The program asks for a "Alien ID":

$ ./authenticator
Authentication System 👽
Please enter your credentials to continue.
Alien ID: test
Access Denied!

Looking into the file we see its not stripped:

$ file authenticator
authenticator: ELF 64-bit LSB shared object, x86-64, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked, interpreter /lib64/, for GNU/Linux 3.2.0, BuildID[sha1]=66286657ca5a06147189b419238b2971b11c72db, not stripped

We can get a lot of useful information from the binary, like function names. Lets try a couple "low-hanging fruit" of reversing (string, ltrace, strace).

ltrace gives us the alien id, 11337:

strcmp("test\n", "11337\n")

With the correct id, it now prompts for the pin. string,ltrace,strace doesn't help.

Opening it up in Ghidra, found the checkpin function:

undefined8 checkpin(char *param_1)
size_t sVar1;
int local_24;
local_24 = 0;
while( true ) {
sVar1 = strlen(param_1);
if (sVar1 - 1 <= (ulong)(long)local_24) {
return 0;
if ((byte)("}a:Vh|}a:g}8j=}89gV<p<}:dV8<Vg9}V<9V<:j|{:"[local_24] ^ 9U) != param_1[local_24])
local_24 = local_24 + 1;
return 1;

Clean up a little:

undefined8 checkpin(char *pin)
size_t pin_len;
int i;
i = 0;
while( true ) {
pin_len = strlen(pin);
if (pin_len - 1 <= (ulong)(long)i) {
return 0;
if ((byte)("}a:Vh|}a:g}8j=}89gV<p<}:dV8<Vg9}V<9V<:j|{:"[i] ^ 9U) != pin[i]) break;
i = i + 1;
return 1;

Looks like the function tests the inputed pin by XORing character by character to 9, and comparing it to the its relative character in }a:Vh|}a:g}8j=}89gV<p<}:dV8<Vg9}V<9V<:j|{:

Simple Python script to decode it:

s = '}a:Vh|}a:g}8j=}89gV<p<}:dV8<Vg9}V<9V<:j|{:'
[print(chr(ord(i) ^ 9), end='') for i in s]

and we get the pin: th3_auth3nt1c4t10n_5y5t3m_15_n0t_50_53cur3, which is also the flag: CHTB{th3_auth3nt1c4t10n_5y5t3m_15_n0t_50_53cur3}.