Titanic

“… Our ship got caught in a storm and sank. I was one of the few who survived. I was treading water, shocked and disappointed. After a while, I tried swimming toward a shadow which seemed to be the nearest island. …”

nc 76.74.178.201 8002

This is a PPC challenge protected by a PoW. Once we pass that we are greeted with a task description:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ welcome to JPS challenge, its about just printable strings! the number +
+ n = 114800724110444 gets converted to the printable `hi all', in each +
+ round find the suitable integer with given property caring about the +
+ timeout of the submit of solution! all printable = string.printable :) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
| whats the nearest number to 1537367419571623870752 that gets converted to the printable string?

So when the number is converted to hex, and then to a string, all characters that are not printable have to be replaced with printable in such a way that the resulting number is the closest possible to the original.

In Python `string.printable`

contains characters from the following ranges: `[0x09,0x0d]`

and `[0x20,0x7e]`

.

Analyzing the problem took me on a bunch of detours but essentially it comes down to correctly replacing the ** 1st nonprintable character on the left**.

Suppose the number we have to fix is `0x30104577`

. Character `0x10`

is nonprintable, and the closest printable one is `0x0d`

. Since are going to a smaller number the rest of the characters would have to have largest possible printable values, so the number becomes `0x300d7e7e`

.

Let’s do another example - `0x501f3132`

. Character `0x1f`

is nonprintable, and the closest printable one is `0x20`

. Since are going to a larger number the rest of the characters would have to have smallest possible printable values, so the number becomes `0x50200909`

.

Special care will have to be taken when values cross the `0`

threshold. To adjust for that we would have to either increase or decrease by `1`

the number before the one we are fixing.

Let’s put this logic into a Python script. It can be a bit better optimized, but this will do:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111

from pwn import *
import hashlib
import binascii
import string
r = remote('76.74.178.201', 8002)
# Receive and solve the PoW challenge
challenge = r.recv().split()
algo = challenge[8].split("(")[0]
suff = challenge[10]
size = int(challenge[14])
print algo, suff, size
s = iters.mbruteforce(lambda x: getattr(hashlib, algo)(x).hexdigest().endswith(suff), string.letters+string.digits, size, 'fixed')
r.send(s+"\n")
# Print the assignment
print r.recvline().strip()
print r.recvline().strip()
print r.recvline().strip()
print r.recvline().strip()
print r.recvline().strip()
print r.recvline().strip()
while True:
msg = r.recvline().strip()
print msg
# Parse the number
msg_parts = msg.split()
if msg_parts[1] == "whats":
num = int(msg_parts[6])
else:
break
# Convert to hex
h = hex(num)[2:]
if h.endswith("L"):
h = h[:-1]
if len(h) % 2 == 1:
h = '0'+h
b = bytearray.fromhex(h)
b_low = bytearray()
b_high = bytearray()
nearest_num = num
# Go through the string
for x in range(len(b)):
c = b[x]
# Find the first nonprintable character
if not (chr(c) in string.printable):
# Find closest lower and higher printable characters
low = c
low_threshold_crossed = False
while not (chr(low) in string.printable):
low = (low-1) & 0xFF
if low == 0:
low_threshold_crossed = True
high = c
high_threshold_crossed = False
while not (chr(high) in string.printable):
high = (high+1) & 0xFF
if high == 0:
high_threshold_crossed = True
b_low[:] = b[:]
b_high[:] = b[:]
# Build lower and higher numbers
b_low[x] = low
if low_threshold_crossed and x != 0:
b_low[x-1] -= 1
for i in range(x+1,len(b_low)):
b_low[i] = 0x7e
low_num = int(binascii.hexlify(b_low),16)
b_high[x] = high
if high_threshold_crossed and x != 0:
b_high[x-1] += 1
for i in range(x+1,len(b_high)):
b_high[i] = 0x9
high_num = int(binascii.hexlify(b_high),16)
# Decide which number is closer to the original
if abs(num - low_num) > abs(num - high_num):
nearest_num = high_num
else:
nearest_num = low_num
print nearest_num
break
# Send the answer
r.send(str(nearest_num)+"\n")
msg = r.recvline().strip()
print msg
# Exit if we see the flag
if "flag" in msg:
break
r.interactive()

Running the script gets us the flag:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23

$ python solve_final.py
[+] Opening connection to 76.74.178.201 on port 8002: Done
md5 3d6f5e 27
[+] MBruteforcing: Found key: "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaxQqB"
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ welcome to JPS challenge, its about just printable strings! the number +
+ n = 114800724110444 gets converted to the printable `hi all', in each +
+ round find the suitable integer with given property caring about the +
+ timeout of the submit of solution! all printable = string.printable :) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
| whats the nearest number to 61895207845396123731595648074623445905448898599139552975792268813653270992177034837318006329338741700 that gets converted to the printable string?
61895207845396123731595648074623445905448898599139552975792268813653270992177034837318006329410390281
| Correct, pass the next level :)
| whats the nearest number to 423703516379457305862443932870018303927592410127 that gets converted to the printable string?
423702877218628465373942340875780940618983702142
| Correct, pass the next level :)
...
| whats the nearest number to 374735388155597834881026 that gets converted to the printable string?
374735388155597736017534
+ Congratz! You got the flag: ASIS{jus7_simpl3_and_w4rmuP__PPC__ch41LEn93}
[*] Switching to interactive mode
[*] Got EOF while reading in interactive
$

The flag is `ASIS{jus7_simpl3_and_w4rmuP__PPC__ch41LEn93}`

.