CrateCTF 2021 - Writeups

published 2021-10-31

A couple writeups from CrateCTF hosted by the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI)

The Swedish Defense Research Agency (FOI) hosted CrateCTF during the weekend. Here’s a couple short writeups for the challs I solved. Bit bummed out that I didn’t get a chance to finish all the pwn challs, the modbus one looked awesomely archaic!

FutureFlag (Rev)

int main(int argc, char **argv) {
  int result; // eax
  time_t t1, t2; // [rsp+20h] [rbp-120h] [rsp+28h] [rbp-118h]

  t1 = time(0LL);
  t2 = time(0LL);
  if ( t1 > 1704063599 ) {
    if ( t2 < t1 ) {
    } else {
      fwrite("The flag is probably in the past?\n");
  } else {
    fwrite("This program can't be run before 2024-01-01\n");

There’s not much to reverse, the problem is to get the clock to be 1. set a couple years in the future (without waiting a couple years), and 2. go backwards! We could also reverse decrypt_flag(uint64_t key) function, but that requires more reversing.

The answer is - faketime, a tool that LD_PRELOAD’s a small library that catches system calls to time(). It has a rather expressive timestamp format where you can even adjust timescales that is useful in this case.

I heard some other teams that tried patching the binary, which is entirely doable but also much more painful than faketime -f ‘+10y i-1,0’ ./challenge. The command calls the binary and sets the clock 10 years in the future going backwards.

Tokfrans (Web)

My hate for source-less web challenges runs deeper and deeper. Although this one was fairly simple.

When opening the website we are greeted by a login form. We’ve got credentials for the user zeke in the challenge description. They work, but the website says that we they don’t have any files stored on the server.

The login mechanism uses a JWT (a jot!) signed using HS256 with the claim that zeke is a user. Firstly, it’s worth seeing if the server accepts none as a signature (which it didn’t in this case). Then we can try to bruteforce the password used when hashing.

Newer versions of john support HMAC-SHA256 (HS256), so that’s the obvious next step (as I said, I hate web challs without a source, so I don’t want to touch any of the input boxes!).

 echo "[jwt goes here]" > jwt.txt
 ./john/run/john jwt.txt --format=HMAC-SHA256 --wordlist="../../rockyou.txt"
Using default input encoding: UTF-8
Loaded 1 password hash (HMAC-SHA256 [password is key, SHA256 256/256 AVX2 8x])
Will run 24 OpenMP threads
Press 'q' or Ctrl-C to abort, almost any other key for status
queenoftherabbitkillers (?)
1g 0:00:00:00 DONE (2021-10-30 17:39) 2.702g/s 12088Kp/s 12088Kc/s 12088KC/s raahauge..pwolivo
Use the "--show" option to display all of the cracked passwords reliably
Session completed.

Success! We have the password used to sign the JWT. Using we can sign arbitrary tokens. After trying to change the username to admin, I changed the claims to include admin, and voilá - we have a flag.