Puzzle #9: Ann’s Deception (DEFCON 2011)

This year’s DEFCON contest was a huge success, with over 200 teams entering! The contest was split up into six rounds of increasing difficulty. The first team to complete all six rounds won the contest. Now that the contest is over, we’re placing the materials here for folks who would like to play around on their own.

WARNING: This contest contains off-color humor which may not be appropriate for the classroom, children, rodents, etc.

The lead chemist of a high-profile pharmaceutical company was involved in a serious accident, leaving him in a coma days before the release of the company’s highly publicized “133t pill.” The chemist was the only person in possession of the list of ingredients required to produce the wonder drug, and it is not known if he will ever recover. All chemical evidence of the drug has been destroyed, but the company believes that the missing ingredients may have been stored electronically. You have been hired as a forensic investigator, to recover the final ingredient of their 133t pill. Can you find the missing ingredient?

Here’s a link to the encrypted contest volume:


The is an encrypted password-protected Truecrypt volume. Inside are six individual Truecrypt archives which each contain a single round of the contest. You will need to mount each encrypted volume using Truecrypt before you can access its contents. Here is a page which shows you how to mount a Truecrypt volume.

At the start time, DEFCON attendees visited the contest booth to obtain the first decryption passwords, provided below:

The password to unlock is: !#$h1d3&&s33k$#!
The password to unlock round1 is: r0und1g0!!

When a team found the answer to a round, they texted it to Headquarters (HQ). If their answer was correct, staff texted back the key to unlock the next round.

SPOILER ALERT: You can find the keys to each of the encrypted volumes here.

SUPER SPOILER ALERT: For your convenience, we’ve also unlocked all the rounds for those of you who just want to play around with individual round puzzles without having to solve the whole thing in order. You can find the individual round puzzles here:


A few notes:

1. You will not get the correct answer simply by running “strings” on the packet captures. It is more complicated than that.

2. Please do not attempt to brute-force the answer by guessing. We reserve the right to cut you off from submitting answers if you abuse the privilege.

3. There are six contest rounds containing six evidence files. You must analyze the evidence files in order to answer the question(s) which go along with each capture.

Have fun! 🙂

This puzzle was created by Scott Fretheim, Randi Price, Eric Fulton, Sherri Davidoff, and Jonathan Ham (Lake Missoula Group, LLC).

Copyright 2011, Lake Missoula Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Puzzle # 9 Winners

Over 200 teams entered the Network Forensics Puzzle Contest at DEFCON 19. Five teams were able to finish the challenge during the DEFCON conference. Congratulations to this year’s winning team: “5154c”! It was a really close match. Each of the top three teams came in only 15 minutes apart. We really hope all of you enjoyed competing, and we look forward to seeing you again next year!

Top Ten Finalists at DEFCON 19:

1. 5154c (Winner!)
2. C2 eye
3. Barnhaus Crew
4. ArchMage
6. Team Cheese
7. 8008
8. Team Moosey Fate
9. Chippendales
10. Kyle Bragle

Copyright 2011, Lake Missoula Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Puzzle #9 Answers

Here are the answers to Puzzle #9: Ann’s Deception (DEFCON 2011):

  1. Round 1 Decryption Key: r0und1g0!!
    In this capture we were looking for the name of the company. This is located inside an email.
    Answer: Factory-Made-Winning-Pharmaceuticals
  2. Round 2 Decryption Key: !n1c3?w0rk
    In this capture we were looking for the date of a speech given by Bruce Schneier. To solve this puzzle you must carve out a packet capture which was sent as an email attachment. Inside that packet capture, you can find the data by looking through the web traffic to see the pages Ann viewed.
    Answer: October 6-7, 2011
  3. Round 3 Decryption Key:?g3tting!t0ugh
    In this capture we were looking for Romulus’s password. This can be found by carving out the VOIP conversation and listening to it.
    Answer: rom127#
  4. Round 4 Decryption Key: m4k1ng?pr0g
    In this packet capture we were looking for the name on the 16th line in a spread sheet. To find the answer, you need to carve out the SMB transfer of the 7zip file containing the credit card file. In order to unlock the 7zip file you will need to use the password YOU found in Round 3.
    Answer: Jason Wilson
  5. Round 5 Decryption Key: 0v3r#h4lf?w4y
    In this packet capture, you need to carve out the SMB file transfer of the ingredients list. To unlock the 7zip file containing the ingredients list, you will need to use the password you found in in Round 4.
    Answer:8.4 oz- Red Bull; Tim
  6. Round 6 Decryption Key: ch33rs!0n3$m0r3
    Round 6 requires you to find the final ingredient of the 133t pill. To unlock the volume, you must use the cipher along with the previous answers from Rounds 1-5. Begin by solving the cipher, and then use the cipher as the password to unlock the Truecrypt volume.
    Cipher Solution: 00gmu1rt#?
    Answer: 2oz Vodka
  7. Copyright 2011, Lake Missoula Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Puzzle #8 Answers

1) Joe’s WAP is beaconing. Based on the contents of the packet capture, what are the SSID and BSSID of his access point?
SSID: Ment0rNet
BSSID: 00:23:69:61:00:d0

2) How long is the packet capture, from beginning to end (in SECONDS – please round to the nearest full second)?

3) How many WEP-encrypted data frames are there total in the packet capture?

4) How many *unique* WEP initialization vectors (IVs) are there TOTAL in the packet capture relating to Joe’s access point?

5) What was the MAC address of the station executing the Layer 2 attacks?

6) How many *unique* IVs were generated (relating to Joe’s access point):
a) By the attacker station?
(We also accept 14132, as one of the IVs was *generated* by another station, and only *replayed* by the attacker’s station. See my comment #4 below.)
b) By all *other* stations combined?

7) What was the WEP key of Joe’s WAP?

8.) What were the administrative username and password of the targeted wireless access point?

9) What was the WAP administrative passphrase changed to?

Gearing Up for DEFCON 19!

We are totally psyched for DEFCON 19! The Network Forensics Puzzle Contest (NFPC) will be running in the contest area. Watch our DEFCON forum for updates this week. Prizes include a Verizon 3g Network Extender and $150 ThinkGeek gift certificate (many thanks to ThinkGeek for sponsoring that prize).

To whet your appetite even more, check out the hot new graphic on the DEFCON 19 NFPC CD, designed by Mr. Scott Fretheim:

Players can pick up their CDs at the contest booth starting Thursday @ 10:00 AM. The contest will officially start on Friday. (Of course, we’ll post the contest materials online afterwards, too, so everyone can check out the latest challenge, just for fun.


Puzzle #7 Answers

Here is the solution to Puzzle #7: Ann’s Dark Tangent (DEFCON 2010). There are many ways to arrive at the solution. Here is our method; there are other tools you can use to reach the same answer.

You received a CD containing, among other things, a packet capture: evidence-defcon2010.pcap

Check the MD5 sum:

$ md5sum evidence-defcon2010.pcap
7c416421a626600f86e3702df0cac8ef evidence-defcon2010.pcap

If you examine the packet capture, you will see that it contains WEP-encrypted wireless traffic.

Crack the WEP key. You can do this using aircrack-ng in less than one second:

$ aircrack-ng evidence-defcon2010.pcap
Opening evidence-defcon2010.pcap
Read 426642 packets.
# BSSID    ESSID    Encryption
1 00:1C:10:B3:CC:F0 w00t    WEP (98923 IVs)
Choosing first network as target.
Opening evidence-defcon2010.pcap

Once you have the WEP key, use it to decrypt the traffic:

$ airdecap-ng -w 4A:7D:B5:08:CD evidence-defcon2010.pcap
Total number of packets read    426642
Total number of WEP data packets 187650
Total number of WPA data packets 0
Number of plaintext data packets 0
Number of decrypted WEP packets 187650
Number of corrupted WEP packets 0
Number of decrypted WPA packets 0

If you run strings on the packet capture (or view it in Wireshark), you will see IMAP and SMTP traffic, including an email with an attachment. This attachment is the key to the entire puzzle.

Dark Tangent,
I know you've been watching me. You should be able to figure out the =
location of our rendezvous point from my traffic. Contact me first with =
the name of the city where we will meet, and you win :-) I'll send you =
more details after that.=20
ps. See the attachment for a clue.

Carve out the email attachment. You can do this manually, or use the smtpdump tool by Franck Guénichot from Contest #2.

The email attachment is a GIF image, shown below:

There were five lines in the image, which read (from top to bottom):

App Store - App Name
Podcast Title
YouTube Video Title
Google Earth City Name
AIM Buddy Name

If you go through the packet capture, you will find that Ann used her iPad to:

  • Download the iPad app called “Solitaire”
  • Download and watch an Onion podcast called “Onion Radio News for Kids”
  • View a YouTube video called “Cry for Help – Rick Astley”
  • Search on Google Earth for “Hacker Valley, West Virginia”
  • IM her buddy, “inter0pt1c”

Line all the answers up, as shown in the GIF image, and read down the first column:

  • Solitaire
  • Onion Radio News for Kids
  • Cry for Help
  • Hacker Valley
  • inter0pt1c

The answer is “SOCHI”, a resort town in Russia where the winter Olympics will be held.

Thanks to everyone who played!

Puzzle #7 Winners

Over 221 teams registered to play Puzzle #7: Ann’s Aurora at DEFCON 18 (2010)! Each team was given a CD which contained the evidence, and teams were asked to text the answer to the phone at NFPC Headquarters. The first team to text the correct answer won the contest.

The Winner of Puzzle #7 (and the shiny new iPad) was (drumroll…)

Team Bam Bam!

These guys solved the puzzle after about 5 hours. We also have to give mad props to team Preset Kill Limit, who texted the correct answer just one minute after team Bam Bam. Wow, that was close!

Great job to everyone!

Puzzle #7: Ann’s Dark Tangent (DEFCON 2010)

At long last! Here is a copy of Puzzle #7, “Ann’s Dark Tangent,” which was run at Defcon 18 (2010). This contest was unusual in that the answer was a single word. The contest was open to DEFCON 18 attendees who were at the conference. Although the contest has long since closed, you might enjoy playing around with the packet capture, which contains wireless iPad traffic.

Ann has arranged a rendezvous with Dark Tangent. You are the forensic investigator. Can you figure out their destination?

Here’s a copy of their network traffic:

MD5sum: 7c416421a626600f86e3702df0cac8ef

The first team to submit the correct answer wins a brand new Apple iPad.

A few notes:
1. You will not get the correct answer simply by running “strings” on the packet capture. It is more complicated than that.
2. Please do not attempt to brute-force the answer by guessing. We reserve the right to cut you off from submitting answers if you abuse the privilege.

Have fun! 🙂

Puzzle #7 was written by Sherri Davidoff, Eric Fulton and Jonathan Ham.

Copyright 2010, Lake Missoula Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Contest Closed!

We are currently in the process of grading submissions. This may take a few weeks, but rest assured we will announce the contest winners and results within the month.

Our next contest will be held at Defcon, August 4-7. We will probably post the contest/answers here when it’s over and we’ve recovered from Vegas.


The Final Days

The Network Forensics Puzzle Contest (“NFPC”) has proved to be quite a challenge for some. While a number of contestants have submitted correct answers, very few have accompanied their submission with additional narrative and/or tools. If you’ve already submitted, double check your answers and perhaps add a little extra to what you had before. It could be the difference that nets you a prize! We will be closing the contest on June 30th, and will post answers/winners soon after. Happy hunting!