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Niantic History Special: The Cassandra Anomalies Part Three

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in Anomaly, Stories | 0 comments

Good afternoon, Agents and Investigators! My name is Mustafa Said and welcome back to the Niantic History coverage of the Cassandra Anomalies.

So let’s begin with the Anomalies that struck Manila, The Philippines on August 18th, 2013.

When Measurement One hit, here’s what the scores looked like:

Cassandra Manila Part One


And as Measurement Two approached, The Resistance kept their foothold on the Anomaly

Cassandra Manila Part Two
Finally, at Measurement Three it was the Resistance who claimed Manila:

Cassandra Manila End



I had the opportunity to interview Joanne Ranada, Resistance Agent @TheUnicorn in scanner, about her experiences during the Anomaly with some of her friends:

Cassandra Profile Pic



When you discovered that your area was getting an anomaly, how did your faction plan for it?


ArginusPrime: We created a temporary community where the plans were discussed and updates were posted. We planned for both the movements of the ground agents in the Clusters (which we further divided into Sectors) and the mega field to enclose the Clusters too.


Whizzard: The plan was that we could field within the clusters prior to the checkpoint, bring up the huge field over the entire area, then use a Jarvis virus to take it down so our field agents could field within clusters again, rinse and repeat.


jeprox: We chilled….drank beer most of the time.


Sparkrush:  We had the right keys at the right time. And countless farming nights followed by strategy-planning and beer.


Stryderr: Month-long farming and weekly meetings.


Eugene: Strategies discussed online then face to face meetings. Parking locations were also important.


TheUnicorn: All agents gathered every night each week and farmed, farmed, farmed.


cydoki: We sent out a notice through our community at G+ looking for volunteers and requested Area Leads, to spread the news through their Hangout. Good thing we got a lot of volunteers, so agent wise it wasn’t a problem. And also, farm, farm, farm. Everyday, every time we thought of farming we got out and built farms.


paraluman: Bagnet (a local delicacy). Beer. French fries. Beer. And sleepless nights of farming.

At what point did you feel like the ENL could gain the upper hand?


ArginusPrime: When the Resistance mega field was taken down minutes after the first checkpoint and replaced with a bigger Enlightened control field. I was in the Batangas vertex of the mega field and was recharging my phone inside the tourism office building when the field went down and it started to rain heavily. I was like: “I have a bad feeling about this”. Headed back to Manila through the storm when the team has confirmed that we do not have Agents to mobilize to neutralize the Enlightened mega field.


Whizzard: The Enlightened mega field put that plan into a screeching halt.


jeprox: About 60% of the time…all the time…..


Stryderr: Initially, the field we made blocked their plans so they had to do something about it. But we were more determined and organized.


Sparkrush:  I was assigned to create a covering field over area. Relaxed a bit when that went up but then got destroyed in the 1st 5 minutes of the hour and the suddenly the green field went up. Fortunately, our field was counted for the 1st measurement so that gave us an edge already.


Eugene: Personally felt we already  had a solid hold on the anomaly.


TheUnicorn: When they destroyed our megafield.  But we were concentrated on the portal clusters to even worry about that.  We had more than enough ground agents to give the faction leverage.


cydoki: When the green megafield went up, we were thinking, that’s 50 points right there. But looking at the number of ground agents they had at the site at that time, we just focused on getting all the volatiles and capturing as many of the portals we can. We had more ground agents anyway.


paraluman: Existence of spoofers.. but I strongly believed in the intelligence of the masterminds of our faction. I didn’t have the slightest doubt about what factionmates can do to win the anomaly. Our awesomeness were very evident from planning to execution.


What are your overall thoughts that you took away from the anomaly?


ArginusPrime:Bring as many power banks as you can when traveling outside Manila. You’re bringing 10? Bring some more! The low reception signal puts stress on the phone to use more battery power.


Whizzard: It was a lot of fun! some people from both sides take this game way too seriously and it was nice for the majority of us to hang out, cooperate towards a common goal and just have fun. i think some agents forget to have fun, which is what any game is all about, if you think about it


jeprox: Wet.


Stryderr: Heart, dedication and irreplaceable memories. I guess the most important thing is that you always have fun and believe in your teammates. That helps  you overcome any obstacle.


Sparkrush: Clear comm lines and an easy-to-execute strategy are essential for smooth transition between combat stances.


Eugene: Numbers matter. Excelling in inviting friends, developing newbies into leaders, and maintaining an enjoyable playing environment for your faction is crucial


TheUnicorn: We were in the middle of a storm that day but everyone showed up. I think it was the bond of friendship, cooperation, support and most of all, preparation that made a big difference.


cydoki: I was happy. Never before did so many resistance agents gather in one place. And it was a lot of fun, running all over the place capturing portals left and right.


paraluman:Cling wraps.

What do you think Cassandra was about?


ArginusPrime:Operation Cassandra was an attempt to save Cassandra from certain death. She still died in the end though. X( At its time, it was the biggest Ingress event too where an XM Anomaly was done on a global scale so it’s also about getting the whole world collaborate to achieve an objective.


Whizzard: I actually have no idea. Who is this Cassandra person anyway?


jeprox: No idea.  Who was Cassandra?


Stryderr: I dont know who or what Cassandra is all about.


Eugene: Story-wise, it was about the character Cassandra right? Gameplay-wise, it was an opportunity for teammates to work together in another level, and for a unique objective


TheUnicorn: There was a Cassandra character in the storyline but it was a very minor role.  Then the objective of controlling global power centers, I think, was one of the ways for which Niantic would be able to see and study the impact of global anomaly participation (this was the first anomaly here in Manila).


cydoki: Not really sure.


paraluman: Glyphs, Jarvis’ plans, death of (who’s that woman again?), way to 13Magnus



Operation #Cassandra then moved to Paris, France on August 20th, 2013: 

When Measurement One struck, The Enlightened took the lead:

Cassandra Paris Part One

And as Measurement Two rolled in, The Enlightened kept control:

Cassandra Paris Part Two

And as the final Measurement came in, the Enlightened had succeeded in claiming the city:

Cassandra Paris End

Now the Anomaly moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil. The date: August 21st, 2013:

Measurement One looked like this:

Cassandra Sao Paulo Part One


And Measurement Two continued the trend:

Cassandra Sao Paulo Part Two PNG


And finaly, the last measurement showed who managed to come out on top:

Cassandra Sao Paulo End


And finally, the last Anomaly before the big finale was staged in Hong Kong, China, on August 22nd, 2013: 

Measurement One showed a surge from the Resistance as they claimed the measurement:

Cassandra Hong Kong Part One

And Measurement Two was no different:

Cassandra Hong Kong Part Two

And finally, the Resistance managed to pull a victory in the end:

Cassandra Hong Kong End


I had the chance to interview Hilda Leung, Resistance Agent @halette in scanner and one of the leader of the Hong Kong Resistance who fought in the Anomaly: 

Mustafa: First question, When you discovered that your area was getting an anomaly, how did your faction plan for it?

Hilda: We started out gathering troops and intelligence. From there, we pictured all sorts of scenarios and formulated our overall strategy.

Mustafa: My second is, At what point did you feel like the ENL could gain the upper hand?

Hilda: I was on the ground when an EN CF covered the entire Hong Kong during measurement 1. All I could tell my team was to focus on the portals within our reach and do our part.

Mustafa: What are your overall thoughts that you took away from the anomaly?

Hilda: Together we can achieve great things. Running around the city with hundreds of strangers could be more fun and less crazy than it sounds :D

Mustafa: What do you think Cassandra was about?

Hilda: To the storyline it was probably just a prelude. To me it was a test on how strong our community was — and we had what it takes to win: individual commitment, transparent leadership and thorough planning. To Niantic it was a fruitful capacity test — they successfully stressed out and broke the servers at measurement 2.


I also interviewed Wyman Wong, Resistance Agent @BlackAgentX in scanner and Investigator over at Operation Essex, as well:

Mustafa: First question, When you discovered that your area was getting an anomaly, how did your faction plan for it?

Wyman:  I remembered when we received that our city will be an anomaly site, we started to plan for it for the anomaly. Since the time we have is just a month, we have planned to have CF team which will create a CF covers the entire cluster, Intel team for monitoring the Intel map and also ground teams with different roles. Also, we have organized some pre-ops team which turn the portals inside the cluster blue before measurement. Although the time is so tight for us to plan and even we have meetings overnight, but it was fun and had a good result.

Mustafa: Second question,  At what point did you feel like the ENL could gain the upper hand?

Wyman: At the first measurement, an ENL field has covered the entire cluster over Hong Kong, we are so worried about the field will last until the end of the anomaly because they contributed with other cities agent for the field. But luckily there were RES agents just next to the portal so we can clear it and even we link back a big blue field to cover back the whole cluster.

Mustafa: Third question,  What are your overall thoughts that you took away from the anomaly?

Mustafa: Anomalies are focused on teamwork and participation. Anything that happens in the anomaly needs teamwork. For me, teamwork is the key leading us to win in game, and even in our career or study.

Mustafa: Final question, what do you think Cassandra was about?

Wyman: For me, Cassandra was about shaper glyphs, and XM. At that time, Shapers and Jarvis are discovered in portals and want to control the human using glyphs and it was dangerous for humans if the glyphs are in some sequence.  For XM, although XM can somehow affect human beings but I think XM is not really that dangerous for us to discover XM and even using it in our daily life.



#Cassandra is about to end….


Tune into DeCode Ingress to find out what happened next in Niantic History!

This Week in Niantic History, August 18th-22nd, 2014

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in Stories | 0 comments

Good afternoon, Agents and Investigators! My name is Mustafa Said and welcome back, as always, to This Week in Niantic History!

So let’s begin with what was revealed on August 18th, 2013: 


These six audio files are known as the Jarvis Manifesto, released via Portal Hacks the weekend before this day. This message from Jarvis tells us quite a bit about what the Enlightened are fighting for in #Cassandra. I left my thoughts on this matter on Operation Essex here:

On August 19th, 2013, another document surfaced on the Investigator Board:


It was a conversation between +H. Richard Loeb and Carrie Campbell. The topic: #Cassandra. 

While Richard was obviously worried about the state of the situation, Carrie seemed to have a plan in motion to stop whatever was coming…..

On August 20th, 2013, another document surfaced:

It was a psychological profile of Susanna Moyer, the host of the Ingress Report. It was conducted by IQTech Research.

The mystery of who Susanna really was began to grow and this document only helped to fuel the fire…..

On August 21st, 2013, a video surfaced:

Passcode Decoding Walkthrough #011.2 More (Formerly) Live Codes & Verum Inveniri Solutions + Vigenere Cipher

Posted by on Aug 21, 2014 in Code Breaking 101 | 0 comments

Today we’re going to be exploring the image in the post that Verum Inveniri made after agents compiled the nominus dead drops.

If you’re just here for the passcodes, here they are:


The passcodes above are no longer valid. We are investigating.

There are three codes to solve in the image and we’ll highlight them in the image. We adjusted the brightness/contrast to reveal 2 and 3.


The passcodes are in the following format:


Code 1 (3/5 difficulty)


==--  ~        ---   +
  =- := :=--+ - -  -.
   =- -    ++ + ~ ==
    =-:=   ;= -  =
     - -    = +- ~
     ~==    ~=+;-
      - =    ?-=
       +=  -?'+
       -= =" -+
       -?-~  --
       ~-   --

The technique to solve this one wasn’t covered in the previous post but it was covered in one of our previous tutorials: Binary.

The spaces will be ignored and we’ll use only the symbols for the solve.


The length of the string is 80 characters which is divisible by 8 and is a candidate for binary conversion.
As mentioned in the Binary tutorial, we’ll need to figure out which characters represent 0 and which represent 1.

These are the unique characters that make up the string:


Carefully looking at these characters, some of these are written out with 1 stroke and the others are 2.

1 stroke


2 strokes


Trial and error with deciding which one is 0 and 1:

binary: 00111111001000011011110110001000100001011001110010001100100010101000101011111111
ASCII: ?!½ˆ…œŒŠŠÿ
hex: 3f 21 bd 88 85 9c 8c 8a 8a ff
decimal: 063 033 189 136 133 156 140 138 138 255
binary: 11000000110111100100001001110111011110100110001101110011011101010111010100000000
ASCII: ÀÞBwzcsuu
hex: c0 de 42 77 7a 63 73 75 75 00
decimal: 192 222 066 119 122 099 115 117 117 000

Neither of the two give us anything useful though an interesting result came from the second blok of information: c0de (code) is spelled out for us, let’s assume that’s the keyword.

binary: 0100001001110111011110100110001101110011011101010111010100000000
ASCII: Bwzcsuu
hex: 42 77 7a 63 73 75 75 00
decimal: 066 119 122 099 115 117 117 000

The last 5 ASCII characters (zcsuu) fits the character requirements of the passcode nicely.

binary: 010000100111011100000000
hex: 42 77 00
decimal: 066 119 000

That just leaves the numbers, reading the 4 hex characters that remain as numbers (ignoring the zeros):


Code 2 (2/5 difficulty)



Separating the lowercase and uppercase characters:


Reversing the uppercase characters reveals a hint:


Vigenere is a type of cipher that applies a Caesar cipher but the amount shifted changed after every letter. That amount is determined by a key.

For example, applying the vigenere cipher to the word ingress with key decode:

i + d = i + 3  = l
n + e = n + 4  = r
g + c = g + 2  = i
r + o = r + 14 = f
e + d = e + 3  = h
s + e = s + 4  = w
s + d = s + 3  = v

A few things to point out: once the key is depleted, it repeats itself. Like caesar cipher, once the letter goes past z, it cycles back to a. Decrypting a vigenere cipher is the same process but subtracting the key values from the encoded string.

So we have smcprinmfdbnqiojkp but we don’t have a key. Typically for these types of codes, the key is normally a known keyword used in previous passcodes and it is related to the uppercase character word. For this code, the key is cipher.

Decoding smcprinmfdbnqiojkp with cipher:

smcpri nmfdbn qiojkp
cipher cipher cipher
qeninr leqwxw oazcgy

Reversing it, we see nine but the rest of the code does not make any sense. Vigenere has a variant called Vigenere Autokey. With Vigenere Autokey, once the key is depleted, it starts encoding with the original string. In this example, we’ll vigenere autokey encode decodeingress with xmp:

dec ode ing res s
xmp dec ode ing r
aqr rhg wqk zry j

And the decoding process:

aqr rhg wqk zry j
xmp dec ode ing r
dec ode ing res s

Back to our original code:

smcpri nmfdbn qiojkp
cipher qeninr xisvow
qeninr xisvow tawowt

It matches the prefix and suffix portions of the format but needs a keyword, cipher works.


Code 3 (1/5 difficulty)



This code is a transposition but needs to be read down-to-up:


What’s next?

In the next post, we’ll be exploring the post Cheshire Cat made about the #niantic IRC channel and we’ll reveal 3 more passcodes.

Niantic History Special: The Cassandra Anomalies Part Two

Posted by on Aug 20, 2014 in Anomaly, Stories | 0 comments

Good afternoon, Agents and Investigators! My name is Mustafa Said and welcome back to the Niantic History coverage of the Cassandra Anomalies.


So let’s begin with the Anomalies that struck in Dusseldorf, Germany on August 17th, 2013: 

In Measurement One, here’s what the scores looked like:

Cassandra Dusseldorf Part One


When Measurement Two struck, the Enlightened continued their capture of Volatile Portals:

Cassandra Dusseldorf Part Two

And when Measurement Three hit, The Enlightened kept going:

Cassandra Dusseldorf Part Three


And by the end, the Enlightened emerged victorious:

Cassandra Dusseldorf ENd


All eyes now turned to Washington D.C., and Boston, Massachusetts later that day….

When Measurement One in the U.S Capital hit, here’s what the scores looked like:

Cassandra D.C +Boston Part One

And as Measurement Two struck, the Resistance had fought back-hard:

Cassandra D.C +Boston Part Two


And as Measurement Three passed, it was getting clearer and clearer who was going to claim the day:

Cassandra D.C +Boston Part Three

And when the dust settled, the Resistance had emerged on top:


Cassandra D.C +Boston Resutls


Here are the scores for Operation #Cassandra so far:

Cassandra D.C +Boston End

I had the opportunity to interview Pedro Owsik, @padalabra in scanner, and Joe Nastri, @Idgit in scanner, both Resistance Agents who had been at the D.C Anomaly:

Mustafa: First,  When you discovered that your area was getting an anomaly, how did your faction plan for it? 

Joe: I recall that my Sr agents in our DMV team notified and communicated to our local community of the DC event.

Pedro: We pooled together the resources of the DMV area & as far north as my area (PA). We began discussing strategy & didn’t really have much experience overall, so it was very rough. A lot of people got their initial experience with anomalies in DC.

Mustafa: Second, At what point did you feel like the ENL could gain the upper hand?

 Pedro: I felt like we had a strong plan going in and wasn’t sure the ENL had much. Until their BAF went up.
Mustafa: So when the BAF went up is that when you began to fear a ENL comeback?
Pedro: That was when I felt like we were losing the upper hand. I had confidence in the team to pull out a win.

Cassandra DC we felt confident in our planning, tactics and organizational approach. But back then close to DC was ENL strong. We were true resistance back then. So we always had great respect for the ENL DMV and never thought that they were underdogs. But we knew the game has to be played, and that would dictate who won.
Prior to the DC event, the prior Cassandra events had the E having an advantage in the series prior to the DC event. If I recall properly during the event however. The measurement one large field by the E did cause some concern, but we rallied even more so the remaining measurement. I was in charge of the mobile team strategy to handle fields for the DMV Resistance.
Mustafa:  Good, good. Okay so the third one is: What are your overall thoughts that you took away from the anomaly?


My thought was that we did good, but we had work to do if we wanted to keep it up.
 I thoroughly enjoyed the experience & wanted more immediately. We actually had a Philly player quit because the play of the anomaly blew away his usual game play. He said the anomaly was so awesome & intense that what he did normally seemed so boring in comparison

Joe: Overall thoughts: DMV Resistance can and did rally together when we need to (our first time really understanding that IMO), no matter the circumstances of how the regional play is prior to the event you do have a chance of winning — you play to determine who will win, and lastly Anomalies are a blast to coordinate and play in!

Mustafa: Okay, final question. What do you think Cassandra was about?

Pedro: As far as story line? I honestly don’t pay much attention to the story so I couldn’t say. For me it was about getting together with the people I’ve networked with on the east coast.

Joe: For the storyline, control of the global power centers (economic, political, etc). From Niantic perspective, their baby steps in learning how to handle global scale events (operational from many perspectives, marketing efforts, etc). 


And with that, the start of the second and final week of #Cassandra Anomalies began. The Enlightened surged to claim the early day but it was the Resistance who kept the nation’s capital Blue….

Tune into DeCode Ingress later this week for more information about what happened next in Niantic History!

Passcode Decoding Walkthrough #011.1 (Formerly) Live Codes & Verum Inveniri Solutions

Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in Code Breaking 101 | 0 comments

(Re)Introduction to passcode solving

A few weeks ago, Verum Inveniri made a post on Google+:

We encourage all new Agents to learn cryptographic principles, some of which we have published in a series of posts:




If you’re actually interested in solving them, click the links and give them a try without the solutions.

But if you’re just here for the passcodes, here they are if you haven’t already redeemed them:


The passcodes above are no longer valid. We are investigating.

The passcodes are in the following format:



The post suggests to increase the contrast and decrease the brightness of the image to reveal the code:


Looking at the bottom, we see something very faint:



Looking at the bottom of the image we see the substitution key. The long row of black symbols are the letters a to z, the row of black symbols just above that are the numbers 0 to 9, matching them up to the first two rows:



The first link describes the Railfence cipher and presents a code that has been encoded with it:


Using the Rumkin website to aid us with railfence, Decrypting the cipher text with 3 rails:


The second link describes some other types of transposition and presents us with a 16 character block on the left:


The transposition used for this one is boustrophedon (snaking) from the top-right corner and reversal:



But that doesn’t produce a valid passcode yet! The passcode format is almost correct except the first part, which needs to start with a number. vi is the roman numeral representation of 6.


The last link has an image with a child’s writing of the cipher text:


The hint is subtlely inserted as 4 but the method to use is not railfence. After going through all the methods introduced in the second link, the proper method is skip (4):


What’s next?

For the next post, we’ll be looking at the post that Verum Inveniri made after assembling the nominus dead drops and we’ll be revealing 3 more passcodes.

Niantic History Special: The Cassandra Anomalies Part One

Posted by on Aug 16, 2014 in Stories | 0 comments

Good afternoon, Agents and Investigators. My name is Mustafa Said and welcome to a special edition of Niantic History.

The Cassandra Anomalies. A massive Anomaly covering 13 cities around the world. The goal: control the cities.  It was an all-out struggle to either free the minds of the global  the economic, social and political power-centers of our society or to protect them from further Shaper Ingression.

The massive battle ahead struck first in Sydney, Australia on August 11th, 2013.

When Measurement One struck here’s what the scores looked like:

Cassandra Sydney Part One

When Measurement Two hit, the Enlightened surged to the forefront:

Cassandra Sydney Part Two

And by the end of it all, the Enlightened emerged victorious and began Operation Cassandra on a win:

Cassandra Sydney end

With little time to spare the world of Ingress quickly moved attention to the next battle ground in Milan, Italy on August 13th, 2013.

With a victory in Sydney, the Enlightened of Milan didn’t slow down in Measurement One:

Cassandra Milan Part One

While the Resistance fought hard before Measurement Two, it still wasn’t enough to wrest control of the showdown:

Cassandra Milan Part Two

And by the end of it all, Milan has gone green and the Enlightened took home a direct second win:

Cassandra Milan End

I got a chance to interview Stefano Riffaldi, @WhiteWolf in the scanner,  who was on the ground for the Resistane at the Anomaly:

Mustafa: First question, When you discovered that your area was getting an anomaly, how did your faction plan for it?

Stefano: The plan was clear and simple: to evenly divide the resources available in the area, leaving small subcluster portals focusing on birds after. The men on the field they would take decisions in the light of developments. 

Mustafa: Okay, second question is: At what point did you feel like the ENL could gain the upper hand?

Stefano: During the course of the game we did not have real-time updates on the score. We were focused on what we needed to do, which is take the portals. We knew the game was going well because our companions were happy with the result on their cluster. Their smile was the answer. 

Mustafa: Third question is: What are your overall thoughts that you took away from the anomaly?

Stefano: To this question I can only answer personally. In my opinion the anomalies as they focus on teamwork, preparation and coordination even though, in the case of obvious superiority in numbers, won the faction with more men on the field.

Mustafa: Finally, what do you think Cassandra was about

Stefano: I’m sorry, we don’t know. There are so few people that follow the story because it is so dense and complicated. 

With two anomalies under their belt, no time was wasted as attention quickly turned to the final site of the first week of Cassandra, Tokyo, Japan. The date, August 15th, 2013. 

At Measurement One, The Enlightened had managed to surge yet again to the lead:

Cassandra Tokyo Part One

However, at Measurement Two the Resistance had managed to take control but the Enlightened were right at their heels:

Cassandra Tokyo Part Two

And by the end of the Anomaly, the Tokyo Resistance had managed to claim a victory, putting the Global Resistance on the map for the Cassandra Anomalies:

Cassandra Milan End

I had the pleasure of interviewing Taicho Hiyoko, @hiyoko145 in the scanner, who had fought the battle for the Enlightened in Tokyo:

Mustafa: First question, When you discovered that your area was getting an anomaly, how did your faction plan for it?

Taicho: When I learned that Tokyo was going to have a Cassandra Anomaly, I was very unaware of what an XM Anomaly was because all information about the anomaly was being leaked in English. We thought official events were so far from Tokyo.
So we(ENL Tokyo community) had to learn about the anomaly. We watched Cassandra@Sydney, and read rules well.

Mustafa: Second question, At what point did you feel like the RES could gain the upper hand?

Taicho: There were about 30 ENL on site while the RES had about 60 or 70 on site so we felt very outnumbered. 

Mustafa: What are your overall thoughts that you took away from the anomaly? 

Taicho: Meeting and fighting with a lot of agents was so fun! We had to work hard for Cassandra@Tokyo because cluster maps were leaked only a day before anomaly. However, I still think it was fun.
ENL and RES were fighting well, we learned strategy each other and had beer together after anomaly :)

Mustafa: What do you think Cassandra was about? 

Taicho: Cassandra@Tokyo is the first official event for us. It is history for all Japan agents, regardless of faction. 

With that, the first week of Cassandra Anomalies was over. The fight, however, had hardly begun…..

Tune into DeCode Ingress next week to see how it all ends: The Cassandra finale is coming….