Mission #26

Discussion in 'Missions Center' started by crux, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. Enym

    Enym New Agent

    I found a thesis, that contains the code snippet. Is the answer somewhere there?
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2016
  2. codex-13

    codex-13 Archivist

    Enym, you're on the right track. Also, I would throw some spoiler tags around that post just for safety's sake.
  3. berzerk0

    berzerk0 Active Agent


    Nudges provided in this post will include hints that include information hinted at in posts before it.
    If you wish, you can look at this post and get all hints given in this thread before this post was made. I am open to PM's of people asking for help - if you can't get it (even after reading ALL the posts in this thread) start a conversation with me and we can work it out.


    26-1 Suspicious Trading

    I used the GNU Image Manipulation Program (available on Mac/Windows/Linux) here.

    Hmm, our images don't have any color in them. They're barely greyscaled.
    Is that a footnote at the bottom of "Financial Operations Attracting Attention" ?

    Bigger Nudge:
    One image is primarily white, one is primarily black.
    Maybe we can convert one or both of our images to only use pure black and white - no shades of grey. This is called a '1 bit color'

    Biggest Nudge:
    __A__ _A____E_

    Repeat the process you just did to those lines of text to the images.

    GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP)
    Image > Mode > Indexed > Binary

    Some data is lost, IMO it is negligible.

    Fryrpg nyy gur oynpx va bar vzntr. Cnfgr vg bire gur juvgr va gur bgure.
    (No, that isn't written in an ancient Celtic language.)


    26 -2 Deep End

    Is there a method you know of to extract selectable text from images?
    Do you understand all the terms in the instructions?

    Bigger Nudge:
    ptical haracter ecognition
    (you may have to shop around to find the best one)

    Service I Used - but you'll have to decode it - twice.
    68 74 74 70 3n 2s 2s 77 77 77 2r 6r 65 77 6s 63 72 2r 63 6s 72 6r

    Could a word you get after performing this process be the answer?
    Or could it be a step along the way?

    Do you know what a dark pool is?
    It's not an unlit place to swim.

    Biggest Nudge
    Their trading strategy is really dependent on Internet speed. Latency matters for this sensitive strategy.


    26-3 Source Code

    This One is broken down into two Parts:

    Part One: Getting Into The PDF

    Black Watchmen, Did You Find Our Latent Secret In The Dumped Message?

    Man, Sir Elton sounds different than I remember him on this track. He's ghostly.

    Have you found what search engine the document is talking about?

    Farther Nudge:
    Do you have the guts to see Sir Elton's spectral message? I mean, do you have the gumption? Do you have the audacity?

    Our search engine needs parameters. When? Where?

    Farthest Nudge:
    Remember, we're tracking down stock trading methods here - sometimes a few letters represents a whole organization.

    This search engine company allows us to see satellite imagery whole planet if we want to! We can start way out in space, and just go farther in until we see a whole continent, then a country, then a province, then a county, until we're looking at an entire town! We can narrow our field of vision not just once, but over, and over, and over, and over again!

    Part Two: Understanding the PDF

    As mentioned in a previous hint, the wording in this puzzle can be a bit tricky.
    You are tasked to find out "What Program SIGIL is working on"
    This isn't so much a question of "What is the name of the project" but more along the lines of "What does the program accomplish/do?"

    The PDF doesn't make too much sense without context, can you find its content elsewhere?

    Bigger Nudge:
    Remember, we've only focused on financial matters so far.
    Do you remember what their trading strategy was?

    In order to get that kind of speed, they want to optimize the process as much as they can.

    Trades are performed when a party (in this case, SIGIL) issues a "command" to a brokerage.
    This "command" travels over the internet through a chosen "path" and tells the broker to buy/sell on the party's behalf.
    Think about this in the context of their strategy - how can they optimize here?

    Biggest Nudge:
    The next line is a pretty loose hint, don't get caught up in specific words or terms - think conceptually.
    Dijkstra came up with a method for accomplishing something similar to what SIGIL is attempting.

    This "command's" "path" needs to be optimized INTELLIGENTLY.

    "Optimized" or "Well-Connected" devices have become quite popular in the past decades. We have made these things "intelligent."
    Think about phones, watches, homes and even bombs.

    Bonus Clarification Nudge:
    What's the antonym of "antonym?" - when you see the quotes, find those.

    What an interesting mission - I spent 75% of my time (minus the time it takes me to write these, which is often double the actual solving time, I write as I go) on figuring out what to AFTER I got the PDF open.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  4. Mooner101

    Mooner101 New Agent

    So I am on part 3 and I have already decrypted the PDF file. However, I cannot figure out the meaning of the PDF contents. There are several routes to take to find the answer but don't know which route. If someone could offer some advice that would be great.
  5. Snarkk

    Snarkk Active Agent

    The only trap is to overthink it.

    First class basics ? Dig.

    Be smart. There are multiple ways to get through this.

    Interesting mission, quite "relaxing" after mission 25.
  6. mgelles

    mgelles Senior Agent

    On 26.1
    Am I looking to rearange/eliminate letters from the last udge to find an answer in plain English?
  7. berzerk0

    berzerk0 Active Agent

    Rearrange might be a way to describe it, but you are trying to do something a little more specific.

    F _ L _ _ N T H _ B _ A _ K S

    _ I _ L I _ _ _ E _ L _ N _ _

    If you laid those two lines on top of one another - the message would become clear
  8. mgelles

    mgelles Senior Agent

    I think my problem is that I was unable to do the image part and was trying to do it just from the letters you provided in the nudge so I'm unable to tell where the blanks are
  9. berzerk0

    berzerk0 Active Agent

    Yes, I can see how you might do that if you take the hint literally.

    Additional Nudge for 26-1
    I was trying to communicate that the images are two incomplete parts of the same whole.

    Since the images do not have color, you can say they are essentially built of black and white pixels.

    We have two types of pixels and two images. We need to figure out how to combine them.

    If you need further help just shoot me a pm/start a conversation
  10. SLicTa

    SLicTa Active Agent

    Well, I must be stupid...
    Even with all the nudges from all of you and berzerk0, I am still stuck on 26-1...

    Using GIMP, I could extrac black from the image with the table and could paste it on the one.
    But stil really hard to read some words...
    Let's imagine I have all words, I read something about moving all the vowels...

    And there am I... Stuck for days now :'(
  11. berzerk0

    berzerk0 Active Agent

    It's a bit tough to make out

    Gotta look for hyphens
  12. SLicTa

    SLicTa Active Agent

    English is not my main language but I'm trying to understand.
    Here below you can see the best I can get from the 2 pictures. Is that the best solution, or am I doing something wrong ?
    I have to admit that I am a noob with GIMP... quite better with hacking and ciphering :p.

    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  13. berzerk0

    berzerk0 Active Agent

    Image didn't come through - send me a conversation
  14. SLicTa

    SLicTa Active Agent

    God... This one was really tough for me...
    Now I'm scared to start for 26-2 and 3 ...
    (Thank you berzerk0)

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