From: Jessica <>
To: w3pwnz <>
Subject: unknown binary, need your help
Attachments : executable1.ndh
Hello again,

Thank you very much for your help. It is amazing that our technical staff and
experts did not manage to recover any of it: the password sounds pretty weak.
I will notify our head of technical staff.

Anyway, I forwarded them the file for further investigation. Meanwhile, we got
fresh news from our mystery guy. He came along with an intersting binary file.
It just looks like an executable, but it is not ELF nor anything our experts
would happen to know or recognize. Some of them we quite impressed by your skills
and do think you may be able to succeed here. I attached the file, if you discover
anything, please send me an email entitled "Strange binary file".

This will be rewarded, as usual. By the way, your account has just been credited
with $100.


We first noticed the two strings "Good password" and "Bad password" at the end of the file. An easy way to attack a crackme is to search for string references in the code. The disassembly from vmndh tells us that the "Bad password" string is loaded in 0x8480, and referenced from

0x82d4: movl r0, #0x8480
0x82d9: call 0xffdd
0x82dd: ret

This is the "bad boy" case, and whatever "call 0xffdd" is, it must be the impression routine. There were two methods to get the actual adresses of the calls: check them in the debugger, or patch the disassembled output to translate relative calls into absolute ones. This is what does.

With it, we can see that the address 0x82d4 is called 9 times between 0x82e8 and 0x83e1, just after "jz" instructions.

A first test is made, that checks the length of the input:

0x82e8: mov r7, r0
0x82ec: movl r6, #0x840d
0x82f1: call 0x8003
0x82f5: cmpb r0, #09        ; 9 bytes (8 without "\x0a")
0x82f9: jz 0x0005
0x82fc: call 0x82d4         ; -> bad boy
0x8300: end

After that, each time the bytes pointed by r7 and r6 are xored together and compared to a hardcoded value. Then r7 and r6 are incremented:

0x8301: mov r0, [r7]
0x8305: mov r1, [r6]
0x8309: xor r0, r1
0x830d: cmpb r0, #78
0x8311: jz 0x0005
0x8314: call 0x82d4
0x8318: end
0x8319: inc r7
0x831b: inc r6

Let's load the program in the debugger and put a breakpoint at 0x8301, to see what these registers point to:

[BreakPoint 1 - 0x8301]
0x8301 > mov r0, [r7]
[Console]#> info reg
[r0]: 0061	[r4]: 0000
[r1]: 0000	[r5]: 0000
[r2]: 7fda	[r6]: 840d
[r3]: 001f	[r7]: 7fda
[bp]: 7ffa	[zf]: 0001
[sp]: 7fd8	[af]: 0000
[pc]: 8305	[bf]: 0000
[Console]#> x/x 7fda:8
0x7fda: 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68     <- our input
[Console]#> x/x 840d:8
0x840d: 02 05 03 07 08 06 01 09     <- the key

According to the cmpb instructions, the result must be 78 44 73 6b 61 3e 6e 5e. The correct input is therefore

>>> format(0x7844736b613e6e5e ^ 0x0205030708060109,"x").decode("hex")

Let’s use it:

~/ndh2012$ nc 4001
Sciteek protected storage #1
Enter your password: zApli8oW
<PSP version="1.99">
Welcome on SciPad Protected Storage.

The most secure storage designed by Sciteek. This storage protocol
allows our users to share files in the cloud, in a dual way.

This daemon has been optimized for SciPad v1, running SciOS 16bits
with our brand new processor.
An unexpected error occured: PSP-UNK-ERR-001> application closed.