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Threat Intelligence

2018 Flare-On Challenge Solutions

October 5, 2018

Written by: Nick Harbour

We are pleased to announce the conclusion of the fifth annual Flare-On Challenge. The numbers are in and we can safely say that this was by far the most difficult challenge we’ve ever hosted. We plan to reduce the difficulty next year, so it may be that the 114 people who solved this year’s challenge solved not only the most difficult Flare-On to date, but the most difficult Flare-On there ever will be. The prize for these amazing and dedicated Reverse Engineers is a magic decoder buckle and coin insert. It can be used to decode and encode secret messages using a pre-shared key. It is based on a crypto system known as a Diana Cipher. They will be shipping soon.


We would like to thank the challenge authors individually for their great puzzles and solutions:

  1. Minesweeper Championship Registration: Nick Harbour (@nickharbour)
  2. Ultimate Minesweeper: Nick Harbour (@nickharbour)
  3. FLEGGO: Moritz Raabe
  4. binstall: Tyler Dean the Malware Machine
  5. Web 2.0: William Ballenthin (@williballenthin)
  6. Magic: Sebastion Vogl
  7. WOW: Ryan Warns
  8. Doogie Hacker: Matt Williams (@0xmwilliams)
  9. leet editr: Michael Bailey
  10. golf: Ryan Warns
  11. malware skillz: Jay Smith
  12. Suspicious Floppy Disk: Nick Harbour (@nickharbour)

And now for the stats. As of 10:00am ET, participation was at an all-time high, with 4,893 registered players and 3,374 players finishing at least one challenge. This year had the least amount of finishers as well with 114.


The U.S. continues to slip further down the ranking in terms of finishers by country. China takes the lead in overall finishers and Singapore is the undisputed champion of per capita finishers with more than one finisher per million people.


All the binaries from this year’s challenge are now posted on the Flare-On website. And here are the solutions written by each challenge author:

  1. SOLUTION #1
  2. SOLUTION #2
  3. SOLUTION #3
  4. SOLUTION #4
  5. SOLUTION #5
  6. SOLUTION #6
  7. SOLUTION #7
  8. SOLUTION #8
  9. SOLUTION #9
  10. SOLUTION #10
  11. SOLUTION #11
  12. SOLUTION #12
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