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  • Working on the message in the Insert

    Has anyone worked on the messages in the insert? I have a theory about the second longer one but haven't found a way to prove it or do anything with the theory.

  • #2
    I am looking at the shorter one. The skull has clues, as there seems to be a word in the mouth "Lepo"(?), the nose is a "spade" and there appears to be an 'A' on the forehead. What this all means yet, I am not sure. The ciphertext is throwing me off, as usually it is all lowercase and uppercase. So I am looking for ciphertext that is both. It is definitely not base64.

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    • abaranov
      abaranov commented
      Editing a comment
      C:\TOOLS\UNDELETE.EXE TEESHO~1.TX_

    • TeeShot
      TeeShot commented
      Editing a comment
      What does that mean?

    • mazerlodge
      mazerlodge commented
      Editing a comment
      The Undelete command, DOS files with last character of the suffix changed to an underbar ( _ ). Good times, thanks for that!

  • #3
    Let others play without spoilers....yet...
    Last edited by LosT; 5 days ago. Reason: Game spoilers

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    • #4
      Solved the first message; now working on the second. I believe it is a Vigenere cipher because there is some periodicity to the message. For example letters xb, xy, rr, and some others repeat. the blocks with i at the beginning and k at the end are always separated by two letters. The distance between Xb and xb is position 129 - 1 = 128 and factors of 128 are 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64. those could be possible key lengths. My scientific wild ass guess is we wouldn't use a small key so 2, and 4 may be unlikely. 16 and 32 may be good candidates. I noticed that the block is arranged where there are 32 characters per line except for the last line so 32 would make the xb character distances line up...

      But now I'm out of ideas on where or what to try next. Any ideas or clues to try?

      Comment


      • b_hackin
        b_hackin commented
        Editing a comment
        those are also the values of bit positions within an IPv4 octet; 32 characters is the number of hexadecimal values in a 128 bit IPv6 address.

      • mazerlodge
        mazerlodge commented
        Editing a comment
        With a vigener going after the key can be a shorter attack. Maybe one of the other codes leads to it as all things seem connected in a twisted Dirk Gently holistic way.

    • #5
      I posted this cursory analysis of the locations and quantities of letters within the insert text in the lanyard challenge a few days ago -- glad there's this thread now! I didn't glean much from it myself, but perhaps it will save someone else the trouble. Unfortunately couldn't upload an .xlsx or .csv, so .pdf it is...
      Attached Files

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      • #6
        Really enjoying the way the track listing for side A spells a message. Nicely done.

        Comment


        • LosT
          LosT commented
          Editing a comment
          No idea what you are talking about ;)

        • d@em0n
          d@em0n commented
          Editing a comment
          That sums up my puzzle solving; having so much fun with this badge that I lose all track of time.

      • #7
        Who is GT?

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        • #8
          I'm aware that the color coded message blocks on the insert are one of the easier things to decipher, but as far as I can tell there are two colors not represented anywhere in the two character strings. Does anyone know if there is enough information on the insert to determine what these two colors are?

          Comment


          • robe1221
            robe1221 commented
            Editing a comment
            There is enough information. I am trying not to spoil it for you, but take a look at the colors and what they translate to, there might be a pattern.

          • TeeShot
            TeeShot commented
            Editing a comment
            I think I got the block color strips. Is there a way to speak privately with someone to compare answers?

        • #9
          Yesterday's impossible... :)

          Comment


          • #10
            I think I have come up with a strategy to solve the second message in the insert. In my last post I posited that its a Vigenere cipher based on some periodicity and that the key lengths could be 8, 16, or 32. I find it coincidental that the message is arranged with 32 characters per line except for the last line:
            Click image for larger version

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            The last line has six characters; I think the XX is just padding to keep the message blocks in multiples of 4. A Vigenere cipher is just a bunch of Caesar shift ciphers where each column is enciphered with a different alphabet. If our key is say, 16 or 32 characters, then our key is likely to be a phrase. If the key was shorter or a repeated word, I would expect to see lots of repeated characters and not just repeated bigrams, but I would expect more trigram and other n-gram repeats. So my strategy is to take mazerlodge's suggestion and try to back out a key. If we take each block of 4 characters in the message above and make tables of all possible decipherments from the Vigenere table -- for example -- Xbaw:
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            If our key is a famous quote or sentence, then I would try words that commonly start sentences such as "the", "there", "some", "same", "once", etc. See if any of those turn "Xbaw" into an English word. Then I would try to guess the next letters in the key and see if we can decipher the second set, "maek":
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            If the key is a famous phrase, then hopefully after a few iterations I would have enough of it to guess the rest of the key and then crack this thing.

            The following may be a spoiler so don't read below if you want to try this on your own. I am not sure if I am on the right track, but here goes:

            Using the Xbaw table above: I tried keys starting with "the", "there", "some", "once", ... all produced garbage for the decipherment of "Xbaw". When I tried words starting with "no", as in "nowhere", or "nobody", the "no" part gave me "kn" for "Xb". The only word I can think of off the top of my head is "know". If that is the case then:

            Key: N O M A
            ------------------
            -------K n o w

            So column N, O, M, A in that order will decipher the first word as "Know". So a possible key candidate so far is "NOMA"; but NOMA-what? NOMAD, NOMAN as in "No man is an island"? So the trick is to see if the table for "maek" would have column letter candidates to keep building the key into some popular phrase. If we generate tables for "wzme", "pgty", in the same manner as our first two tables, then hopefully after a few such tables we might build a key string with enough words that we could guess the rest.

            Anyway, that is my plan. Feel free to help out; then we can see if my idea crashes and burns or bears fruit :)

            Comment


            • G00DN3WS
              G00DN3WS commented
              Editing a comment
              There are ways to determine the period of a Vigenere sequence with only the ciphertext :)

            • xchg
              xchg commented
              Editing a comment
              XX does produce 2 chars. Though not like the plaintext message before, either way you can ignore the XX as when you solve the key it naturally decodes.

          • #11
            Interesting approach d@emon. I was actually thinking much simpler. Vigenere ciphers require the exchanging parties either already know a shared key or have a way to obtain the required key when needed, the latter approach providing even greater security.

            Simply put, I was thinking the key for message two would be provided somewhere, or at least a path to the key would be provided.

            Your analysis pointing to a phrase (opposed to a word) seems very accurate. Key phrases as opposed to words are the norm for everything these days, even for ever increasingly misnamed 'passwords'. Not sure I'm on board with your theory about the limits of a key being exactly 8, 16, or 32, or any other 'word boundary'. Seems a bit constraining. After all, the quote on the cassette laments constraints. Could just be a coincidence.


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            • d@em0n
              d@em0n commented
              Editing a comment
              Good suggestion. But I tried several variations and none worked.

            • d@em0n
              d@em0n commented
              Editing a comment
              I’ve been scouring the insert and I’ve been listening to the cassette. Seeing is a key is buried in there somewhere. No luck so far.

            • d@em0n
              d@em0n commented
              Editing a comment
              So someone in another thread suggested listening to the tape in an oscilloscope. So I did and I think it has a clue to find the key for the Vigenere; I don't own an oscilloscope so I used this one: https://dood.al/oscilloscope/ and downloaded Side A from the media server: https://media.defcon.org/DEF%20CON%2...0Mode%20Badge/.
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