Programmers Assemble

Writeup by hgarrereyn

  • Reverse Engineering
  • 75 points
  • Description: You found a text file with some really low level code. Some value at the beginning has been X'ed out. Can you figure out what should be there, to make main return the value 0x1? Submit the answer as a hexidecimal number, with no extraneous 0s. For example, the decimal number 2015 would be submitted as 0x7df, not 0x000007df


Here is the file we were given:


.global main

    mov $XXXXXXX, %eax
    mov $0, %ebx
    mov $0x8, %ecx
    test %eax, %eax
    jz fin
    add %ecx, %ebx
    dec %eax
    jmp loop
    cmp $0xb790, %ebx
    je good
    mov $0, %eax
    jmp end
    mov $1, %eax


We are looking for a return value of 0x1. The only place we get this is in the good subroutine.

Looking backwards through the assembly, we see that the only code that branches here is in the fin subroutine. Therefore, %ebx must equal 0xb790 when we call fin. But where do we branch to fin?

Well, it looks like there is a loop subroutine that will call fin when %eax is zero. Otherwise, it will do the following operations:

  • %ebx += %ecx
  • %eax -= 1

So essentially, we are looking at a subroutine that will add %ecx to %ebx %eax times. We can represent this with a simple multiplication equation. By the time we call fin, %ebx += (%eax * %ecx). We have to find %eax so what are those other values?

Well, in main, we initialize %ebx to zero and %ecx to 0x8. Therefore our equation looks like this: %ebx = 0x8 * %eax.

In order to return 1, %ebx must be 0xb790 so we obtain: 0xb790 = 0x8 * %eax which simplifies to: %eax = 0x16f2.

We submit this value as the flag.

Flag: 0x16f2

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