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 ?
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Except that the codes seem to have mysteriously disappeared and are no longer valid.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: http://niantic.schlarp.com :: Ingress - http://ingress.com#85, now on Android and iOS :: Puzzles: randomly presented here :: Updates: http://goo.gl/VZ93qh :: 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 zewkc184110ef1af7cc9ff.36
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 CEST9dr7ghevate0e4d
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:
pIlER bReu HOTEg NINER SUBSTITUTION tete THREE SIERRe TWO TeNkO
SIERRe can become SIERRA, and with NINER could mean there is NATO Alphabet used in this passcode:
pIlER bRAu HOTEg NINER SUBSTITUTION tAtA THREE SIERRA TWO TANkO
TANkO becomes TANGO, tAtA becomes PAPA, and HOTEg becomes HOTEL
pIlER bRAu HOTEL NINER SUBSTITUTION PAPA THREE SIERRA TWO TANGO
bRAu is XRAY and pIlER is FIVER (I don’t believe FIVER is proper NATO Alphabet)
FIVER XRAY HOTEL NINER SUBSTITUTION PAPA THREE SIERRA TWO TANGO5xh9substitutionp3s2t
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?
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:
0815 1926 2037 31484259 5360 64717582 8693
Trying all 3, the passcode is:
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.