Rating: 5.0

# ASIS CTF quals 2018 - Task "Tokyo"

In this task we are provided a single binary file in a format that is
not recognized by either file or binwalk.

## Investigating the file format

Before knowing the format thanks to the hint, we could guess some
characteristics of the file:

- There's a header beginning with KC and several values from where
it's not evident to extract any information, pointing to some real
We searched for it but sadly we didn't find any matching well-known
format.

- Then there's a section of 6 MB which is mostly filled with zeros,
but with some values that appear from time to time:


00095260 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 0c 03 30 00 00 |.............0..|
001d9a90 00 00 00 0c 03 51 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 |.....Q..........|
004165a0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 0c 03 72 00 00 00 00 00 00 |.........r......|


These values go from 0x0c030f (787215) to 0x0c0417 (787479),
increasing 3 by 3 for a total of 89 values. Their position
within the 6 MB section don't follow any pattern, which
probably means it's something to take into account.

- At the end of the file there's a smaller section with this aspect:


00601d40 cc 04 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 03 01 |................|
00601d50 00 00 00 7b ee 00 00 00 cc 04 00 00 00 00 00 00 |...{............|
00601d60 00 00 00 00 00 00 03 01 00 00 00 53 ee 00 00 00 |...........S....|
00601d70 cc 04 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 03 01 |................|
00601d80 00 00 00 5f ee 00 00 00 cc 04 00 00 00 00 00 00 |..._............|
00601d90 00 00 00 00 00 00 03 01 00 00 00 72 ee 00 00 00 |...........r....|


It's a sequence of 24 byte blocks, with one letter/symbol on each block.
Extracting them we get a list of 89 characters (matching the 89 values
in the first section):


!_Ab_ni!_as__ial_Cb_a_iSgJg_td_eKeyao_ae_spb}iIyafa{S_r__ora3atnsonnoti_faon_imn_armtdrua


It clearly looks the flag but unordered. But it's too long to attempt
guessing or brute forcing it, so we tried to get some clues from the
89 values in the first section of the file.

We assumed that those 89 values are references pointing to the 89
characters in the second section, so 0x0c030f (787215) would point
to !, 0x0c0312 to \_, 0x0c0315 to A, and so on

But after trying some combinations (e.g. taking the letters pointed
by the references in the same order as they appear in the first
section), no solution was obtained and we were stuck.

## Kyoto Cabinet

Then the hint arrived (no solves yet at this time) in the form of
"Kyoto Cabinet", and we could then understand that the file was
actually a DBM-like database in Kyoto Cabinet format (a successor
of Tokyo Cabinet), which is an efficient key/value database format.

With the proper tools we could get more information on the file
format. Traversing all key/values would show that the values were,
as expected, the unordered letters of the flag, but also that they
all had a three byte null (0x000000) key!

We could also look at what happens when a new key/value pair is

bash
$kchashmgr set tokyo k1 val1   @@ -211,6 +211,10 @@ +00483770 00 0c 04 1a 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 |................| @@ -416,4 +420,6 @@ +006020d0 cc 02 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 02 04 |................| +006020e0 6b 31 76 61 6c 31 ee 00 |k1val1..|  Now we got something! In the first section there's a new value 0x0c041a, which is exactly 3 higher than the previous last one (0x0c0417), confirming us these values are references to the entries in the second section. Taking into account this is a hash based DBM, it looks the first section is a fixed size hash table, meaning that the position where references are stored are just the result of the hash function over the stored keys. In the second section we get now a new 24 bytes block, and we can see that both the key (k1) and the value (val1) appear together. We can also see that the previous bytes (0x02 and 0x04) indicate the length of the key and the length of the value (this explains the 0x03 for the key and 0x01 for the value in the rest of entries corresponding to the flag characters) ## Sorting the flag characters So it seems the flag characters have been inserted with some three byte keys (which probably determine the order) but the keys have been deliberately removed. We need to recover them to obtain back the missing information we need to sort the flag characters. We just need to find a key that, when inserted in the kc file, overwrites one of the current references (assuming there won't be any collision, but it's too sparse) Keys are just 3 bytes long, so bruteforcing them would have worked, but we attempted some educated guessing first: maybe they keys are just "000", "001", "002"...? Let's try that: bash$ kchashmgr set tokyo 000 "value"



-005a9b90 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 0c 03 15 00 00 00 00 00 00 |................|
+005a9b90 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 0c 04 1d 00 00 00 00 00 00 |................|


Gotcha! Writing the key "000" has overwritten the old reference
pointing to 0x0c0315, which corresponds to the character 'A',
matching the beginning of ASIS flags.

We just need to add the rest of the keys one by one, checking which
references they overwrite and the character pointed by them, and we
get the full key: