CTF CyberTalents — Bypass the world

Well, hello there! Now we’ll solve one of the challenges on CyberTalents in Web CTF’s

The challenge information

Challenge information

Challenge description

I Don’t Care if the world is against you, but i believe that you can bypass the world

Challenge link


So let’s get started…

After you open the challenge page you’ll get login page as follows

And you don’t have any test account so the normal action you’ll do is to check the source code for any information leakage, but you won’t find anything, let’s return to the main page and check the Wanna Source button, you’ll get the SQL query as follows

From this code you should notice 2 important things:

  1. The developer has filtered the input of the user by using preg_replace function to replace a special character or word and replace it
  2. The developer balances the query by using ‘ not “ or ‘) or “). It’s important information.

So let’s analyze this code…

  1. For the preg_replace → It’s a PHP function which take 3 variables

The first one is the character which will search for and in our case is (comma), the second variable is the replacement character which will put in instead of the comma and in our case it’s ‘ ‘ (space), the third and the final variable is the variable which will apply this replacement in it’s value and in our case is name.

To know more about the preg_match i recommended reading the documentation about it https://www.php.net/manual/en/function.preg-match.php

2. For the balancing character we know that it’s comma ‘ and in this case we’ll use it instead of trying more than one to know this info.

If you try to inject the username with this payload username=admin’# you won’t success because it’s replace the comma ‘ with space, so it’s not worked. So let’s try to find anything to bypass this function to stop replacing the comma with space.

After searching, you’ll see something called escape character

You can find more information here https://docs.oracle.com/cd/B19306_01/B14251_01/adfns_regexp.htm

To demonstrate the trick here, the escape character \ is used to escape the character which the function will replace, for example: in our query

$query =”SELECT * FROM users where name=’$name’ and password=’$pass’ “

if the filter see the ‘ it will replace it by space so if we insert the username as eslam’akl this will be eslam akl (Again: Replacing the comma with space)

And if we insert the username as this eslam\’akl the result from the replacing will be eslamakl (Because of the \ the character ‘ had been passed)

So if we try to insert \’ as the username, the query will be like this

$query =”SELECT * FROM users where name=’’ and password=’$pass’ “

Nice, now we’ll use the pass variable to inject our payload like this

password = or+1=1#

the query in this case will be like this

$query =”SELECT * FROM users where name=’’ and password=’or+1=1'#’ “

Then you’ll find it return you the flag

Congrats Bro ❤


The + in the payload is mean space

The # in the payload is a comment for the data which transporte into POST request

To know more about preg_match() and escape char read this https://stackoverflow.com/questions/767714/how-to-escape-in-php-using-preg-replace



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Eslam Akl

Eslam Akl

Penetration Tester, Bug Hunter, Author of 10 CVEs, Author of multiple security tools, and more :) You can find me on Twitter @eslam3kll