Sunday, August 7, 2016

OpenCTF 2016 - diskomatic writeup

Challenge Name: diskomatic
Point Value: 200
Description: It slices, it dices, it juliennes fries!
Tags: forensics

The challenge is a binary file with a forensics tags, so I assumed it would be pulling some data out of some other file format.

Step 1:  Unpack


$ file diskomatic-98757b0043b8aea77e9014cff8ead7b1
diskomatic-98757b0043b8aea77e9014cff8ead7b1: gzip compressed data, last modified: Mon Jun 22 00:08:37 2015, max compression, from Unix

Simple enough.

$ zcat diskomatic-98757b0043b8aea77e9014cff8ead7b1 > diskomatic.dat

$ file diskomatic.dat diskomatic.dat: DOS/MBR boot sector, code offset 0x58+2, OEM-ID "mkdosfs", FAT  1, Media descriptor 0xf8, sectors/track 32, heads 64, sectors 250368 (volumes > 32 MB) , FAT (32 bit), sectors/FAT 1941, serial number 0x20550574, label: "DISKOMATIC "


Step 2:  Mount Filesystem


So we have a FAT filesystem image.  Let's try mounting it and seeing what's inside.

$ sudo mount -t vfat ./diskomatic.dat ~/mnt/dos/
$ ls -la ~/mnt/dos
total 5
drwxr-xr-x 2 root  root   512 Dec 31  1969 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 grind grind 4096 Aug  6 12:41 ..
$ df -h | grep dos
/dev/loop0      122M   512  122M   1% /home/grind/mnt/dos
$ sudo umount ~/mnt/dos

Interesting so from the filesystem's perspective there are no valid files, but we have 122MB of something.


Step 3: Analyze the Binary


$ binwalk -e diskomatic.dat

17787904      0x10F6C00       PNG image, 1600 x 900, 8-bit/color RGB, non-interlaced
34088942      0x20827EE       Minix filesystem, V1, little endian, 30 char names, 23429 zones

binwalk found a PNG file, but was unable to extract it.  Interesting... perhaps it is corrupted somehow. I don't know where the Minix FS detection came from, but it's a false positive.

So let's open up the file in a hex editor and take a look at location 0x10F6C00.


Step 4:  Hex Editor

The beginning of the file is as `file` advertised, a FAT32 partition table.  Let's go to location 0x10F6C00.

Here's the PNG header, with the first IDAT section but it is noticeably quite short.  Searching for IDAT we find many more of these sections.  Each one is exactly 512B, which I believe is the block size for FAT32.  So it seems we have a PNG file which has been fragmented and we need to piece it back together.  Well let's try the naieve approach, and just concatenate all the chunks.  We can do this from within the hex editor by cropping the file from location 0x10F6C00 onward and then doing a find and replace on all the \x00\x00\x00\x00 words with nothing.

We'll save this file as diskomatic.png and open it.

Well that didn't work. But the CRC error is a great hint.  PNG is a simple format with chunks split into just 4 fields.

Length Chunk type Chunk data CRC
4 bytes 4 bytes Length bytes 4 bytes

But you don't have to take my word for it, you can read the Wikipedia article.

Looking at the 512B blocks in the hex editor again, we see that the PNG chunks are split in the middle of the data section, leaving some data and the CRC for that data at the front of the next block.  So we have a fragmented file, but we have a method of determining in which order the pieces are supposed to fit back together by combining two blocks and then checking whether the CRC for the PNG chunk is correct.  So now we have an idea of the problem and a solution, but first we'll need to extract each block of the PNG file.


Step 5: Programmatically Extracting FAT32 Blocks


At first I just selected a few blocks in the hex editor and saved them as new files.  But after about 6 of these, with the location not moving much, I realized I'd probably need to automate this.

$ grep -abc IDAT diskomatic.dat

Yep, I definitely don't want to copy'n'paste 5000 times by hand.  So I wrote some Python:
FILE = "diskomatic.dat"

def get_parts():
    fh = open(FILE, 'rb')

    parts = []

    # we know the location of the first part from `binwalk`
    p_idx = 0
    part = ""

        while True:
            block =
            if len(block) == 0:
            if block[0:4] != "\x00\x00\x00\x00":
                fh2 = open("parts/p"+str(p_idx)+".png.part", "wb")
                p_idx += 1
            offset = fh.tell()
            if offset % 0x100000 == 0:
                print "0x%x" % offset
    except EOFError:

This writes all the blocks/parts out, 1 per file, and puts them in a directory called parts. After running this code we have 6238 files.

$ cd parts
$ ls | wc
   6238   56144  354468


Step 6:  Reassemble the Blocks


First I tested my hypothesis that all the blocks we needed were present, by programmatically concatenating every block with the first block, and was successful finding one block.

From that code, I moved on to checking every block against every other block, and constructing the correct ordering of blocks in a dictionary.  Then writing that string of blocks out into a single PNG file.  The full code, excluding the get_parts() function is:
#!/usr/bin/env python

import binascii
import struct

FILE = "diskomatic.dat"

def tokenize_chunk(data):
    length = struct.unpack("!I", data[0:4])[0]
    chunk = data[0:4+4+length+4]

    return chunk

def png_chunk_verify_crc(chunk):
    length = struct.unpack("!I", chunk[0:4])[0]
    ctype = chunk[4:8]
    data = chunk[8:8+length]
    crc = struct.unpack("!I", chunk[8+length:8+length+4])[0]

    # The CRC is a network-byte-order CRC-32 computed over the chunk type and
    # chunk data, but not the length.
    crc_c = (binascii.crc32(chunk[4:-4]) & 0xFFFFFFFF)

    valid = (crc == crc_c)

    return valid

def read_parts():
    parts = []

    # XXX: magic number: that's how many chunks were in the original file
    for i in xrange(0, NUM_CHUNKS):
        fh = open("parts/p"+str(i)+".png.part", "rb")
        data = bytearray(

    return parts

def compare_parts(parts):
    parts_dict = {}

    for i in xrange(1, NUM_CHUNKS):
        first_two = parts[0] + parts[i]
        # XXX: magic number, for first one, because there's the PNG header
        chunk = tokenize_chunk(first_two[0x2E:])
        matched = png_chunk_verify_crc(chunk)
        if matched:
            print "Chunk 0 and %d matched!" % i
            parts_dict[0] = i

    for i in xrange(1, NUM_CHUNKS):
        matched = False
        for j in xrange(1, NUM_CHUNKS):
            if i == j:
            two_parts = parts[i] + parts[j]
            # XXX: magic number, most other parts seem to have the same offset
            offset_to_chunk = 0x2E
            chunk = tokenize_chunk(two_parts[offset_to_chunk:]) 
            matched = png_chunk_verify_crc(chunk)
            if matched:
                if i % 100 == 0:
                    print "Chunk %d and %d matched!" % (i, j)
                parts_dict[i] = j

        if not matched:
            print "Chunk %d had no match!" % (i)

    return parts_dict

def write_parts(parts, parts_dict):
    fh = open("final.png", "wb")

    next_key = 0
    for i in parts_dict.iterkeys():
            next_key = parts_dict[next_key]
        except KeyError:
            print "Hit KeyError"


def main():
    parts = read_parts()
    parts_dict = compare_parts(parts)
    write_parts(parts, parts_dict)

if __name__ == "__main__":

The nested for loops do some unnecessary work, but the whole thing runs in under 5 minutes on my laptop.


Step 7:  Collect the Flag


Now we have a (hopefully) valid PNG. Let's open it.


  1. could you share file diskomatic-98757b0043b8aea77e9014cff8ead7b1 :)
    Thanks you

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