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Easter Eggs⚓︎

After 5 years I've made peace with the fact that it's near impossible to find all the Easter eggs and references hidden around the North Pole. It's simply amazing how many of these funny little treasures you can find once you start looking around for them. Things 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 the ones I came across.

Five Golden Rings⚓︎

Surprise! This year's event announcement continues the naming convention set by previous iterations. 2019 was titled KringleCon 2: Turtle Doves, in 2020 it was KringleCon 3: French Hens, and 2021 finally brought us KringleCon 4: Calling Birds. This time around we get KringleCon 5: Golden Rings which is a reference to the fifth 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
On the fifth day of Christmas My true love sent to me:
Five golden rings

The Lord of the Rings⚓︎

It starts the moment you arrive at the North Pole and Ninjula's Return of the Song of the Spire but with More Santa whisks you back to 2001 with a Christmassy version of Howard Shore's The Shire from The Lord of the Rings (LoTR). It doesn't stop there though. As you venture around the North Pole you'll be interacting with lots of characters and locations that have some reference to LoTR lore. From Sporcs and a Snowrog to NPC's named Grinchum, Smilegol, Rippin Proudboot, and Timpy Toque.

Name Reference Location
Flobbits Hobbits The friendly NPCs
Sporcs Orcs The less friendly NPCs from the Burning Ring of Fire
Snowrog Balrog Monster near Suricata Regatta
Rippin Proudboot Pippin + Mrs. Proudfoot NPC near Jolly CI/CD
Grinchum Grinch + Gollum NPC found at several locations across the map
Timpy Toque Pippin Took NPC in Santa's castle
Smilegol Smeagol NPC in Santa's castle
Samways Samwise Account name in the Prison Escape terminal
Hal Tandybuck Merry Brandybuck NPC near Open Boria Mine Door
Boria Mine Mines of Moria Location of Glamtariel's Fountain
Glamtariel Galadriel The princess in Glamtariel's Fountain
Rom Bambidil Tom Bombadil Easter egg in Glamtariel's Fountain

If there was any doubt about the overall theme of the event being The Lord of the Rings, some of the avatar images are a direct reference with filenames like smeagol.png, hobbit1.png, and orc1.png. Smilegol to Grinchum's transformation is also hinted at in two powershell.evtx.log entries in the Windows Event Logs objective.

diary.txt entries

Rom Bambidil⚓︎

While this is also a reference to The Lord of the Rings, it's worth noting separately as it's an Easter egg you need to explictly search for while solving Glamtariel's Fountain. When you leverage XML external entity injection to retrieve the green ring at /app/static/images/x_phial_pholder_2022/greenring.txt it will return an image with a reference to Tom Bombadil.

Rom Bambidil

Brozeek and Crozag⚓︎

Brozeek is a reference to the Zeek network security monitoring tool which was previously named Bro. Crozak on the other hand appears to be somekind of variation on Brozeek's name: Bro > Cro, zeek > zag.

Brozeek and Crozag

Bird references⚓︎

One of the canaries will respond with a reference to Tweety Bird's well known I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat line. The other will respond with a reference to Pintel's Hello poppet line from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Canary quotes


Anyone who's played SANS Holiday Hack Challenge a few times before knows Jason's always hidden somewhere in the game. This time he gets to play the role of a sleeping canary with some glorious plumage near the entrance of the Burning Ring of Fire! While it seems like a step up from his flush handle cameo from the year prior, they actually kept the toilet flush sounds!



Another reference, similar to Jason, is Dimitri. This year he's a hat which can be found in one of the treasure chests.


Boaty McBoatFace⚓︎

The asset name for the boat in Elfen Ring is Boaty McBoatface! 😄


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.



Bored Ape Yacht Club⚓︎

The Bored Sporc Rowboard Society (BSRS) is a direct reference to the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). The website logo, the wording, the clubhouse image, and the overall styling of banners and buttons all match up almost perfectly with the BAYC website.

Bored Sporc Rowboard Society

The cherry on the cake is probably the footnote about the clubhouse though! 😂

BSRS website footnote

*This is an artist's rendering of the clubhouse we're considering building if we end up, like, rollin' in it after this NFT thing takes off. This does not represent the actual clubhouse which right now is kinda just, like, the bottom level of my parent's cave. I moved home about ten years ago, after I got, like, laid-off from my job working Sporc Squad for Beast Buy. My boss, Chordclak, was a total lamer... Anyway, that picture isn't the real clubhouse. My old girlfriend, Glanchorf, she drew that. I always told her that she should go to art school and stuff because, like, she was really talented and all, but she just kept working at Burgher King and eventually she dumped me for that lamer Chordclak. I kept the picture though, and decided to use it on this site.

And just in case you're reading this Chordclak, I'm gonna be rich and you suck.

The Discworld⚓︎

If you walk along the left side to the back of Santa's castle, you'll 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. If you've forgotten the key to your KringleCoin (KC) wallet, you can use the terminal in this area to call Santa who will help you recover it.

Shenanigans area

Literal beanie hats⚓︎

You can buy literal beanie hats from the hat vending machine. Like, hats made out of actual coffee beans! 😄

Literal beanie hats

You are awesome!⚓︎

Last, but not least, the background image to the underground tunnels contains a special message of support to everyone who decides to spend some time at the North Pole, helping Santa solve all these challenges. You are awesome!

You are awesome!