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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Challenges for November 2017 SecTalks London

Christmas Luke by Nicholas Erwin from flickr (CC-NC-ND)

Following highly successful September round of London SecTalks, I ran another round in November.

The round consisted of 8 tasks, and they were a bit harder this time, with even the winner only finishing 7 in time - a few people completing the challenges only after time.

You can find challenges and code used to generate them in this spoiler-free repository.

This post doesn't contain answers, but it might spoil a bit.

Archive (5 points)

It was nearly identical to previous round's archive challenge - 16-level nested archive, with 1 real and 15 fake archives on every level. The only difference was that distraction files were 0-padded to have same size as the real file, which forced smarter strategy than simply going for the largest file every level.

Of course MD5ing to find unique file, or just unpacking them all and removing duplicate files still worked.

CSS (10 points)

The password was encoded within CSS rules. I've never seen this kind of challenge anywhere, so maybe it's the world's first?

It was very short, and every character was independent, so it seems that everyone just manually brute forced it.

Secret Message (15 points)

The answer was written in one color on background of another extremely similar color. Everybody managed to finish it so quickly, I didn't even have a chance to see what kind of tools they used to solve it.

EDIT: Oops, it seems that I messed up ImageMagick options and also accidentally left the answer in EXIF.

Python (20 points)

As we all know Python is a whitespace-sensitive language. So I encoded some secrets in the whitespace.

Quite a few people used editors which cleaned up whitespace automatically, messing up with the file. Once a person figured out what the challenge is about, it wasn't usually too hard to solve it.

Ruby (25 points)

Obfuscated Ruby challenge was the hardest one of the round. It used two layers of Unicode obfuscation, first with emoji, and then with CJK characters. Other than using unusual characters, obfuscations applied weren't particularly hard.

ECB BMP (30 points)

This was a fun one. It was basically a version of the famous ECB penguin from Wikipedia.

People had a lot of trouble figuring out dimensions and bit depth of the image, which had to be given as a hint, even thought they were fairly usual.

XOR GIF (35 points)

This was a two step challenge. A GIF file was xor-encrypted with a word from a dictionary.

The challenge was then to find out which Twitter account the image is from.

Since GIF header is known, it was very easy to figure out the first few letters of the key. However, people had a lot of trouble completing it, as the word I've chosen was only in some dictionaries. This wasn't intentional.

After getting the image, it turns out only some reverse image search could find it properly, and others returned bogus matches.

ROT Word (40 points)

I wanted to have a task for statistical analysis of some classical cipher, but all the real ones have online tools you can use to solve them in a few seconds.

So I made up one - it's like rot cipher with multi-letter key, except each letter is used for whole word, not for one letter.

encrypt("All your base are belong to us!", "omg") == "ozz kagd hgyk ofs nqxazs zu ig"

For a bit of extra challenge the message was in English, but contained a bunch of non-English proper names.

Final Thoughts

I made this one just a bit harder, and maybe it was a tiny bit too much.

Overall, a lot of fun happened.

I'd definitely recommend CTFd server for this.