Greetings Everyone!
This writeup is going to be about The Vault challenge from HackTheBox University Ctf 2021.
I will be using radare2 to do basic reverse engineering and solve this challenge.
At the end, I will use r2pipe to automate the whole process.

Simply running the binary with ./vault exits by showing the error message Could not find credentials


Then, I used command rabin2 -z vault | less to see all the available strings.
flag.txt was the first string in there. So, I thought that the binary needs to read flag.txt to proceed.
Then, I created a flag.txt file with some random characters inside there.
The resulting output, this time was different.

The program printed Incorrect Credentials - Anti Intruder Sequence Activated... and terminated.

Then, I decided to use radare2 for more deeper analysis.
The binary can be opened in r2 with r2 -d ./vault, analyzed with aaaa, and all available functions can be listed with afl.

As main function is in there, we can seek there with s main.
Disassembled code of main function can be printed with pdf @ main.


Another function call can be seen there. In our case, fcn.0000c220 is being called.
Seeking to that function can be done with s fcn.0000c220, and it’s disassembled code can be printed with pdf.


The code seemed very different to me. I looked up all the symbols with command iS and found words like type_info there. It basically stores information about a type and can be used to compare two types or to retrieve information identifying a type.


Also, running av command showed lot of vtables being used. So, this program was intentionally made quite complicated by using C++ virtual functions.


Then, I thought of viewing decompiled code of it using ghidra’s decompiler.
If r2ghidra plugin is installed in radare2, pdg command can be used to print the decompiled code which is more easier to understand.


After checking decompiled code, it can be seen that the binary checks if flag.txt is present or not.
If it’s not present, it exits the program, but if it’s present then the program enters while loop.
When any comparision between each and every bytes of var_211h and uVar2 results in false, it sets bVar1 to false and the program exits, and when all bytes always evaluate to true, it shows Credentials Accepted....


But, this is not a simple string comparision where each bytes are compared.
Everytime, the value of uVar2 variable is being set in this line
uVar2 = (****(*(var_22eh._2_4_ + 0xe090) * 8 + 0x17880))();

Each time, It’s pointing to a certain virtual function address, which has the corresponding characters for the flag.

There might be a way to solve this challenge by doing more in-depth analysis about vtables, and RTTI, but I solved this challenge by setting up a break point at the function, and checking the values printed in the stack.

For every comparision, a value will be printed and it can be clearly seen in the stack.
Stepping over multiple times through the loop, and combining all values gives us the final flag.

Here is an example of how the values are being printed in the stack. Also, I’m pressing F8 key multiple times to step over the instructions.


When all those characters are combined together, it gives us the flag

It’s quite tedious to keep on pressing F8 key multiple times, and later combine all of the characters to print out the flag.
So, I used r2pipe to create a script with python which automates all of this debugging process and prints out the flag.


The code used is included below:

import r2pipe

#Opens binary with r2pipe in debug mode, and analyzes it
r ='./vault')

flag = ""

#Enter debug mode and analyze the binary

#Find the target function where we will be stepping over until we hit the breakpoint
target_func = r.cmd('pdf @ main~[4]~:4')

print("[+] ----------------------------------------------- [+]")
print(f"          Target functions is {target_func}")
print("[+] ----------------------------------------------- [+]")

#Set breakpoint at that target function and step over to find first character 'H'
r.cmd(f'dcu {target_func}')
r.cmd('dso 65')

#Append the character 'H' to the flag
flag += r.cmd('px 6 @ rsp~[4]~:1 | tail -c 2').strip('\n')

#Iterate 24 times to print remaining 24 characters of the flag
for i in range(24):
    r.cmd('dso 45')
    flag += r.cmd('px 20 @ rsp~[3]~:2 | tail -c 2').strip('\n')
print("[+] ----------------------------------------------- [+]")
print("              "+flag)
print("[+] ----------------------------------------------- [+]")

Thanks for reading.
Hope you liked it.
Happy Pwning!! :)

  • CarpeDiem