2023 Target Cyber Defense Challenge: Cyber Threat Intelligence & Reverse Engineering

A cybersecurity CTF write-up of Cyber Threat Intelligence and Reverse Engineering challenges

The Latina Tech
4 min readJul 21


Photo by Shahadat Rahman on Unsplash

This past month, I participated in my first ever CTF: the 2023 Target Cyber Defense Challenge, offered for WiCyS members. It was extremely valuable in that it gave me hands-on experience and a taste as to what it’s like to be on a cyber defense team up against the threat actor “Shiny Scorpion”. It also constantly challenged me to think differently and to learn about areas of cyber that I wasn’t familiar with from a technical standpoint.

While I was unable to complete the entire CTF, I’m excited to share that I ended up placing 68th out of 476 competitors, and completed 10 challenges.

The challenges were spread across the categories: Cryptography/ Steganography, Reverse Engineering, USB Forensics, and Cyber Threat Intelligence.

The following is a write-up of the Cyber Threat Intelligence and Reverse Engineering challenges that I solved!

Cyber Threat Intelligence

WHOIS responsible for this IP address? (100 pts)


The incident response team has identified an IP address that several infected hosts have been communicating with:

As part of the investigation, you’ve been tasked with identifying the company that owns this IP address.

Note: The flag is not case/whitespace sensitive.


To begin, I opened up my terminal and ran “whois”. This returned a lot of information, as seen in the screenshot below. Since the ask was to identify the company that owns the IP address, I searched the results and found the company listed after “Organization:”.

FLAG: DigitalOcean, LLC

Last login: Fri Jun 16 00:05:48 on ttys000
TheLatinaTech@TheLatinaTech-MBP ~ % whois
% IANA WHOIS server
% for more information on IANA, visit <http://www.iana.org>
% This query returned 1 object

refer: whois.arin.net

inetnum: -
organisation: Administered by ARIN
status: LEGACY

whois: whois.arin.net

changed: 1993-05
source: IANA

# whois.arin.net

NetRange: -
NetName: DIGITALOCEAN-165-227-0-0
NetHandle: NET-165-227-0-0-1
Parent: NET165 (NET-165-0-0-0-0)
NetType: Direct Allocation
OriginAS: AS14061
Organization: DigitalOcean, LLC (DO-13)
RegDate: 2016-10-06
Updated: 2020-04-03
Comment: Routing and Peering Policy can be found at <https://www.as14061.net>
Comment: Please submit abuse reports at <https://www.digitalocean.com/company/contact/#abuse>
Ref: <https://rdap.arin.net/registry/ip/>

OrgName: DigitalOcean, LLC
OrgId: DO-13
Address: 101 Ave of the Americas
Address: FL2
City: New York
StateProv: NY
PostalCode: 10013
Country: US
RegDate: 2012-05-14
Updated: 2022-05-19
Ref: <https://rdap.arin.net/registry/entity/DO-13>

OrgNOCHandle: NOC32014-ARIN
OrgNOCName: Network Operations Center
OrgNOCPhone: +1-347-875-6044
OrgNOCEmail: noc@digitalocean.com
OrgNOCRef: <https://rdap.arin.net/registry/entity/NOC32014-ARIN>

OrgTechHandle: NOC32014-ARIN
OrgTechName: Network Operations Center
OrgTechPhone: +1-347-875-6044
OrgTechEmail: noc@digitalocean.com
OrgTechRef: <https://rdap.arin.net/registry/entity/NOC32014-ARIN>

OrgAbuseHandle: ABUSE5232-ARIN
OrgAbuseName: Abuse, DigitalOcean
OrgAbusePhone: +1-347-875-6044
OrgAbuseEmail: abuse@digitalocean.com
OrgAbuseRef: <https://rdap.arin.net/registry/entity/ABUSE5232-ARIN>

Don’t sweat the MITRE technique (100 pts)


The incident response team has identified a suspicious command being executed on several infected hosts: nltest /domain_trusts /all_trusts

To help determine what the adversary is up to, you’ve been asked to identify the MITRE ATT&CK technique ID associated with this activity.

Note: The flag is not case sensitive


FLAG: T1482

This flag was found pretty quickly (thanks to our bestie Google). I searched MITRE ATT&CK framework and once on the site dug around a bit to find a technique that matched the given information from the problem. Then found the ID on the page, as highlighted below.

Reverse Engineering

Due to limited time constraints and my technical knowledge of C, I was only able to solve one RE challenge:

r04c4 (100 points)


It seems I skipped RE101. I may need to brush up on my C programming before analyzing the code.
flag format: flag{the_is_an_example_flag}

(The following is the contents of the challenge’s attached file).

#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>

void d(unsigned char *x,unsigned char *y,unsigned char *z) {
unsigned char s[0400];
int i,j;

for (i=0;i<0400;i++) {

for (i=0,j=0;i<0400;i++) {
unsigned char t=s[i];

for (int x=0;x<026;x++) {
unsigned char t=s[i];
unsigned char rnd=s[(s[i]+s[j])%0400];

int main() {
unsigned char k[]="\162\x30\164\x63\64";
unsigned char c[]={0x54,0206,0xdb,0242,0xd7,0151,0x38,0114,0x59,0235,0xd9,0340,0xeb,0100,0x84,0365,0xbd,0237,0x39,0143,0xa3,0243};

unsigned char p[026];


for (int i=0;i<026;i++) {

return 0;



As someone who doesn’t have a programming background (yet!), I plugged the attached C file into ChatGPT to get an understanding of what I was reading. Then I used https://tio.run/#c-gcc to run the attached C code and the output was:


I added this output to Cyberchef and recognized the format of the string as Base64. I applied the “From Base64” filter, and was given the flag.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, check out my other Medium blog posts.
Want to connect? Follow me on



The Latina Tech

intelligence analyst, cybersecurity grad student & digital creator @TheLatinaTech on Instagram