You were given a flag in the pre-CTF email. Now’s your chance to get those points.
The initial emails sent out to all competitors included a final line which said:
PS Here is your first flag - crack it and keep it safe:
The first thing to notice is that the flag ends with two equals signs. If you’re not sure what that could be try googling ‘string ending with –’. The first hit says:
Why does a base 64 encoded string have an = sign at the end.
Ah! So it’s base 64 encoded!
At this point we can open up CyberChef, paste the flag in and select ‘from base64’. The following output now appears:
Hmm, another string with two equals signs. Let’s add into cyber chef another ‘from base64’ recipe. Now our output is:
This is looking a lot like our flag. We know most flags begin: ‘AFNOM’ so we can see that A->N and N->A. Ah, it’s a rotation cipher.
Once again, cyberchef has a rotation recipe: ROTxx. I’ll try the one at the top, ROT13 first.
And out pops our flag: