a download for your .ovpn pack, which you can use to start up the OpenVPN process on your Linux distro that will allow you to connect to the Machines in our labs.

Regenerate

In the case where your .ovpn file might be incorrectly generated due to an error you can regenerate the file by switching back and forth between the Servers on the lab you’ve selected. This will generate the new .ovpn file which you can directly download to your OS.

If, even after regenerating, the .ovpn file is still invalid, please contact our support team!

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