So as we like to do when we run a decoding contest we want to help everyone understand exactly how to solve our puzzles so that is what this post is about to help your decoding skills and let you know exactly how our contest was solved.
- The first step was to take the image we posted (the image above) and save it and then inverse the colors.
Once this was done one line of text should stand out more than the rest. It should have been somewhat visible without inverting, but inverting the colors makes it stand out even more. Even more apparent is that there is less space between that code and the ones that surround it. Once you have the text OWJiNjE5 you have to decode it. It’s encoded as a base64 string and once decoded returns the string: 9bb619
When you have the string you have to find what to do with it. In the original contest post there is reference to the source. Well if you view thew name of the image it’s Hidden Link and sure enough on the page there is link hidden on the text hidden in the first paragraph. This will take you to the ‘hidden’ page that has a text box and submit. Putting the code in the text box and clicking submit will take you to a new page that will give you a new clue.
- The next clue is: 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
Which is the numeric value of a math term called a Googol. Which, if you were wondering, is how Google got their name. Enter the code to get your next clue.
- The Math is strong in you, now find the source:
This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.
You must find the source of this riddle, which is the movie The Hobbit. Type in The Hobbit and click submit to get your next challenge.
- “On the day the world was supposed to end this was the person we talked about when we weren’t talking about winners.”
In this challenge we are talking about the post we made on 12/21/2012 about John Hanke and his role in Niantic Labs and Ingress.
Enter in John Hanke to receive the next challenge.
- “Get your Decoding Skills ready: 0100000101010011010000110100100101001001″ This string is binary and decodes to: ASCII. Put ascii in the text box and click submit and you’re on your way to the next challenge.
- “011Uniform110Golf010Charlie000Delta101Delta111November100India001Golf” This is a string we’ve used in a previous decoding challenge, it is an actual (and already used) activation code. It uses a simple binary cipher with NATO words. Decoding it yields: dgcuidgn
- “XrksvivwGvcg” This one uses the Atbash Ciper. Putting it in the tool returns: CipheredText
- “– -.. -..- …- .– ….. .–. –.. — —-. -.– -…” Morse Code is fun and this code decrypts to: MDXVW5PZM9YB
- “37.422134,-122.083983″ For those of you unfamiliar these numbers are a lat and long and putting them into Google should give you a nice Google maps of the location that it produces:
The marker is smack dab on Google’s Headquarters and entering in ‘Google Headquarters” into the text box and clicking submit will take you to the final page display the congratulations dialog along with the winning code.
We’re impressed by how nicely this contest worked and how easy it was to execute through our API so we’re going to look into adding little Decoding games to our website to help tune people’s decoding skills.