HEAD over to the site once more and discover the last flag!

Use curl for this one.

The description of this challenge clearly hints to a HTTP HEAD request. A HEAD request is the same as a GET request, but only the headers are returned, not the body. Using curl, a head request can easily be sent using curl $SITE --head (or alternatively curl -I $SITE).

The response is:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx/1.25.2
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2023 13:24:31 GMT
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Connection: keep-alive
Host: poster-thief
X-Powered-By: PHP/8.2.11
Error: Please visit though the stellar-browser

The response-headers give away quite some information, and this information could be useful when you are trying to find vulnerabilities. For example, you could use the version in the Server or X-Powered-By headers to find vulnerabilities in those specific applications. In this case though, there is a non-standard header Error that contains a message for us: Please visit though the stellar-browser.

When a browser sends a request to a server, it usually sends the User-Agent header along. In this header, the browser version etc. is communicated to the server, so that server can adapt their response to the value of the header. We want to change this header to have the value of stellar-browser. A header value can be set in curl using the --header or for short -H flag: curl $SITE --head -H "User-Agent: stellar-browser".

The error now reads: You can only get a flag if you were referred by This points to the Referer (no, it’s not the correct spelling, but that’s the way it is, these days Referrer is often accepted as well) header. This header is sent by the browser when a navigation occurs. If you click a link on site A in a browser, you were referred to the next page by that site A, and site A will be the value in the Referer header. Let’s change it: curl $SITE --head -H "User-Agent: stellar-browser" -H "Referer:".

Next: You can only get a flag in 2024. We can set the Date header to indicate what date and time it is at the moment. But it’s not necessary to structure this header correctly. HTTP does require a certain structure for a number of headers (like the Date header), but this is just so servers and browsers (or other clients) know how to interpret the values. There is no strict check on how a header is formatted, you can theoretically send whatever you want in a header, your request/response just might not be interpreted correctly. So let’s just send the year instead of the full structured date: curl $SITE --head -H "User-Agent: stellar-browser" -H "Referer:" -H "Date: 2024".

Now: You can only get a flag if you request to not be tracked. In modern browsers, you can ask the browser to request to opt out of tracking by the server. The browser will send the DNT (Do Not Track) header with a value of 1, which we will mimic: curl $SITE --head -H "User-Agent: stellar-browser" -H "Referer:" -H "Date: 2024" -H "DNT: 1"

Finally, the server asks: You can only get a flag in french. This hints towards the Accept-Language header. We can request the page with fr as value of that header: curl $SITE --head -H "User-Agent: stellar-browser" -H "Referer:" -H "Date: 2024" -H "DNT: 1" -H "Accept-Language: fr"

Upon making that request, the flag is printed in the sv-flag header. Or, in a one-liner (with -s/--silent so curl does not output status progress):

curl -s $SITE -H "User-Agent: stellar-browser" -H "Referer:" -H "Date: 2024" -H "DNT: 1" -H "Accept-Language: fr" --head | grep -o sv{.*}

Which prints sv{h34d3rs_c4n_easily_b_f0rged}.

Stellar Vector is powered by the DistriNet research group and the KU Leuven.

© 2022-2023 All content published on this site are protected under copyright of the respective authors.