Posted by Ingmar ‘doskop’ Steen under HiTB 2016 CTF with tag(s) CTF


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I didn’t actually solve this during the CTF: I looked at the challenge and somehow forgot it existed.


The source code we have access to starts off with a huge hint: Soup Meat Tea (SMT) (TM). SMT in this case refers to a solver which uses satisfiability modulo theories, also known as constraint-based programming.

Looking at the source code we can see an initial state being defined and then some input being iterated which is used to manipulate the state. It can be reduced to this:

uint32_t state = 42;
for (uint32_t idx = 0; idx < 32; idx++)
    state = ((state + input[idx]) * 3294782) ^ 3159238819

Then it shows a textual representation of your input and finally it compares the state to 0xde11c105 and if that condition is met it prints the flag:

if(state == 0xde11c105) {
    system("/bin/cat flag.txt");


To find a solution, I used the z3 theorem solver. I started by importing z3, instantiating the solver and setting up a variable for the initial state which is 42:

from z3 import *

# Create new z3 solver instance.
solver = Solver()

# Create the initial state, which starts at 42.
state = BitVec('i', 32)
solver.add(state == 42)

Next, I’m going to create 32 bitvectors and constrain them to the input the program expects (actually, I’ll restrict it even more as I really dislike having \t or \n in input):

values = []
for i in range(32):
    # Create next byte of input.
    value = BitVec('i%d' % i, 32)

    # Define restrictions if you want the dishes to render.
    solver.add(value > 0, value < 9)

    # Add the variable to the tracking array.

    # Update the global state.
    state = ((state + value) * 3294782) ^ 3159238819

Next, I constrain the final state to the value we need it to be:

# Add restriction for the final state.
solver.add(state == 0xde11c105)

Now that the model is complete, I let z3 check if it’s satisfiable:

assert solver.check() == sat

Finally, I get the model from the solver and print a bash compatible representation of the input values:

model = solver.model()
print '$' + repr(b''.join(chr(model[v].as_long()) for v in values))

Running this will print:


Sending that to the server should present me with the flag. That is, it would have assuming I thought of doing all this during the actual CTF.