29C3 CTF – Maya

The maya challenge is a simple socket daemon which accepts a tcp connection on port 1024. It then reads a string from the socket, turns this string into a long using atol, and calls the gettimeofday() api.

From here on it compares the tv_sec value returned from the gettimeofday() api call divided by 10 against the long it got from the string that was read from the socket divided by 10 as well.

In other words, we have to bruteforce the solution. The following ugly C code does this for us.

    #include <sys/user.h>
    #include <sys/time.h>
    #include <sys/types.h>
    #include <sys/socket.h>
    #include <stdio.h>
    #include <string.h>
    #include <stdlib.h>
    #include <arpa/inet.h>

    int main(int argc, char *argv[])
        struct timeval a;

        if(fork() > 0) return 0;

        int i = -3600 * 24 * 14 + 3600 * atol(argv[1]);
        for (int j = -60 * 10; j < 60 * 10; j += 3) {

            int s = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, 0);
            struct sockaddr_in addr;
            addr.sin_family = AF_INET;
            addr.sin_addr.s_addr = inet_addr("");
            addr.sin_port = htons(1024);
            connect(s, (struct sockaddr *) &addr, sizeof(addr));

            gettimeofday(&a, NULL);

            char buf[64];
            sprintf(buf, "%ld", a.tv_sec + i + j);

            send(s, buf, strlen(buf), 0);

            struct timeval val = {};
            val.tv_usec = 200000;
            setsockopt(s, IPPROTO_TCP, SO_RCVTIMEO, &val, sizeof(val));

            memset(buf, 0, sizeof(buf));
            if(recv(s, buf, sizeof(buf), 0) > 0) {
                printf("%s\n", buf);


We call it with the following commands.

$ gcc a.c -std=c99
$ for i in {0..600}; do ./a.out $i; done |tee a.txt

The fork() is in order to run the applications in parallel, rather than sequential. So about 600 instances are ran, each of them tries the timeofday for a different hour within the past two weeks and the following week (because we don’t know the exact time on the server, although we guessed that the challenge name maya might be a hint.)

So each instance tries to bruteforce one hour. It does this by varying between the current time minus 10 minutes upto the current time plus 10 minutes.
Furthermore not every second is tried, but one iteration skips three seconds (note that the server divides both timeofday and the input by ten in order to account for latency issues etc, and therefore we can skip three to five seconds per iteration.)

After all processes have finished, we find the following key in the logs;

Flag: 29c3_081e757b198568170ec2e3206344cb3b.

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