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Solving the crackme

As you have already seen, the sample we use since the beginning of this tutorial is a (simple) crackme.

Let's try to see how we can start to solve it with quokka.

Finding the challenges

import quokka

prog = quokka.Program('docs/samples/qb-crackme.Quokka', 'docs/samples/qb-crackme')

# Get the functions name
for func in prog.fun_names:
    if func.startswith("level"):

It yields to the following results!

<Function level0 at 0x80492bc>
<Function level1 at 0x80494e8>
<Function level2 at 0x8049568>
<Function level3 at 0x80495c3>
<Function level4 at 0x80496f0>
<Function level5 at 0x804980c>
<Function level6 at 0x804987e>
<Function level7 at 0x80499af>
<Function level8 at 0x8049b69>
<Function level9 at 0x8049cfe>

Great, we have about 10 levels to solve. Let start by the first one.

Level 0

First, get the function:

func = prog.fun_names["level0"]

Then, let's examine it:

# Get the size
print(len(func)) # 1 Chunk
print(len(func[func.start])) # 7 basic blocks

We see that the functions have 3 strings:

for str in func.strings:

What's the flag?

And it's calling 3 functions:

for chunk in func.calls:


Let's now print the disassembly of the first block to understand what's happening:

for inst in func.get_block(func.start):
<CsInsn 0x80492bc [55]: push ebp>
<CsInsn 0x80492bd [89e5]: mov ebp, esp>
<CsInsn 0x80492bf [81ec28020000]: sub esp, 0x228>
<CsInsn 0x80492c5 [c745ec88b00408]: mov dword ptr [ebp - 0x14], 0x804b088>
<CsInsn 0x80492cc [c745e88fb00408]: mov dword ptr [ebp - 0x18], 0x804b08f>
<CsInsn 0x80492d3 [83ec04]: sub esp, 4>
<CsInsn 0x80492d6 [8d85dcfdffff]: lea eax, [ebp - 0x224]>
<CsInsn 0x80492dc [50]: push eax>
<CsInsn 0x80492dd [ff75e8]: push dword ptr [ebp - 0x18]>
<CsInsn 0x80492e0 [ff75ec]: push dword ptr [ebp - 0x14]>
<CsInsn 0x80492e3 [e888ffffff]: call 0x8049270>
<CsInsn 0x80492e8 [83c410]: add esp, 0x10>
<CsInsn 0x80492eb [c745e4a0b00408]: mov dword ptr [ebp - 0x1c], 0x804b0a0>
<CsInsn 0x80492f2 [83ec0c]: sub esp, 0xc>
<CsInsn 0x80492f5 [ff75e4]: push dword ptr [ebp - 0x1c]>
<CsInsn 0x80492f8 [e863fdffff]: call 0x8049060>
<CsInsn 0x80492fd [83c410]: add esp, 0x10>
<CsInsn 0x8049300 [8945e0]: mov dword ptr [ebp - 0x20], eax>
<CsInsn 0x8049303 [83ec0c]: sub esp, 0xc>
<CsInsn 0x8049306 [8d85dcfdffff]: lea eax, [ebp - 0x224]>
<CsInsn 0x804930c [50]: push eax>
<CsInsn 0x804930d [e84efdffff]: call 0x8049060>
<CsInsn 0x8049312 [83c410]: add esp, 0x10>
<CsInsn 0x8049315 [8945dc]: mov dword ptr [ebp - 0x24], eax>
<CsInsn 0x8049318 [c745f400000000]: mov dword ptr [ebp - 0xc], 0>
<CsInsn 0x804931f [c745f0c8000000]: mov dword ptr [ebp - 0x10], 0xc8>
<CsInsn 0x8049326 [eb2c]: jmp 0x8049354>

We find the three calls we already saw.


Since we are using capstone disassembly here, we don't resolve the call target. However, using func.get_instruction(0x80492e3) allows us to recover it!

Let's examine this extract:

<CsInsn 0x80492eb [c745e4a0b00408]: mov dword ptr [ebp - 0x1c], 0x804b0a0>
<CsInsn 0x80492f5 [ff75e4]: push dword ptr [ebp - 0x1c]>
<CsInsn 0x80492f8 [e863fdffff]: call 0x8049060>

We load a data and push it on the stack before calling a function. We can ask quokka to help us to identify the calling convention used by the binary in two ways:

from quokka.analysis import Environment, Platform

env = Environment(Platform.LINUX, prog.arch)

# Or ask IDA
# This uses the protobuf directly because no accessor is yet available.

In cdecl, arguments are pushed on the stack. So, we see that the argument of the strlen call is the data loaded from memory.

inst = func.get_instruction(0x80492eb)

The argument used by the second call at strlen is the result of the get_input function.

Let's consider the next block:

first = func.get_block(func.start)
next_block = func.get_block(next(first.successors()))

We know there is only one successor because either : - the first block disassembly ends with an unconditional jump - func.graph[first.start] lists an Unconditional Edge - sum(1 for _ in first.successors()) is 1

Our new block has two predecessors: we are in a loop!


From now on, we can just navigate in the CFG and see what are the conditions to complete to solve the level.

Final words

This toy example is maybe not the best display on why quokka could be useful, but highlights some possibilities.