Passcode Decoding Walkthrough #011.3 Three More Codes!

0

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

/grin/

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Except that the codes seem to have mysteriously disappeared and are no longer valid.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.

IRC

http://widget00.mibbit.com/?server=webchat.irchighway.net&channel=%23niantic

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 zewkc
184110ef1af7cc9ff.36

There’s a possibility that another code is:

Iw).X.$6;

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
9dr7ghevate0e4d

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 (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:

soqszizozicw

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):

ToqTzAzozAcw

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 TANGO
5xh9substitutionp3s2t

Code 2 (Difficulty: 1/5)

184110ef1af7cc9ff.36

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:

5WG8CODEX5Z3Z

Code 3 (Difficulty: 2/5)

9dr7ghevate0e4d

Running a ROT13 reveals

9qe7turingr0r4q

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
3148
4259
5360
6471
7582
8693

Trying all 3, the passcode is:

4qe2turingr5r9q

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.

About Author

Leave a Reply

Passcode Decoding Walkthrough #011.3 Three More Codes!

by Jack Truong (SQL) time to read: 3 min
0