To the victor goes the gold, to the loser ...

By on 30 June, 2011


To those who competed it is either congratulations or commiserations depending on how successful your team was. To those who didn’t you can but dream of a chance to compete next year. No matter how your team did it is fair to say that this year’s HackFu was a great success. The aim of this year’s contest was to unlock the secret of Hacker Island by exploring the high seas in search of gold. As the sun finally sets over the now fabled Hacker Island we are looking for the next generation of security consultants to join the team at MWR. We are now accepting applications from anyone who wishes to put themselves forward for an exciting role as a Junior Security Consultant. To be considered for this role you must:

  1. be eligible to work in the UK
  2. be able to commute to the Basingstoke area
  3. submit answers to the following two challenges from this year’s HackFu
  4. submit a CV and covering letter to

Challenge 1

The air feels thick and close with the humidity as your crew push their way into the depth of the jungle that covers the whole of the island. The undergrowth is dense and dark and you have to hack your way through using your machetes. You therefore make slow progress and it is taking you longer than expected to explore the island. You find it hard to believe that anyone could be here and therefore nothing of interest would be found.

After thinking things through you realise that anything of interest must be easily accessible from the sea so you concentrate your efforts on the areas around the coast. This approach pays off and on the far side of the island you discover a small and well disguised jetty with a path leading into the jungle. Keen to find something that you don’t have to hack your way to is appealing and you follow the trail to its end. When the path abruptly ends you find a locked treasure chest with a note pinned to it. The note says the following: -

“To whomever discovers this note let it be known that I, Captain Bluebeard do hereby declare that I have been the victim of the most heinous of crimes. I have placed my faith in the security of computer systems sold to me by a big company. They said to trust them with security as they practically invented the computer. It was an all in one solution, they provided the servers, they wrote the software, then they implemented and security tested it. Why go to multiple suppliers when I can just have one! I believed them but I now know the error of my ways as I know I have had some of my riches stolen but I don’t know what was taken. Tell me what was stolen and I will make sure you are well rewarded.”

You know of Captain Bluebeard and legend tells you that the pirate captain is very organised and stores all his riches in a virtual treasure chest. However, he was not very good at security as you will see from a network capture that was obtained when the crime happened. Solve the crime for the Captain by using the information provided and find out just how many items were stolen by the attacker.

Challenge 2

After landing on the island and after following the path for a few minutes you come across a small group of huts standing in a clearing in the jungle. You search them and find an enemy communication device and a folder full of papers marked “operational information”. You find the following written on the papers in a folder:

“We do not have sophisticated antennae and so the signal is a simple point source with the signal strength inversely proportional to the distance squared. The signal strength at 1km is 100,000 pirate sigs. The signal strength for the intercepts is stored in the destination IP address with the following format: 10.A.B.C, A = Most significant byte, B = Least significant byte, C = 2 point decimal place (0-99), e.g. = 257.54 Grid = the grid is 100 × 100 numbered 0 – 99, x axis increasing from left to right, y axis increasing from top to bottom. There are three monitoring stations that have been intercepting communications. Station 1 = (1, 20) (cap1.pcap), Station 2 = (30,83) (cap2.pcap), Station 3 = (69, 30) (cap3.pcap).”

By using the information contained in the captures that are provided with you need to find the ship code of the commander. (If you are feeling clever you can also find what the closest whole grid reference to where the messaged destined to ship code 5001000 originated from).

Download the challenge files.