Academy | Getting Started | Privilege Escalation

I’ve managed to get myself completely stuck on the last part of the Privilege Escalation in the HTB Academy.

All signs point towards getting hold of the users id_rsa, copy and chmod, and then ssh in with the copied credentials. However when I do this I’m asked for a password and that’s as far as I can get.

I did notice something though, when I was doing a very similar task on TryHackMe, I copied over the contents of the id_rsa, and pasted them into a blank document via the file manager. When I saved the file, the icon changed to a key (which says to me that linux has recognised it as an ssh key), but when I do the same procedure in the HTB instance, it stays as a generic text file, suggesting that it’s not recognised as a key, and that would be why the password is still asked for.

I have absolutely no idea how to get round this issue, so any help would be appreciated!

P.S There is a Reddit thread on this topic , but it hasn’t helped so far


After banging my head against a wall for weeks, I was watching one of John Hammond’s videos, and he made a point of mentioning that when copying id_rsa keys, you need to make sure that there is a blank line at the bottom, underneath where it says “End of Key”.

Once I amended that it logged in with no issues

Thank you for this post MetalMonkey667. I’ve spent days trying to get past this. I’ve copied the id_rsa file to both nano and vim, and added and extra line at the end. In each case, when I try to ssh to user2 using the file, I get the error:

Load key “id_rsa”: invalid format

If I do anything else (eg pre adding the extra line), I get asked for a password for user2, which of course I don’t have.

It sounds so straightforward, but is there a specific way to add the extra line in vim so I don’t get the format error please?