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Passcode Decoding Walkthrough #011.2 More 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:

4zc2codes7u7u
2wa2cipherv6r9q
6pd4transpositionz9x2p

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.

vinominus

The passcodes are in the following format:

[2-9][p-z][a-h][2-9]keyword[p-z][2-9][p-z][2-9][p-z]

Code 1 (3/5 difficulty)

vinominus1

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

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.

[2-9][p-z][a-h][2-9]c0de[p-z][2-9][p-z][2-9][p-z]
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.

[2-9]zc[2-9]c0des[2-9]u[2-9]u
binary: 010000100111011100000000
ASCII: Bw
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):

4zc2c0des7u7u

Code 2 (2/5 difficulty)

vinominus2

smEcpRriEnmNfdEbnGqiIojVkp

Separating the lowercase and uppercase characters:

smcprinmfdbnqiojkp
ERENEGIV

Reversing the uppercase characters reveals a hint:

VIGENERE

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
qeninrxisvowtawowt
twowatwovsixrnineq
2wa2v6r9q

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

2wa2cipherv6r9q

Code 3 (1/5 difficulty)

vinominus3

puaoinxp
xorptzeo
iftsinnw
sdrnsoit

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

sixpdfourtranspositionzninextwop
6pd4transpositionz9x2p

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.
Joe:

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?

Pedro:

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 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:

Steganography
https://plus.google.com/109846653838501599116/posts/1HAZCCCrhcf

Substitution
https://plus.google.com/109846653838501599116/posts/ifNptGN7igo

Transposition
https://plus.google.com/109846653838501599116/posts/Mf2mzNxCtQ1
https://plus.google.com/109846653838501599116/posts/bcVJoDJ8bTH
https://plus.google.com/109846653838501599116/posts/4GqqJemK9au

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:

6zh6codep8t4z
8xc2substitutionz4t7p
8ye3transpositionu2p9y
6qd7cryptoz4u8s
4zh4cipherz4s8v

The passcodes are in the following format:

[2-9][p-z][a-h][2-9]keyword[p-z][2-9][p-z][2-9][p-z]

Steganography

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

contrast

Looking at the bottom, we see something very faint:

6zh6codep8t4z

Substitution

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:

this/is/a/secret/message:
8xc2substitutionz4t7p

Transposition

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

8tsin9y3rnpstoupyeaoi2

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

8ye3transpositionu2p9y

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

4u8s
zotp
7cry
dqiv

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

s8u4zotpyrc7dqiv

viqd7cryptoz4u8s

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.

6qd7cryptoz4u8s

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

4ceszir8hpzv4h4

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):

4zh4cipherz4s8v

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….

This Week in Niantic History, August 11th-15th, 2014

Posted by on Aug 15, 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 11th, 2013: 

Decipherments_Pg_1 (1)Decipherments_Pg_2 (1)Decipherments_Pg_3Decipherments_Pg_4Decipherments_Pg_5Decipherments_Pg_6

Stein Lightman, former Niantic Project Researcher,  first released his scholarly interpretations of 23 Glyphs that had been seen in the wild and also were used by Agents in Operation #Minotaur. These interpretations came to be known as the Lightman Decipherments….

On August 12th, 2013, another document had been released:

Schubert

It was a scientific analysis of the effects of Exotic Matter on the public, crafted by Dr. Martin Schubert. . Schubert had been a serious skeptic of XM at that time. Now, not so skeptic….Schubert had since been playing an active role in the suppression of Devra’s Portal Virus. 

On August 13th, 2013, another document had been released:

Flashpoint #1

It was from Omnivore and it was tracking the activities and movement of a series of Investigators and Sensitives who were on the move due to Operation #Cassandra …..

On August 14th, 2013, a statement from Klue was released:

Boston

She claimed that she wanted to help ‘shape a new world’ and that she also wanted to meet with an ‘old friend’….Richard Loeb counters her words with some of his own, regarding the document yesterday:

No, it’s not a coincidence. Klue may be making her way to Boston to research the Glyphs, but we all know Carrie’s insights are far more valuable, her potential… limitless. And the open secret both here in our Investigative Circle and outside in the broader world of Ingress is that we, the Resistance, and the underdog, fighting against an incumbent who have time and again proven their strategic and tactical superiority on the field. If we are going to even the playing field, we’re going to need every ounce of her brilliance to do so. I am going to Chicago to secure those ounces for the Resistance.

And finally, on August 15th, 2013, the twenty-first episode of the Ingress Report was released to the public:

Exclusive First Look At Missions

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in Game, Scanner | 0 comments

Hello agents and welcome to our world exclusive first look at missions in ingress and how they will be implemented.

Scroll to the bottom for all the new info we’ve added including a video!

Missions have been teased at for some time and we are thrilled to bring you the first look at actual screen caps of them running in the scanner (these are NOT photoshopped). Please note: we are having to speculate to a degree on how these functions will be used.

The first image we have for you is a capture of the available missions list. This area should indicate all the available missions you could start: (that first one looks especially cool).

Mission List

 

Some time ago we found the following mission objective entries in our APK teardown:

HACK_PORTAL
CAPTURE_PORTAL
CREATE_LINK
CREATE_FIELD
INSTALL_MOD
TAKE_PHOTO
VIEW_FIELD_TRIP_CARD
PASSPHRASE

This area should allow users to create custom missions and specify the objectives. These objectives can be seen implemented here:

mission objectives 1

 

The initial list of possible objectives is fairly comprehensive already and carries on here:

 

mission objectives 2

 

There is also a mission details screen which gives the time to complete, the user feedback (liked or didn’t like the mission) and the number of agents who have attempted it.

 

Mission Details

 

That’s all we have for now but there are a few more components to this being worked on. We will update you further as more details become available.

New screens of a mission being played have arrived! (with a special badge treat yayyy calvinball!)

 

player 2014-08-18 23-26-56-10

 

Mission info screen

player 2014-08-18 20-51-47-41Enroute to hack the portal to complete the mission.

player 2014-08-18 22-03-35-12

Mission badge in the inventory.
player 2014-08-18 22-03-53-41

Mission badge click-through view.

player 2014-08-18 21-20-22-64

Here is the post-mission-completion feedback screen. Yeah the medal image got missed, but you get the idea…

Here it is! An actual video of a basic mission being played!

Are you hyped for missions to go live in your scanner soon? We certainly are!