PicoCTF 2017 – Programmers Assemble #reverseengineering #assembly #infosec

Another day, another hacking challenge.

In today’s challenge we’re going to focus on a reverse engineering exercise.

Clicking on the exercise we see the following:


Downloading the file and opening it in WordPad we see:



Assembly… eeekk!

Let’s break it down – line by line.

eax = ???

ebx = 0

ecx = 8

for the line test %eax, %eax we’re testing to see if the zero flag of the %eax register is equal to zero

When eax is zero then we jump to the fin label, and compare ebx to see if it’s 46992.

So what do we need to set eax so ebx will be 46991? What happens if we divide 46992/8? Could this possibly give us the value of eax? Dividing 46991/8 = 5,874 decimal = 0x16F2.

You may be wondering, why would you divide 46992 by 8?

Looking at the assembly we know that when eax is not zero, we add 8 to the ebx register, and decrement eax by one and jump back to the loop label. We know if we set eax to 0x16F2 or 5,874 decimal then when eax equal 0 the program will jump to the fin label and the ebx register will be 0xb6790 or 46991 decimal. Once the comparison happens the program will jump again to the good label which will assign the eax register to 1.

To put this in a computer language it will be:

eax = 5874;

ebx = 0;

ecx = 8;

if(eax ==0) {

if(ebx == 46991) {

eax = 1;

} else {

eax = 0;


else {

ebx = ebx + ecx;



Moral of the story assembly is the bare bones of ALL programming languages. No matter what language you use it can be broken down into assembly.

Entering 0x16F2 into the text box we acquired 75 points!


PicoCTF 2017 – A Thing Called A Stack #ctf #picoctf #appsec #infosec #reverseengineering

Another day, another challenge.

In today’s blog post we’re going to solve the “A Thing Called A Stack” challenge from PicoCTF.

Let’s get started.

Clicking on the challenge, we see the following:


OK, so we’re given a file, and we need to determine the difference between the value of esp at the end of the code, and the location of the saved return address.

Looking at the hints we see the following:


We’ve encountered two different questions. Where is the return address saved, and what commands actually affect the stack.

DISCLAIMER: I haven’t worked with assembly in probably 8 years. So, what did I do? Go to YouTube.

Entering – “Assembly tutorial” I found a GREAT crash course on explaining assembly.

I have linked the video here.

Opening the file (Notepad++ is great!)

We see the following:


Using the YouTube tutorial, let’s decode the assembly code.

First we’re pushing the ebp (base pointer) onto the stack.

Next, we move the esp (stack pointer) to be at the same location to the base pointer.

Next, we push edi, esi, and ebx onto the stack. Note these instructions don’t change the stack. This solves question #2 in the hints section.

Next, we add 180 (0xb4 hex) to the stack to hold local variables.

Next, we’re going to store the local variable x = 0, to address 180 + 4 = 184

Next, we’re going to store the local variable y = 1,  to address 184 + 4 = 188

Next, we’re going to store the local variable z = 2, to address 188 + 4 = 192

Next, we’re going to store the local variable a = 3, to address 192 + 4 = 196

So now the esp (stack pointer) is now at 196.

Let’s convert 196 to hexadecimal.

Doing this we get the following: 0xc4

Entering this into the challenge, we see that solved the challenge and acquired 60 points!

PicoCTF 2017 – Special Agent User #appsec #infosec #forensics

Another day, another challenge.

Today’s blog post we will solving the “Special Agent User” challenge in the PicoCTF.

Let’s get started.

Clicking on the challenge we see:


We have another pcap (packet capture file) and we need to find the User Agent. OK. Sounds plausible. Let’s look at the hints.


There’s a link that discuss more about user-agents. Let’s go to that link.

Opening that link we see the following:


The web page explains the different components of the User-String. This will be useful.

Opening the packet capture file we notice the usual stuff UDP, and ICMP packets. And like with the first “Digital Camouflage” challenge we can ignore this.

User-Agent strings are found in HTTP requests. We need to look at packet captures for just HTTP requests.

Doing this we see a packet that’s piqued our interest…


On packet 80 (GET / HTTP/1.1) we’ll do a right click, Follow, HTTP stream.

Doing this we have the following:


Looking at the last entry in the user agent, we can see that the packet is using Firefox 25. Entering that as the flag, we’ve acquired 50 points!

PicoCTF 2017 – computeAES #infosec #appsec #crypto #ctf

Another day, another challenge.

Today’s blog post will explore solving the “computeAES” challenge in PicoCTF.

Let’s get started.

Clicking on the challenge we see the following:


Clicking on the clue link we see the following:


Going back to the challenge and clicking the hints we see:


Let’s use the hint of using online tools to solve this challenge.

Doing a Google search for “convert base64 to hex” we get the following link.

Going to this link we put in our base64 input to get the hex equivalent.

Doing this for the key and the input we get the following:

Key = 4f9b95cd8b6e04dbfabf08e886c955e3

Input = b75874a9b70e851405e44e3a6ec34b8a67db708e9e82b28fe0b1ed291de54f851d5a386cb0cf11412053ed2ffcadc472

Doing another Google search for “AES calc hex” we get the following link.

Entering the hex value of the key and input we get the following:


We found the flag! Copying the flag and removing the extra space we’ve acquired 50 points!

PicoCTF 2017 – Yarn #appsec #infosec #ctf

Another day, another challenge…

Today’s blog post we will solve the, “Yarn” challenge from PicoCTF.

Let’s get started.

Clicking on the challenge we see:


OK, we need to find a flag inside of a file, but we do not know what the file is.

Let’s look at the hints and see if that provides any clues.


Looking at the hints we’re provided with two questions. Possibly answering these questions will leads us to the flag.

Answer question #1 – “what does the string command use to determine if something is a string?” We decide to do a Google search to answer just that.

Doing this Google search we’re provided with the following link.

Reading the article we determine that the strings command prints the printable characters from a file.

Doing that we’re provided with the following screenshot:


We’ve answered question #1. Let’s answer question #2.

Question #2 – is there a way to change the length that the strings command look for?

Going back to the link we see that there is a way we can specify that there is a way to determine the length of strings we want to print.

How do we use this?

By adding the “-n <length you want to use>”

Doing this we get the following:


Scrolling down we see:


Hmm… I think we found the flag! “Submit_me_for_I_am_the_flag”

Putting this string as the flag we have acquired 55 points!

PicoCTF 2017 – Hash101

Another day, another challenge.

Today’s blog post will be solving the “Hash101” challenge from the PicoCTF.

Let’s get started.

Clicking on the challenge we see…


OK we need to hashes to claim our flag. Let’s see what the hints say.


Looking at the hints Google will be our friend 🙂

Connecting to the server we see:


We need to convert the binary to ASCII text.

Doing a Google search of, “binary to ASCII text converter” search we get the following website.

Going there, we see:


Changing the binary to the binary in the challenge we get:


The text we’re looking for is “peace” entering this in we are now in the second level of the challenge.


We need to find the hex value of our word, peace. Going back to the link referenced above, we see that the hex is referenced.


Entering that we now need to enter the decimal equivalent. For this, going back to Google and entering “hex to decimal converter” we get the following link.

Clicking the link we see:


Entering the hex value we get the following decimal value.


Entering that into the challenge we get the following:


Going to the third level we see:


Reading the description one might ask, what are we looking for?

Remember from the first level of the challenge where we need to find the ASCII text?

Doing a Google search of, “ASCII table” we find the following link.

Opening the link we see the ASCII equivalent of the letters.

We need to find a string that when doing the modulo of base 16 we get a number of 10.

One might wonder… what is modulo?

The modulo is the remainder of a division equation.

We know that we are dividing by 16 and the modulo (remainder) needs to be 10.

One way to achieve this is to find any multiple of 16 and add 10.

Why multiple of 16? Doing a multiple of 16 if we did a modulo of that the modulo would be 0 (as there is no remainder).

Doing this I was able to do the following:


Entering 4, we had a module of 4 and not 10.

Entering the string of “:” we were able to complete the level. Why? “:” in ASCII is 58. How did we get 58? 16 * 3  = 48 + 10 = 58. We’re adding 10 because we know we need a remainder of 10.

Moving to level 4 we see:


Doing another Google search of, “MD5 decrypter” we get the following link.

Clicking the link and entering the md5 hash, we get the following:


Entering this the level we see:


Entering this flag into the input box we’ve acquired 50 points!