Three hidden keys open three secret gates Wherein the errant will be tested for worthy traits And those with the skill to survive these straits Will reach The End where the prize awaits

Flag is in form IJCTF{copper key + jade key + crystal key}

Author: Harsh


  • The first clue is hidden on the website …
  • File names and titles are useful


All this challenge is a reference to the film Ready player one as we can see in the description of the challenge. We used this information to our advantage.


In the main page of the challenge we found a long HTML comment: image

Form this comment when we deleted spaces and new line and converted to ASCII:

I created three keys. Three hidden challenges test for worthy traits revealing three hidden keys to three hidden gates. The keys aren’t just laying around under a rock somewhere. I suppose you could say they’re invisible, hidden in a dark room that’s at the center of a maze that’s located somewhere up here. Maybe you should take a closer look at our logo………………………………………………

So we started looking at the logo.

We found in the logo image at some text. image With the help of steghide we extracted a file:

steghide --extract -sf logo.jpg

content of the hidden File : > >

Since the description of the challenge said that there were three parts of the key it was safe to assume every link was a different challenge.

Copper key - Merkle–Hellman knapsack cryptosystem


M.H. is an asymmetric cryptosystem. The public key is composed of n integer values, with n corresponding to the number of bits of the message

We define the n bits -> We define the knapsack ->

cipher text =

The private key is a superincreasing knapsack, with a multiplier and a modulus used to transform the private key in into public key. Anyway, we don’t need the private key to solve this one

We had a file containing many knapsacks of public key and the ciphertext encoded. Every knapsack was a list of 16 integers.


Simply trying every possible combination was an 2^16 iterations problem, so quite an easy one.

Some code

That was it.


Jade key - Game of life



The filename of the image was base64 encoded:

$ ls | cut -d '.' -f1 | base64 -d

B3/S23 stands for a set of rules for the game of life. We used golly to import the png file after editing the colour map with GIMP.

Running golly gave us the flag:


Crystal key - Fourier series


The name of the file redirected us to a YouTube video about drawing with the Fourier series.

The file contained a malformed Fourier series. After formatting the series and added the time variable that was missing we plotted it with a numpy function.


With some imagination, you can see the text IROK , a character of Ready player one.

The final flag can now be submitted: IJCTF{kn4ps4ck_brut3_f0rrc3_u1t1m4t3_g4m3_0f_l1f3_IROK}