# DEF CON CTF Quals 2021: Day 1

I played DEF CON CTF Quals once again with @Shellphish and we ended up at the 10th place. This blog post describes what actually was going on from my side. If you are looking for an informative blog post, this is not a good-read for you. There would be a little useful information, since I am just hanging around most of the time. I will even shamelessly copy some memes online to make the blog post looked rich in content.

After all, I am only able to solve nooombers (on day 1), qoo-or-ooo and back-to-qoo (on day 2). What happened on day 2 from my point of view is considerably more interesting.

# PlaidCTF 2021: Leaky Block Cipher

PlaidCTF this year had very insane challenges. Although I have spent a lot of time working on those crypto challenges, I was only able to solve leaky block cipher.

This completely legitimate™ block cipher looks a bit like GCM, but my computer plumber keeps complaining about water residue. Can you help me spot the leak? The challenge has a hand-crafted AEAD scheme. We are required to go through 20 rounds of challenges, and this is how each round proceeds…

# ångstromCTF 2021: Cache Money

I played ångstromCTF 2021 for @blackb6a to spend my Easter holiday. I solved most of the reverse and cryptography challenges alone. In particular, Cache Money is one of the harder crypto challenges that I spent more than one day dealing with. It is very rewarding, and eventually four teams ended up solving it.

This challenge reimplements the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) on 128, 192 and 256-bit keys. The encryptor is equipped with caches and we are given a service to encrypt (or decrypt) our messages. In short, there are four oracles provided by the service ($k_0$ is the fixed secret key and $b \in \{128, 192, 256\}$).

# My path of binary exploitation (1)

It is the [insert an arbitrary number] time I have determined to learn binary exploitation since April 2017. However I have always lost intention as the problems are much more challenging than I am capable of. I could hardly remember anything on the next time when I have determined to study again. That’s an incentive for me to write blog posts - I could read them and recall what has happened, thus spending less time learning all over from zero. Of course, it would be always better if I could persist.

# HKCERT CTF 2020 Postmortem

On August 2020, @blackb6a was invited to co-organize HKCERT CTF 2020 (which is held on November 2020) as one of the challenge authors. This is a CTF for secondary and tertiary students in Hong Kong. Although I had experience preparing CTFs earlier, this is actually the first CTF officially prepared by Black Bauhinia. I have written four challenges for this CTF - Sanity Check II (Web), LF2 (Reverse), Sign In Please (Crypto) and Calm Down (Crypto). There will also be some stories behind the scenes.