PHDays CTF 2012

Day 1

The XXI century is the Era of Biotechnologies. Mass production of genetically-modified products was supposed to deal with hunger, diseases and give the humanity the power over the Nature.

However by the middle of the century genetically-modified organisms were everywhere: from tundra to rainforests. In response to the intervention Flora struck back to survive. Gigantic weed-trees and tiny bugs flooded forests and fields of the Earth.

People also suffered from the genetic chaos. Numerous epidemics spread over the planet, some of them were artificially induced.

That was when World War IV broke out to become the fastest and most devastating war of all.

The second half of the century saw demoralized population that was cut by a third because every other child was born with significant genetic deviations. Having lost their last bit of hope, people ran to airproof cities to cover from the aggressive environment.

And now, two hundred years later, few people who managed to survive are fighting every day to stay alive. On the one hand, there are city states that are constantly fighting against each other, on the other hand – mutant nomads wandering about destroyed cities and dangerous forests. People are surviving off of a few highly-secured automated farms growing “clean” food. Inevitable technological setback forced people to fight for remaining technologies and for serviceability of management systems left by their anсestors. Only twelve underground cities out of hundreds erected in the past still exist.

And nobody knows how many of them, if any, will be there tomorrow.

Service description

Teleportation Machine

Potatoes are our food source. It is one of a handful of crops that managed to survive the years of the End. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of our scientists, mutagenic agents are affecting the potatoes that we cultivate. So, in order to replenish our stock of genetically clean seeds, we use the unique teleportation system allowing us to supply seeds from other Cities without very dangerous multi-day trips to the outside world. If we are not able to use teleportation machines to replenish the seed fund, we will be left without clean food, and that’s when we will no longer be Living People.

The priorities of your unit are smooth operation and protection of teleportation machines against attacks from outside. Remember — this determines whether there will be food on the plates when Living People come for dinner tomorrow. The survival of all the Living People depends on you.

Combat Satellites

The citizens of our City are constantly in danger. Mutants’s attacks aimed at penetrating our territory become more and more frequent, and enemy Cities desperately want to get hold of our resources and basically of everything that we have. Safety and public order of the City directly depend on efficiency of our combat satellites to protect our citizens and strike preventative blows. If our satellites fail, we are as helpless as kittens — it will not take long before other Cities take over all of our food supplies and production facilities, and our citizens are killed by mutants.

Time Machine

We managed to get through all these years and remain Living People only thanks to clean food. However, mutative changes are approaching our farms and we will not be able to replenish our stock of genetically clean seeds forever. The Time Machine is our only hope for survival. If we manage to open the Time Portal, we will go back in time when the life was a box of chocolates, the water was clean, and people had access to shoe polish, toothpicks and many other wonderful things. The Time Machine will give us a chance to stop the chaos and avert the End.

Even though the Time Machine is equipped with an advanced self-protection system which rids the surroundings of rats and tramps, we cannot apply the system to protect us from attacks of other Cities. If as a result of any of those attacks our enemies destroy the Time Machine, we are doomed.

Management Center

Since the City is constantly struggling for survival, any dalay in the system management process might lead to total destruction. Quick and efficient decision making is essential for us to stay Living People. The Management Center monitors all fundamental systems of the City, such as Teleportation and Time Machines. If an enemy gets hold of the Management Center, our officers will be unable to receive relevant information on the City’s protection status, which will put all of us in danger.


Raspberry Pony is the best (and only) cantina on the Planet. It is frequented by leading politicians, scientists and influential people from all Cities. It is the venue of major decision making carefully supervised by Madam Dondon. Moreover, if you manage to compromise any of the scientists, you may get a step closer to opening the Time Portal. He, who owns the Cantina, owns the world.

Day 2

The Future (Summary of the Previous Episode)

By the middle of the XXIII century the once-powerful humankind regressed into a pitiful pinch of exhausted people. Affected by the genetic disaster and devastating war, the Earth was no longer a home but a battle for survival.

Those who were lucky enough to cover under airproof domes were engaged in ongoing battle for survival against the aggressive environment. They lived off “clean” food produced at several automated farms; and all of the people’s last efforts went to protect the farms.

But one time Lady Luck favored Living People. An archeological expedition found ancient records of Pavlov, PhD. In his records he mentioned the CirculiVitae project. People sent a group to search for the project materials, and it found access keys and even managed to get to the system management terminal. A device developed by a genius who used to lead secret Lab 1337 could break the time substance to bring a pinch of Living People back in time. Suffering huge losses, Living People activated Circuli Vitae and took a step into a grey tunnel of the Temporal Portal. A step for life.

The Present

The Group of Twelve. That was how the people in the know called Potato Corporation. In fact, it was an association of independent companies. Manufacturers of genetically-modified organisms decided to join forces with only one goal in mind: to promote transgenes. They established a single media holding and the Potato umbrella brand. The brand was meant to cover leading manufacturers of genetically modified organisms from around the world.

Even though they acted as if they were one but they actually had their issues and competed against each other. Potato companies constantly fought for markets, technologies and lead scientists. There were times when the latent competition evolved into outright conflicts. Corporate wars raged in the real world and in the cyberspace.

Former Greenpeace members founded PHD (Potato Haters Division), an extreme group, also known as Solanine or just the Green, undermined the authority of Potato top-managers. Headed by well-known hacker eV-D, the best hackers and soldiers attacked the corporation posting secret data on the Web and destroying genetic farms.

Having returned back to 2048, Living People integrated into the management of the Group of Twelve doing their best to stop the bulky Potato system on its way to the disaster. The disaster that will destroy the entire civilization.

Service description

Potato Plant

Being the world’s leading potato manufacturer, Potato uses advanced, know-how potato cleaning and processing techniques. It produces such well-known global potato brands as Ringlets, Happy Bubbles, Potato Fingers, and Luxury Delicacies. In order to ensure smooth production process, the plant utilizes a SCADA system — Potato Multifunctional Universal Treatment and Assortment Technological System (MUTANTS).

Your goal is to procure for safe and uninterrupted operation of MUTANTS. A minor fault in the system’s performance will stop the whole production process and result in major financial losses.

Research Laboratory

We employ advanced genetic engineering innovations so that you to could enjoy the most high-quality potatoes. Our scientists worked out a way to be able to store Potato products for 12 years (not that you will want to do that, because the company also made sure the potatoes were so delicious they would be usually devoured within 8 hours after hitting the racks). Currently our scientists are working to shape a potato into a user-friendly cube of 20x20x20 cm.

The Lab is a fundamental department of our company ensuring our competitive advantage and market leadership.

Pneumatic Mail

In order to quickly and safely exchange documents and potato samples the Potato company uses pneumatic mail. The Research Lab also takes advantage of pneumatic mail to interact and exchange knowledge with leading scientists from various institutes. It is essential to ensure uninterrupted operation of pneumatic mail so that the Lab receives relevant information on the latest genetic engineering developments, and its employees do not stage a strike failing to get hold of the latest issue of the Naked Genetics magazine.

Project Management System

Smooth operation of a hi-tech company like Potato calls for automated Project Management System. On a daily basis Potato’s conveyor belts process millions of potatoes, scientists at the Research Lab are working on dozens of projects at the same time and handle thousands of letters delivered via pneumatic mail, so a breakdown of the Project Management System would inevitably cause chaos and, subsequently, downfall of the entire company.


Potato’s annual turnover equals hundreds of thousand reaching millions of dollars in the year of plenty. No doubt, the President does not keep the money at his house (well, not all of the money) preferring the safety of a bank. Potato’s bank accounts must be highly secured. If any money is stolen from the Potato’s account, the company will go bankrupt resulting in lost jobs for thousands of Potato’s employee including you.

Media Holding

Sleepwalker Media Holding Inc., the world’s largest media holding, controls dozens of mass media outlets including Hypnotoad TV Channel, Lacklustre Voice radio station, and weekly newspapers Young and Sclerotic and Beer Belly. Despite the fact that SMH publications are mostly outstandingly boring and useless (except for the Hypnotoad Show, of course!), product placement generates enormous incomes for advertisers. There are scarce publications in the independent mass media arguing that the SMH’s success is due to mental effect on the audience (even including hypnosis). However, nobody can provide reliable evidence. The SMH owner has unlimited resources, that is why all international leaders (including Potato) are trying to gain control over the holding.