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AI generated image

This image does not show me. But it captures the mood very well.


I am thrilled to announce that I have completed the Holiday Hack Challenge and hereby submit my solution.

It was an incredible experience, full of excitement, challenges, and learning opportunities. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this event and showcase my skills.

The challenge was designed to test our creativity, ingenuity, and perseverance. It required us to think outside the box, collaborate with others, and push ourselves to the limit. But most importantly, it reminded us that anything is possible if we set our hearts to it.

Solving the challenges was like a unicorn galloping through a rainbow, a magical journey that took me to the farthest corners of my imagination. It was like a symphony of colors, sounds, and emotions, a masterpiece that captured the essence of the challenge.

I poured my heart and soul into my submission, like a wizard casting a spell, a poet weaving a sonnet, or a painter creating a masterpiece. It was a testament to my creativity, my passion, and my love for the art of cybersecurity.

I would like to thank the organizers of the Holiday Hack Challenge for creating such a wonderful event. I would also like to thank my fellow participants for their support, encouragement, and inspiration. Together, we have shown the world what we are capable of.

So let’s raise our wands, our pens, our brushes, and our keyboards, and celebrate this moment of triumph. Let’s remember that anything is possible if we set our hearts to it, that we are the masters of our destiny, and that we can achieve greatness if we dare to dream

Warning! AI generated content above

Prompts to Bing Chat running ChapGPT:

   Please write the introduction part of my holiday hack challenge submission
   This should be addressed from me to a general audience
   Make it more whimsical, please

Guess it went over the top by some planks. Nevertheless, I will let it stand as a showing an AI result for which I could never dream of finding the words. Nor will I ever have the sheer audacity to write those lines.

On the plus side, marking this as "AI generated" adds some much welcome distance and deniablity between me and the words...

Except, of course, for the thanks to the organizers and co-players. This would be even more colorful if I had command of such phrases.

Please enjoy reading how I struggled with the many challenges on the six Geese Islands. For some, I had the joy of letting the computer do the work for me. This resulted in some special-purpose scripts:

I very much enjoyed the tropical settings; makes enduring the local cold and rain much easier than a snowy North Pole!

The fishes alone were a feast for the eyes!

Some peculiarities that might count as Easter Eggs caught my attention. I'll exclude "The Twelve Days of Christmas" that gave us the mottos for past HHCs, as this is by know common knowledge.

My special thanks goes to Thomas Bouve for suggesting using "mkdocs" for the write-up, and his template.

See my suggestion for increased comfort (or, less euphonic, laziness) in Hacking the Write-up.

Most kind regards,


Navigation tip

Even with less than 50 pages, there's still quite a bit of information to read through. To make things a little easier, you can use P or , to go to the previous section, N or . to navigate to the next section, and S, F, or / to open up the search dialog.

TL;DR if you keep pressing N or . from this point forward, you'll hit all the content in the right order! 😄


1 Holiday Hack Orientation -


2 Snowball Fight -


3 Linux 101 -

kill 4602.

5 Azure 101 -


7 Linux PrivEsc -

simplecopy /etc/shadow.

8 Faster Lock Combination -


9 Game Cartridges: Vol 1 -


10 Game Cartridges: Vol 2 -


11 Game Cartridges: Vol 3 -


12 Na'an -


13 KQL Kraken Hunt -

Beware the Cube that Wombles.

15 Hashcat -


16 Elf Hunt -


17 Certificate SSHenanigans -


18 The Captain's Comms -

10426 Hz, 1224, 1200

21 Camera Access -


23 BONUS! Fishing Guide -

Catching 20 species of fish was a well-deserved relaxation.

24 BONUS! Fishing Mastery -

171 species of fish, including the rare "Piscis Cyberneticus Skodo"



Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a yuletide trip
That started from a tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship
Santa and his helpful elves
To Geese Islands did go
Continuing their merry work
O'er sand instead of snow
New this year: a shiny tool
The elves logged in with glee
What makes short work of many tasks?
It's ChatNPT. It's ChatNPT
From images to APIs
This AI made elves glad
But motivations were unknown
So was it good or bad?
Could it be that NPT
Was not from off-the-shelf?
Though we'll forgive and trust again
We'd found a naughty elf
This fancy AI tool of ours
With all our work remained
Not good or bad, our online friend
Just did as it was trained
Surely someone's taint must be
Upon our AI crutch
Yes indeed, this bold new world
Bore Jack Frost's icy touch
Though all's returned to steady state
There's one thing that we know
We'll all be needed once again
When Santa's back on snow


Seven Swans⚓︎

Looking forward to next season's challenge!

Will we have the great privilege to meet "seven swans a-swimming"?


AI-Generated image

Prompt to "Microsoft Image Creator" running DALL-E:

seven swans a-swimming, steampunk style, in a snowy lake with icicles and frosty wind

Now, apart from the head count...