Caprine to reverser+: 12 February 1998
Re: Jean Flynn's "A Journey within Steganos"




Well, I just read Jean's essay and am compelled to add 

a couple of  thoughts.





In regards to this statement by Jean:



"I decided to attack that challenge ASAP, wrongly thinking 

it would be peanuts to achieve, since I thought all the people 

listed in Reverser+'s advanced page did find that page and 

already wrote an essay about it.

I have been very surprised to realize that I prove wrong, 

and that these people wrote about the 'easy' riddle, and not 

the 'hard' one. (Well, you did all right guys, it was not so 

'easy' after all)"



Well Jean, please don't assume because you don't see an essay 

by someone that they havenít achieved 'there' goal. Actually, 

I had found the advanced page minutes after I downloaded the 

BMPís. 

Basically I reversed Reverser+s thought process and 'felt' password 

in 3 attempts. ( It sounds 

like this is what you eventually ended up doing. Well, actually, I'm not 

sure if I felt the password or felt the Moscow Mule's kick'n.)Thought I 

had the advanced page at that time, I did continue on investigating how 

to reverse it. I seems we did quite a bit of the same searching and 

reading. My dictionary approach was a little different than yours . I 

downloaded many pages and essays regarding stego and wrote a quite 

program to rank 1st ,2nd ... characters.





This is from memory because I no longer have the code. ( I will verify 

it. ) I recall the extracted byte starting at location 0x400 is kind of 

a checksum of the password. 1 byte long. The algorithm was (p1xor p2) 

and 0xFF) xor p3) and 0xFF)...

This means you can divide your 26^8 possibilities by 256 yielding  

815730721 valid possibilities. Therefore your 120 days now become 11 1/2 

hours. That's not too bad.



Even after finding the advanced page I did not write an essay. My guess 

was that this was going to be quite a challenge for everyone. I recalled 

reading the following excerpt from Reverser+'s 1998 courses' opening :





"Awaiting your contribution: mine is only an example of a possible 

project, if each one of you will propose a project

that he would like to develop during this year courses, we could then 

choose together the three-four most interesting

ones, and work -together- to their success.

This is our university, let's exploit fully the might of our joint 

forces, my friends: together we will grow and understand."



My thought was ,even if there were 26^8 possibilities or even if there 

were 26^ 20 possibilities, a brute force attack by one PC is futile. 

But, divide that work among 20 or 100 or 1000 PC's - or even engage 

someone with access to a more powerful machine - it now IS possible. 

What if we set our ego's aside, and joined together to solve a problem. 

And if there were enough of +us working together, what are our limits ?



Well , that's part of why I didnít write and essay. Perhaps I should 

have been the one to initiate such and undertaking. I don't know. I'm 

not even sure how to go about organizing such a venture. So, if anyone 

reads this, and thinks it makes any kind of sense at all, then maybe we 

can find a way to it pull together ?

                                                                                                                                                

caprine
(c) 1998 Caprine All rights reversed
OK Caprine, what about an essay of your, now and what about sending me the recipe of your "Moscow Mule" cocktail? Both things sound quite interesting :-)
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