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This Week in Niantic History, August 25th-29th, 2014

Posted by on Aug 29, 2014 in Stories | 0 comments

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


So let’s begin with what was revealed on August 25th, 2013: 


This page was from a mysterious comic being penned by the equally mysterious ghost artist Tycho…..It showcases the escape from the Niantic Project facilities.

How it ties into the story: The details of Epiphany Night hadn’t ever been really explored until this comic revealed tons of interesting secrets of what went down that night.


On August 26th, 2013, a statement from P.A Chapeau was released:

Carrie Campbell

Cassandra is over. Carrie is missing. Something is very wrong. I don’t know what it is. Does anybody?

-H. Richard Loeb.

How it ties into the story: It’s obvious that Cassandra has ended but Carrie’s disappearance was unexpected…


On August 27th, another statement from Chapeau was released:

Shaper Glyphs in Chicago

Still no word from Carrie. Had a photographer with me in Chicago. He sent me these images, said his camera was malfunctioning. I don’t think that was the case. -H. Richard Loeb.

How it ties into the story: Shaper Glyphs discovered at the site of the final Anomaly in Chicago….it only deepened the mystery of what occurred with Cassandra.


On August 28th, 2013, a document was leaked on the Niantic Project Investigator Board:

Find Lynton-Wolfe

It was a conversation between Avirl Lorazon and Zeke Calvin. Calvin wanted to find Lynton-Wolfe alive. Lorazon didn’t really care. What was known between them both: Lynton-Wolfe’s escape caused chaos to ensue in his leave.

How it ties into the story: Lynton-Wolfe is on the move, perhaps in danger, perhaps dead. No one knew where he was or what he was up to anymore…..




And finally, two videos emerged on August 25th, 2013. The first one being the twenty-third installment of the Ingress Report:

Ingress Apk / Scanner Teardown [1.59.1]

Posted by on Aug 29, 2014 in Game, Updates | 0 comments

Welcome back to our 9th teardown of Ingress APKs. This version only lists “bug fixes” as the official changelog on Google Play, but we can dig beneath the surface and see what’s really different.




In APK since 1.55.0

We saw two changes in the expected responses of various mission functions. The passphrase mission parameter clue was renamed to question, and the MissionStats response (the information you get when clicking on a mission) gained the numUniqueCompletedPlayers integer. So now we can see how many unique agents completed a certain mission.

There were only two changes to the server -> client functionality. The bulk of mission changes happened in the design and layout of them. We saw the addition of many strings which are related from passphrases to field trip cards.

ERROR_WHILE_VIEWING_FIELD_TRIP_CARD = “Failed to complete Field Trip card objective: %s”
TEXT_ONLY_ONE_MISSION_IN_PROGRESS = “Mission already in progress”

Notable new layout classes are


As we’ve discovered this feature almost 6 versions ago the functionality is quite known. We can only sit and watch as the feature nears completion.


First noticed in the Handshake and Intel map around August 18, this change was expected to be hidden in this APK and sure enough made an appearance. Ornaments appear to be directly related to Anomalies. These ornaments attach to certain specified portals with one of the following four types (anomaly_cluster, anomaly_end, anomaly_start, anomaly_volatile). However, our perception of an ornament doesn’t help with understanding this feature’s look. Below are the images for each type of ornament as it would be laid over a portal.

Various types of oranments

Various types of ornaments

As you can see, this feature has now been located in both the APK and Intel Map. This might help provide agents quick access to identify cluster / volatile portals in the middle of an anomaly instead of cross referencing Google Plus. When an ornament is attached to a portal, additional attributes are attached to it. These are listed below.


These attributes are quite broad and not hardcoded to anomalies directly which looks like they might play into future use where certain portals need to stand out from others.

Jailbreaking / Rooting

On our previous teardown of 1.58.2, we noticed a few new changes that may have locked out jailbroken/rooted devices. I’m proud to announce that as of 1.59.1 the below checks have been removed.

  • canLaunchCydia
  • hasSubstrateLib
  • rooted

These boolean values were added in 1.58.2 and sent to Niantic as part of the Device handshake. It appears they got the data they wanted and didn’t want to lock out this percentage of agent user base. This code has been removed.

Glyph Hacking

Everyone has come across an agent who still doesn’t know what Glyph Hacking is. It happens to everyone. It appears that a new addition may help new agents discover this feature.


This feature references a DoubleSidedProgressBar which increases in value depending on how long the HACK button has been held.

player 2014-08-29 14-06-11-35

As you can see above, whenever this feature is released new agents should discover Glyph hacking much quicker.

Direct Recharge Flow

Our Handshake and APK has now hinted at a “enableDirectRechargeFlow” change. In 1.59.1, the progression for recharging is now: find a Portal Key -> Recharge -> Recharge All / Pick a resonator to recharge. This method is now less button clicks after the jarring change in 1.58.2.

Nitty Gritty

  • Build August 26
  • Leaked August 28
  • Handshake Changes
    • [added] enableDirectRechargeFlow
    • [added] enableHackLongPressIndicator
    • [added] enableOrnaments
    • [deprecated] enableNewsOfTheDay


Ornaments have caught my eye and I’m hoping they are live in time for Tulsa (Helios secondary site), as I’d like to see this feature live there. Lots of activity now with missions, direct recharge, and ornaments. This version is probably just a stepping stone for a bigger feature release of 1.60.0! Hack on agents, I’ll see some of you at Tulsa.

Passcode Decoding Walkthrough #011.4 Two codes and AD4

Posted by on Aug 29, 2014 in Code Breaking 101 | 0 comments

Back in Passcode Decoding Walkthrough #011.1, we mentioned that Verum Inveniri made a post on Google+ but we didn’t finish exploring that post.

The post is linked to a SoundCloud track titled 45-8-N-1 and upon opening it you will hear annoying tones. The first type of noise you will hear will be the sound of a touch tone phone. You will also hear some morse code intermixed with those touch tones. At the end of the sound clip, you will hear the sound of a dial-up modem.

We’ll be focusing on the morse code sound and leave the other two codes for you to solve. The touch tone has a difficulty of 3/5 and the dial-up modem has a difficulty of 4/5.

As mentioned in the previous article, the codes seem to have mysteriously disappeared and are no longer valid.

Morse Code (Diffuculty: 2/5)

Downloading the SoundCound file and slowing it down will allow for careful extraction of the morse code.

We have extracted the morse code from the file if you want to practice transcribing morse code from an audio file. Thank you Kevin Friedberg (@Traption) for extracting it for us.

... .. -..- -.- . ... . ...- . -. -.-. .. .--. .... . .-. ..- ..-. --- ..- .-. - ..-. --- ..- .-. .-.

Converting the code:


Unfortunately, when the code was valid, the code above was not valid. Listening to the morse code again, there is a slight gap between the -.- and the . near the beginning. It could either be -.- (k) being -.– (y) or -.-. (c); or the . (e) becoming -. (n) or .. (i).


Reddit code (Difficulty: 1/5)

On August 13, /u/VerumInveniri replied to a comment on /r/Ingress


The length of the string is 120 (divisible by 8) and has only 2 characters in it which means it is a perfect candidate for binary!

Treating . as a 0 and · as a 1, we’ll group the result in blocks of 8 characters:


Converting this into ASCII:


What’s next?

This concludes our (formerly) live codes walkthroughs. In the next 2 articles, we’ll be looking at Regular Expressions and seeing how they could be used to help solve passcodes.

The Access Drive 4 is up and there are 6 puzzles to solve ranging from 1/5 to 4/5 in difficulty:

  • Welcome to AD4 (Difficulty: 1/5)
  • Unexpected side effects (Difficulty: 1/5)
  • Intuitive feeling (Difficulty: 4/5)
  • 2b | … (Difficulty: 3/5)
  • Proceed as ordered (Difficulty: 2/5)
  • 14-5 (Difficulty: 1/5)

Passcode Decoding Walkthrough #011.3 Three More Codes!

Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in Code Breaking 101 | 0 comments

On July 29 2014, Cheshire Cat made a post on Google+:

Guess I will have to chat more, meow
Can you find the code there now ?

#IRC #Niantic
under new management

She went on to make a comment in the post:

Ok 3 presents hidden in there now. Enjoy them


Time to hunt down the presents!…

Except that the codes seem to have mysteriously disappeared and are no longer valid. We’re not sure why but these are valid solutions to the puzzles at some point.

Regardless, we’ll proceed with the solutions.


Upon entering the chatroom, you would have been presented with the following (on August 20):

[Niantic Project slightly more official Discussion] :: Iw).X.$6; :: Wiki: :: Ingress -, now on Android and iOS :: Puzzles: randomly presented here :: Updates: :: piljn bneu rczjg wiwjn soqszizozicw tete zrnjj sijnne zdc zewkc
Topic set by Theresa_chic on Fri Aug 01 2014 17:21:39 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)
<Project>: [#Niantic] Welcome to #niantic. 184110ef1af7cc9ff.36

The two known codes to work with are:

piljn bneu rczjg wiwjn soqszizozicw tete zrnjj sijnne zdc zewkc

There’s a possibility that another code is:


But nobody has been able to solve it.

The last code is hiding in the channel’s description:

/chanserv info #niantic
<ChanServ>: Information for channel #niantic:
<ChanServ>: Founder: Theresa_Chic
<ChanServ>: Description: welcome to the Niantic/Ingress channel - 9dr7ghevate0e4d
<ChanServ>: Registered: Jul 29 21:03:44 2014 CEST
<ChanServ>: Last used: Aug 15 17:21:09 2014 CEST

The passcodes are in the following format:


Code 1 (Difficulty: 3/5)

piljn bneu rczjg wiwjn soqszizozicw tete zrnjj sijnne zdc zewkc

Trying atbash or Caesar cipher does us no good here. We have to make an assumption: this is a substitution cipher.

This will be covered in an upcoming article (spoiler: we’ll be using regular expressions), but taking a look the longest chunk of text:


In a substitution cipher, each character you swap will change all similar characters. For example, in the word above, if you change s’s to be t’s and i’s to be a’s (we’ll show the substititions with uppercase characters to distinguish the changes):


So we have to look for a word that has matching characters in:

  • the 1st and 4th positions
  • the 2nd and 8th positions
  • the 5th, 7th, and 9th positions
  • the 6th and 10th positions

There is only one keyword that matches that description: substitution. What a coincidence!

pIljn bneu rOTjg NINjn SUBSTITUTION tete Trnjj SIjnne TdO TeNkO

If SUBSTITUTION is the keyword for this passcode, Trnjj and TdO must be numbers, TdO is TWO and Trnjj is THREE:


SIERRe can become SIERRA, and with NINER could mean there is NATO Alphabet used in this passcode:


TANkO becomes TANGO, tAtA becomes PAPA, and HOTEg becomes HOTEL


bRAu is XRAY and pIlER is FIVER (I don’t believe FIVER is proper NATO Alphabet)


Code 2 (Difficulty: 1/5)


The .36 at the end of the code seems out of place and the part before the . has hexadecimal characters, possibly a BASE16 (hexadecimal) to BASE36 conversion?

Converting 184110ef1af7cc9ff to BASE36:


Code 3 (Difficulty: 2/5)


Running a ROT13 reveals


But the numbers aren’t quite right (0 is not a valid number in the passcode format). Normally with a code like this, one would add (or substract) 13 from the numbers and modulus the result with 10.

Assuming the numbers will all increment by the same amount, the set of numbers in the passcode can be:


Trying all 3, the passcode is:


What’s next?

In the last post of this series, we’ll go back to the Verum Inveniri post and investigate the SoundCloud link attached to the post. We’ll also look into a code found on a reddit comment made by Verum Inveniri.

Ingress How To Play – Part 3

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Game, Tactics, Tips | 0 comments

I am proud to release Part 3 of the Ingress How To Play series. This video shows some more of advanced aspects of Ingress that you wouldn’t necessarily tell a young Agent just picking up the scanner. However, new and veteran Agents alike should be able to take something away from the Ingress How To Play series. Thank you for your time, enjoy!

How to Play Series:

Fev Games YouTube channel:

Anomaly Report for #Helios 06 – 23 August

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Anomaly | 0 comments

After Helios 06, the Enlightened are leading the series: 12-19