UIUCTF OSINT Writeups Part 1

3 min readJul 7, 2023


This was my second ever CTF that I participated in and it was my first time attempting any form of OSINT.I had great fun and i managed to get all but the last challenge during the event.

Challenge 1: Finding Artifacts 1 (370 solves)

Challenge Description: David is on a trip to collect and document some of the world’s greatest artifacts. He is looking for a coveted bronze statue of the “Excellent One” in New York City. What museum is this located at? The flag format is the location name in lowercase, separated by underscores.

Hint 0:The first two characters of the statue begin with “ma”

Hint 1:It is very prevalent in southern Asia

Based on the given information from the hints and description we can infer that we are looking for the statue of Mahakala a deity known as the god of time.

A google search for “mahakala statue New York City” reveals 2 searches from The Metroploitan Museum of Art and the Rubin Museum of Art.Trying both of these we found the answer to be the Rubin Museum with a flag in the format of uiuctf{rubin_museum_of_art}.

Challenge 2: Finding Artifacts 2 (389 solves)

Challenge Description:New York City is known for its sprawling subway system. However, none of that would have been possible without modern earth-moving equipment. Find where the first ever shovel was used to start digging the subway. Flag format should be in uiuctf{name_of_museum}.

Hint 0:

well known for their baby blue colorings.

This challenge was easier than the previous one and the answer could be found from a single google search.Searching for “new york first shovel to dig metro” reveals some news articles however very close to the top is a museum collection for a shovel from the museum of the city of New York, definitely worth a look.

Trying a flag of uiuctf{museum_of_the_city_of_new_york} gives us our correct answer!

Challenge 3: Whats for dinner?(287 solves)

Challenge Description:Jonah Explorer, world renowned, recently landed in the city of Chicago, so you fly there to try and catch him. He was spotted at a joyful Italian restaurant in West Loop. You miss him narrowly but find out that he uses a well known social network and and loves documenting his travels and reviewing his food. Find his online profile.

Hint 0:what does joy translate to?

So the first thing I tried to do for this challenge was find out the name of the restaurant, based on the hint I translated joy to Italian and got “Gioia”.A quick search for “Gioia restaurant Chicago” reveals the restaurant we are looking for.I checked the google reviews for the restaurant but I couldn’t find anything from Jonah.I decided to check yelp reviews next as this is a popular platform for restaurant reviews.Upon searching we find a review from jonah.

Navigating to his twitter reveals his flag.