Skip to content

Easter Eggs⚓︎

Every year my plan is to find all the Easter eggs and every year I fail miserably. It's simply amazing how many things you can find once you start looking around for them, like movie references, jokes, nods to popular culture, memes, secret areas, references to past Holiday Hack Challenge, and funny WebSocket response messages. Below, in no particular order, are just a few.

Four Calling Birds⚓︎

Probably to no one's surprise, this year's event announcement continues the KringleCon title trend set by previous iterations. 2019 was named KringleCon 2: Turtle Doves, in 2020 it was KringleCon 3: French Hens, and this time around we get KringleCon 4: Calling Birds which is a reference to the fourth verse from the Twelve Days of Christmas carol.

The Twelve Days Of Christmas

On the second day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Two turtle doves
On the third day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Three french hens
On the forth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me:
Four calling birds

The Third Kind⚓︎

The big reveal at this year's event is of course the spaceship on the roof of Frost Tower. The Third Kind map destination, the Speak & Spell music, and the sound the spaceship makes as it lands are of course direct references to Spielberg's movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It seemed only fitting to make this year's write-up poster a reference to that movie as well.

Klatu Barada Nikto!⚓︎

There's a second science-fiction movie reference when you first talk to Numby Chilblain on the Frost Tower rooftop and he says "Klatu Barada Nikto!". This is a nod to the 1951 movie The Day the Earth Stood Still.

The Discworld⚓︎

If you ride the Santavator or Frostavator to a floor that does not exist you end up in an area named __Shenanigans__. The room's backdrop is an image of the Discworld, a fictional setting for all of Terry Pratchett's Discworld fantasy novels. How to get here is explained as part of the Frostavator terminal write-up.

Shenanigans area

Those darn interns!⚓︎

Using to retrieve /var/www/html/index.html from the Now Hiring! challenge reveals a reference to the SolarWinds supply chain attack, where an intern was blamed for the insecure solarwinds123 password.

polarwinds passwords

Carmen Sandiego⚓︎

The second challenge is a reference to the 1985 video game Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.

Carmen Sandiego

Jason... the flush handle⚓︎

Anyone who's played SANS Holiday Hack Challenge a few times before know he's always hidden somewhere in the game. This time around poor Jason gets assigned the not so glamorous role of toilet flush handle. At least it's a golden one.


There's also some whimsicalness going on with some of the image assets in Jack's restroom. First, the asset name for the toilet image is terrrlet.png which, according to Urban Dictionary, is how some people pronounce toilet. Secondly, the back, left, and right walls are covered by transparent image overlays containing an assortment of signatures.

Rihanna's umbrella⚓︎

Another funny asset name can be found as part of the satellite dish contraption that Crunchy Squishter created to communicate with the Frostians. The asset name of the umbrella, ellaellaeheheh.png, is a reference to the song Umbrella by Rihanna.


Printer queue document⚓︎

One of the PDF documents in the printer queue is a reference to How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

Printer queue

Painting peephole⚓︎

Last year's painting has been replaced, leaving a discolored outline on the wall. The peephole eyes are still present though!


Castle artwork⚓︎

It looks like last year's artwork, which is cut from a single image, is still hanging on the walls in Santa's castle. If you download all the textures from{1-39}.png, you can recreate this painting of Jack Frost.

Artwork puzzle

Ille te videt dum dormit⚓︎

The phrase Ille te videt dum dormit on the ElfU logo is Latin and translates to he sees you while you're sleeping.

ElfU logo

Web socket messages⚓︎

The WebSocket at wss:// is a lot of fun to play around with. The WS_OHHIMARK and DENNIS_NEDRY response message types are references to the movies The Room and Jurassic Park, respectively.



Stolen KringleCon talks⚓︎

Pat Tronizer

I'm SO glad to have all these first-rate talks here.
We issued a Call for Talks, but only one person responded… We put him in track 1.
But Jack came up with an ingenious way to borrow additional talks for FrostFest! You can hardly tell where we got these great speakers!

Jack Frost put absolutely 0 effort in creating original content which is pretty apparent when you put the KringleCon 4 and FrostFest speaker agendas side by side. The best part though is the camcorder overlay which was added to all the KringleCon talks.

Stolen content Ed's talk

Portrait painting⚓︎

The portrait painting in Jack's studio was a key plot item in last year's events. It features Ed Skoudis as Santa Claus and was painted by Ed's daughter Jessica Skoudis. The initials on the portrait not only refer to Jack Frost: Santa, as per the narrative, but are in fact Jessica's initials. The items on the desk are references to past Holiday Hack Challenges.

Santa portrait items

Item Holiday Hack Challenge
1 Challenge coin First introduced as an award in HHC 2019
2 Tardis Seen on the dorm wall in HHC 2019
3 Cranberry Pi First appeared in HHC 2018
4 Gnome legs Also created by Jessica Skoudis and featured in HHC 2015
5 Enigma machine Seen in an image for HHC 2012