# Russian threesome, re, 5 solves, 500p
> Interested in the hot secret hidden in my basement? That's right, it's stored on this old computer. Unfortunately it stopped working a long time ago. However I've got an emulator that simulates this machine and I even was able to dump it's magnetic drum into a file. I'm sure that way extracting the juicy data should be easy, right?
As the description stated, we got two files: a compiled emulator and image of a magnetic drum. Reversing the emulator was the first part of the
As it turns out, the emulated architecture is pretty interesting. It uses balanced ternary encoding for everything, organized into 9-trit mini-words ("trytes"),
two of which make a word. There are 27 words in a sector. The whole drum is composed of 36 sectors.
The machine contains a few registers and memory objects:
- sectors X, Y, Z - three of drum sectors can be loaded into memory at the same time,
- accumulator (A), used generally as tryte-sized object,
- secondary accumulator (B), used for multiplication etc.
- program counter (PC), five-trit sized (selects X/Y/Z, one of 27 words, one of trytes; must not have -1 as LSB)
- flag (F), one trit of last operation sign
- indirection register (V), five-trit sized
Program counter always increments after the instruction, even if it was a jump (so jump target is actually one after what is encoded). All instructions
are tryte-sized and have the same composition: 3-trit opcode, 5-trit immediate, 1-trit indirection flag. If indirection flag is non-zero, the
indirection register is added to immediate field. This behavior allows for indirect indexing, for example `A = [V+20]` (other than by using V, all instructions
use constant addresses).
The machine has a few allowances for IO: audio (interprets X/Y/Z as speaker tones), puts and gets (reads or writes string into X/Y/Z). The machine
has specific charset, where bytes lower than 128 are ASCII and 128-255 are custom Russian characters.
There is quite a few opcodes, but they are mostly variations of the same:
X/Y/Z = drumsector n
drumsector n = X/Y/Z
shift A, Tn
mov Tn, A
add V, Tn
mov V, Tn
mov V, pc+Tn
mov Tn, V
mov Tn, pc
and A, Tn
mov B, Tn
sub A, Tn
mov A, Tn
add A, Tn
mov A, Tn + A * B
mul A, Tn
add A, Tn * B
There are no instructions for loading a register with a constant, so instead the constants are store in memory and loaded as Tn.
Now that the emulator is reversed, we wrote a disassembler and reversed the drum code.
Since the machine lacks convenient stack, or even call/ret instructions, these are implemented in software in sector 1. This sector is loaded most
of the time into sector X and allows simpler sector switching. Sector Y is devoted to currently executed code, and sector Z to data being operated on.
Running the emulator we see a menu and admin panel protected by a password. Reversing the code shows it calculates a simple hash based on
256-byte substitution table - though due to architecture quirks this takes hundreds of instructions and many thousands of cycles. The hash was
reversible, so we wrote a script to calculate the inverse, which when put into the emulator got us the flag:
ak@ak-VirtualBox:~$ ./emulator magnetic_drum.img
Введите пароль: Кто хочет много знать, тому мало спать.