Starting point HTB – Setting up

This is your wildcard Starting Point setup guide. If you are planning to work with Starting Point boxes – start here.


Things you will need

  • A Kali/Parrot OS VM or dual boot, or any other system capable of running Linux commands with an option to install various security tools
  • Hackthebox, opened and logged in with Starting Point section open
  • A cup of your favourite brew, tea gang unite!
  • Positive Mental Attitude. This setup process is simple, but everything is better with a smile :)
Happy Shiba Inu gif

Download the connection pack

First things first, let’s download a config file. Now, these are proven to be a little bit fiddly, so I would recommend downloading the config file from the instructions themselves. In the tutorial section there is a button to download the connection pack.

A screenshot of HacktheBox Starting Point tutorial which shows the option to download the connection pack.

If you do decide to temporarily suspend working on this box, I do recommend re-downloading the pack every time you context switch. That is, if you did some regular boxes or some retired boxes – re-donwnload the Starting Point connection pack again.

Connect to vpn

Once you’ve gotten hold of a connection pack, make sure you’ve saved it somewhere you can find it. The file format here is usually <your htb name>.ovpn

Now let’s locate the file…

Spongebob a few moments later meme

My configs save to Downloads folder, so let’s copy the config file from Downloads to our working folder. The way I set up my directories is I have a hackthebox folder, and there I have a folder called vpn-configs that stores all my Hackthebox config files.

a listing of all hackthebox boxes and two additional folders, vpn-configs and resources.

If you want to set everything up the same way, here is how!

mkdir hackthebox
cd hackthebox
mkdir vpn-configs
cd vpn-configs
cp ~/Downloads/tasidonya.ovpn .

Obviously, you replace tasidonya.ovpn with your config file name! Now we have everything we need in place.

[Optional] Tmux

This step is optional, this is just what I like to do. First, open a new terminal and type in the following:

tmux new -s hackthebox

This command starts a new tmux session. I like to think of tmux as a thing that pre-dates fancy terminals. You can have multiple tabs and split your terminal in multiple ways using keyboard shortcuts or commands, and also it’s convenient for the times when you remotely connect somewhere – to have more than one thing open but still having a single terminal window.

For those who find these kinds of things fiddly, I suggest you stick to your regular terminal, which should be capable of opening new tabs anyway without any extra complexity.

Let me know in the comments if you would like to see a separate post about tmux! Here’s some quick navigation to get you started:

  • Ctrl+B, c Creates a new tab
  • Ctrl+B, & Close current tab
  • Ctrl+B, , Renames current tab
  • Ctrl+B, p or n Previous or next tab
  • Ctrl+B, <0-9> Switch to chosen tab number

Tmux Cheat Sheet has some more good shortcuts!

To copy and paste hold Shift, select with mouse and then use copy and paste shortcuts as normal (usually Ctrl+Shift+c and Ctrl+Shift+v)

To kill your session when you are finished do:

tmux kill-ses -t hackthebox

This will kill all sessions but the one you’re currently in.

Start vpn

Open a new terminal, or a new tmux tab if you followed through with the previous section. Navigate to where you have saved your *.ovpn file and type the following command (obviously replacing tasidonya with your file name):

sudo openvpn tasidonya.ovpn 

You will need to type your VM/OS password in, and watch a wall of text unfold…

Yikes! What’s happening? You are getting connected to the VPN! Do not worry about the wall of text, scroll to the bottom and find the following line of text:

Initialisation sequence statement

This means you are connected and ready to do the boxes! Congratulations if you got that far. If you are not getting that message, try re-downloading your connection pack.

And now you’re ready to get hacking :)

GIF of a kitten typing code

I value positive and/or constructive feedback. If you think this post is missing something or a step is omitted/not explained properly – please let me know in the comments below.

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