The Skull CTF

A mind-bending hardware puzzle in three acts

Nov 12, 2020

Eldrich Assembly

by Uri Shaked

Ahoy Mateys!

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You have done it. You have made the world a more dangerous place by successfully funding t́he skull. Nice work. Seriously.

And it only took 8084 minutes! Which, as you know, is (probably) a world record for crowdfunding campaigns launched on All Hallows’ Eve. It also means that we funded before we hit ̚8086, which is excellent newš. There’s just no telling how Microchip would have reacted to the sudden appearance of such a well-known architectural competitor. Bullet dodged!

We invite you to celebrate with us by enjoying this rare and powerful music. We recommend putti͐ng it on repeat, turning up the volume, and listening for at least 24 hours.

Meanwhile, we must turn our attention to matters of the utmost importance: our prototypes. We’ve spent the week manually soldering prototype units with which to test our firmware. Alas! A vengeful spirit cursed our ATtiny’s fuses, and we had to apply a special combination of high-voltage powder and logic- analyzer magic to lift the curse.

But we didn’t stop there. We are committed to bringing you best-in-class hardware, so we went in search of newer, more potent PC︠B-assembly techniques. After a long̟ journey, our exedition arrived at the world’s hottest geyser, whereupon we dev̎eloped a geothermal stream-so̿ldering process capable of ̘liquifying a rare-earth alloy ând using it to fuse components to SMD pads. While our boards came out perfect, this new process appears to have corrupted the minds of our engineering team. We have all ͔begun hallucinating typographic distruptions when ̻attempting to read tex̎t. At least, we hope they are hallucinations…

Regarͩdleͧss,ͯ we hăve no cͫhoͦice now but ͬto waͭit. Aͧt midnͦight uͬpon the next full-mooN—the BeAVer Mooon—we will take the victorious Jack to ͧan ancͫiĕntͮ bͥurial ground and ͮcommit what ͣlittlͭe e͒nergy̍ we ͟ha̿vé l̊ef̤t̩ t᷅o͋ t͖h̑e͖ t̿as͊k̓ ̰at̝ ̻h̻̅a̳n̍d:̌ ̭͋e̍x͡tr︠ac︡t̄͊i͜n︣g̹᷇ ͋n᷇e͑︠w͍ ͢͠b̨᷇y̓̓t́e̍́ś ͉͌f̌̇r̮̰o̜̦͡m̢᷾︡ ̊͒͑o̜̭l̵͙̊͞d̗̝,̰̱̹ ̨̽̅t͍͢i᷀́m͎̓e᷂͡w͘o̮͝ȑ̌n̜ͅ ̃̓͑b︡́ò̳᷈̈́n͎̳̾e̵̶̫︠s̫᷀̀̈́ ̔̇͝͠a̪̫᷁᷅ṉ͈͜d̩᷈͗᷁ ̴͌̑̄͞ų̛̼̜͊́s̩̗̃̋᷁͞ͅi̴͉̾̈̈̔̈́͡ng them to complete the skelEton of our ǝɹɐʍɯɹᴉɟ.


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