Reverse engineering CryptoPanic REST API

Reverse engineering CryptoPanic REST API

Dig into JS bundle to find useful stuff

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CryptoPanic is a news aggregator website for trending news based on social sentiment. It's a good website for keeping up to date on the latest news, as well as using it as a trading signal.

Its compact layout reminds me of hacker news. I was looking through the network requests and got intrigued after finding out that the main data is not in plaintext:

Posts request encrypted data

The server sends some sort of encoded data, and the client decodes it. After digging around the js bundle, I manage to recover the plaintext data that is displayed on the website.

Note: This post is for educational purposes only.

The reverse engineering process

1. Open the js bundle

The first thing is to find out which part of the javascript code is responsible for decoding this response. Begin by searching for and opening the js bundle cryptopanic.min.xxxxx.js.

Chrome consoel js bundle

2. Locate the part of the code that decodes the data

Searching for "decrypt" immediately zooms in on this function called dc that does the core work of decoding the data.

dk() returns the encryption key, together with parameter t which is used as the Initialization Vector(IV), are passed through the AES algorithm with zero padding.

wordArrayToByteArray converts the decrypted response into a byte array, and pako.default.inflate decompresses the data, and converts them into javascript's utf-16.

Decrypt and inflate

After this step, the result is a JSON string of the API response. The JSON version looks like this:

Posts raw data

3. Transform the raw response into a usable array of objects

The last step is to transform the raw JSON into an array of objects so that it is easy to work with.

Posts normalized data

Revisiting the arguments passed to dc earlier, the first argument t(IV) is the first 16 characters of the module and some string or the CSRF token.

For posts API, t is news and n is empty.

Decoding posts caller

For dashboard API, t is also news while n is rnlistrnlistrnlistrnlist.

Decoding dashboard caller

4. The final output

This is the final output of the posts and dashboard response after decrypting, decompressing and normalizing.

Posts normalized

Dashboard normalized

Cryptopanic home page highlighted

Try it out yourself

Here is a gist that you can use to try decoding the response yourself.

How to use


  2. Install the dependencies: npm install dotenv pako crypto-js

  3. Run node decrypt.js [post|dashboard]

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