For this challenge, the following description and a link to an image was given.

Up to the sky, I draw inspiration
From the sun, I warm up my passion

My ballads follow the birds songs
The stars spell words to who my heart longs

But these clouds make me raving confused.
Would you kindly act as my decoding muse?
Challenge Image

At first, it was classified as steganography and before I touched the challenge, most steganography techniques were tried. Since the image is pretty small, it was clear it wasn’t steganography. Looking at the image, you can almost tell that it’s blurred text due to the spacing and coloring. Which reminded me a tool from a while ago:

There was no context clues to what kind of font were used, but we can try common scenarios. Depix provides few scenarios. So we try them all:

ls images/searchimages/ | xargs -I {} sh -c "python -p reading-through-the-clouds.png -s images/searchimages/{} -o chall/output_{}"

notepad Windows 7 close

Hmm 🤔 not very readable.

notepad Windows 10 close

Much better but we can do better

notepad Windows 10 close and spaced

Not perfect, but we can tell that it says

the secret is lastkingdom

The secret was indeed lastkingdom and we get some points.


with few exceptions 😉