# SF Bay Area geocachers

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I guess you could not resist a FTF on the way to the Airport. Claire and I were third to find beat by Fizzymagic and UnclePilot!

Pepper

Horizontals where it's at!

Very nicely done! I hope to create some classic caches like this some day. It was all the more rewarding to have done it without my GPSr, on my lunch break.

--Marky

"All of us get lost in the darkness, dreamers learn to steer with a backlit GPSr"

Okay, I am slightly obsessive when it comes to solving puzzles. So this whole Venona thing is going to keep me up at night until I decode that message. I have been reading a lot about the venona project, but I can't see any obvious connection to the code left on the forum. Who wants to work with me to crack this thing?

Mary

Pedal until your legs cramp up and then pedal some more.

lol, get some sleep silly! If anyone can figure it out it would be you. I looked at all that mumbo jumbo only half a second and moved on quickly. My brain just can not handle that sort of stress.

Pepper

Horizontals where it's at!

Come on Pepper, you solved double agent before I did. I think you sell yourself to short. I bet you could figure it out if you wanted to...or you could interest your computer guru husband into helping you break the code.

Mary

Pedal until your legs cramp up and then pedal some more.

I suppose you noticed that the letters only go from A to F yet all the number digits from 1-0 appear. Direct substitution seems unlikely. Which means--------I'm stumped.

HotFoot

quote:
Originally posted by hotfoot:

I suppose you noticed that the letters only go from A to F yet all the number digits from 1-0 appear. Direct substitution seems unlikely. Which means--------I'm stumped.

This means that the code is in base 16.

A=11, B=12, C=13, D=14, F=15

I still haven't figured out how this helps...

--Marky

--Marky

"All of us get lost in the darkness, dreamers learn to steer with a backlit GPSr"

quote:
Originally posted by Venona:

Remember word from first activity.

Lamneth, I don't recall seeing any 'word' from first activity. Was that posted to the board? Or was this something private?

--Marky

"All of us get lost in the darkness, dreamers learn to steer with a backlit GPSr"

The word from the first activity was "REFRACTORY".

Fizzy had to go to the work library for it.

[This message was edited by Kusanagi on December 12, 2002 at 09:09 AM.]

quote:
Originally posted by Marky:

quote:
Originally posted by Venona:

Remember word from first activity.

Lamneth, I don't recall seeing any 'word' from first activity. Was that posted to the board? Or was this something private?

Fizzy posted the word last week and e-mailed me a scan of the note. Attachments are disabled for this forum, so I uploaded the note to Double Agent for all to see... Maybe someone can recognize the handwriting

If you go to this site, you will find the Henrietta-16 Code. This may be the code to use to decipher Venona's coded message. I do not have the patience or time to work on it. Hope this might help.

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end

I also saw the hexadecimal connection, but I agree with Marky that I don't really know what to do with it.

I will continue to research this subject to look for clues...

Mary

Pedal until your legs cramp up and then pedal some more.

I'll have to go through the logs on a couple of very popular caches to see if I get a match for handwriting. Of course, Kablooey and Pepper use stamps or stickers but I never suspected either of them anyway.

Maybe you should head over to the central valley area and check a few logs around here......

Jaimee

Before criticizing others, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you do the criticizing, you will have their shoes AND be a mile away!

was the title of the book that Fizzy found the note in that contained the word "REFRACTORY" (his Dec 3rd post). It seems to me that it is More than coincidence that Phineas Magnetron's surname appears in the title of the above book. I'm also guessing that REFRACTORY is the code word used in the first step of the Henrietta 16 Code.

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end

I read through the Phineas Magnetron page and I can see what you mean. If this is the case, then cracking this code will be slightly time consuming. Good thing Christmas vacation is coming up soon.

Mary

Pedal until your legs cramp up and then pedal some more.

quote:
Originally posted by georgeandmary:

I have been reading a lot about the venona project, but I can't see any obvious connection to the code left on the forum.

Is connection. Trusting me.

I will giving of hints if no progress in several days. I am watching forum always.

Good idea Jaimee but first I would have to find a CV cache and this is something I have found very difficult to do. I have drawn so many blanks in Tracy that I cut it out of my California road map. Yes, it is now more dificult to fold the map but I am no longer tempted to even slow down.

I was trying to see if I could take the hex and convert it to base 4 as the first step in the reverse process of the Henrietta-16 code. Here is my results:

3030110311100221010131203020323100032003122302310321313230120123200231101223132

1033022002333120033110000031200011132230002031203230133030130132003000212103133

1313201031322222130310312333112103003101111310312013121102122303001033200103022

3203213322222322031002021312010021132031302302220201032001120330311210303100202

3330123012012313030022032323032313022222330231122032021023210033123023321003101

3103101103320101130222011020222330000010123023011121222200213003333220121101222

2100223213021120220213220202012302131331013323223022121020200112113003301333121

1133333002032021131121112321301021322211323003223300110230120000310031132112000

3121132113320133011333223232300003002331113010200223333232120232230333130121120

2012320023121101131310233003212321232203011011112212330000332113200001021131230

0000221030300320000113331030103330013202231003330310100200102101021320221200113

2302333303221303333132032303222112220010023311222021213032132320121222111230310

3000113110012130000020132022103300323021201322103321110231231330000130220230113

0120012123022122233102220100121210222120321213302103220010003022331311231122020

3311322333110133121011310310022312131122033101213320321223330310003201322221211

230300013223021131010030033100001122102112303322023021321022312112313232323

I don't see an immediate morse code pattern jumping out, so I'm not sure what to do next...

--Marky

"All of us get lost in the darkness, dreamers learn to steer with a backlit GPSr"

[This message was edited by Elias on December 13, 2002 at 12:31 PM.]

I've read through a lot of the Venona information available online, but I haven't really seen much example 'pre-deciphered' code, so I don't know what it looks like, or what methods one might use to decode... anyone have any good links to stuff like that?

--Marky

"All of us get lost in the darkness, dreamers learn to steer with a backlit GPSr"

...ever since you posted all that code a couple of frames ago, my screen is maxed out and i have to scroll left and right to read anything !

Yikes !

Ron

I've never been lost. Fearsome confused sometimes, but never lost.

it should be pretty easy to write a decoding program.

i'll do that now.

Marty Fouts

ae6ip

quote:
Originally posted by Marty Fouts:

it should be pretty easy to write a decoding program.

i'll do that now.

Marty Fouts

ae6ip

not a simple henrietta-16 code

Marty Fouts

ae6ip

I should have read the NSA papers on VENONA before I tried simple decryption. If Venona isn't having us on, and is actually using the VENONA cypher for the message, then it's a one-time pad, and there are only two ways to break a one-time pad cypher:

1) the way VENONA was broken, slowly, over time, and as a result of a mistake in the way the pad's constructed.

2) by finding a copy of the bad.

Too bad fizzy's in the Carib, 'cuz I'd love to know more about that book and what he found in it besides refractory

Marty Fouts

ae6ip

At the same time Fizzy got the message to look for the book Hotfoot also got a message from verona. I read back into the logs and Hotfoot said it was a string of numbers and letters like a library of congress book i.d. I wonder if this could be the key to the recent message.

Mary

Pedal until your legs cramp up and then pedal some more.

quote:
Originally posted by Marty Fouts:

2) by finding a copy of the pad.

Could the 'pad' be a word? The Word "REFRACTORY" was given to us as some kind of hint/clue/key.

--Marky

"All of us get lost in the darkness, dreamers learn to steer with a backlit GPSr"

This is the information for the book where the note was placed:

TK7872 V3C6 1948

MICROWAVE MAGNETRONS

COLLINS, GEORGE B.

N Y, MC GRAW-HILL, 1948,

LEXINGTON, MA: BOSTON TECHNICAL PUB 1964

806 PAGES

This is the information for the book that was next to the above book:

TK7872 S4S8 1966

REFRACTORY SEMICONDUCTOR MATERIALS

SHMARTSEV, YU. V.

VALOV, YU. A.

BORSHCHEVSKII, A. S.

N Y: CONSULTANTS BUREAU 1966

93 PAGES

TRANSLATED FROM RUSSIAN BY ALBIN TYBULEWICZ OF

"TUGOPLAVKIE ALMAZOPODOBNYE POLUPROVODNIKI" 1964.

Looking at the note attributed to Venona and posted by Lamneth I was struck by two distinctly different upper case E's. I have looked at Lamneth's printing and in the sample I have he uses only upper case letters and they are very consistant. I conclude he is probably an engineer and didn't write the note. FizzyMagic leads the field of those I've looked at so far. Many similarities between his printing and those on the note.

You guys in the central valley will have to do your own graphoanalysis since I do not have any samples of the possible suspects. I guess they have to work at the Rad Lab.

I hope you have a fun and productive holiday party.

It would just be like Fizzy to start this whole Verona code thing and then shoot off to his cruise leaving all of us trying to figure out this code.

Very interesting....

Mary

Pedal until your legs cramp up and then pedal some more.

Hey Trish,

Your into all this espionage stuff, can you give us some help on solving this code?

Mary

Pedal until your legs cramp up and then pedal some more.

I'm getting confused trying to keep track of the various postings in this thread that have to do with Venona, so I've set up my

Ranom Venona Extracts

page with what I think are the most relevant extracts from the discussion.

Oh, and while I was at it, I put up a copy of my C program that helped me decide it's probably not an "ordinary" Henrietta-16 code.

Marty Fouts

ae6ip

I have a log entry from my Superman cache that was authored by either Jimswim or Fizzy. There are many similarities in the handwriting when compared with the Venona note. In particular, the "S's" appearing on both documents are very similar in alignment, size and their trailing tails. If I had the original Venona note I could make a more accurate analysis.

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end

Venona posted a message to this board on December 12th at 8:05 PM, in response to a message posted December 11th at 7:53 PM. I don't think Fizzy could have done this since I think he was already gone by this time...

--Marky

"All of us get lost in the darkness, dreamers learn to steer with a backlit GPSr"

quote:
Originally posted by Marty Fouts:

it should be pretty easy to write a decoding program.

i'll do that now.

not a simple henrietta-16 code

Marty Fouts

ae6ip

I agree. Converting the hexadecimal to base 4 yields an interim ciphertext that contains strings where each of the four digits (0 - 3) appears at least once in a string of three repeats. Thus none of them can represent the end of word or end of character symbol needed for the next (Morse) step of H16.

However, that does not mean H16 can be eliminated. This could be a variant. The penultimate step of H16 is a slight variation of a Fractionated Morse. In a FM there is only one symbol 'x' to represent both end of char and end of word (but the x is doubled at the end of the word). For the same reason as above, none of the four symbols can be an 'x' though. There are never three adjacent x's in a FM.

The ci-text is aperiodic, so if REFRACTORY is the keyword (not certain - maybe it just appears in the plaintext) of a normal periodic there should be an elevated Index of Coincidence at period 10. There is none.

Hexadecimal ciphers in general only began to appear when computer cryptology did, and there is no chance this group could break a true computer-based encryption scheme unless we have someone here with pretty sophisticated tools. So I suspect that it is just a variant on a common paper-and-pencil cipher. I don't know of any that use sixteen symbols, though.

The character distribution is relatively smooth, but by no means flat. It is also not the same for the first ciphertext and the second. In both cases the most frequent character (hexadigit) appears 25 times but in the first section it is the 2,3, and 8, but in the second it is the E. Similarly the D is least frequent in the second section (13 appearances) while the 9 is least frequent in the first. The fact that the two parts differ suggests either a different key for the two sections, or possibly the same key but a different period length.

This type of distribution usually indicates a cipher that encrypts pairs or trigrams, or those that involve fractionation (like the FM). I would not rule out variants on Autokey, Grandpre, or Franctionated Morse. Even a Baconian should be considered, although we'd have to figure out a way to get to a ciphertext count that is divisible by 5. I'll have to do more analysis, but this might help someone get started.

Perhaps Fizzy used a terminal at the hotel or the airport. He has contacted us before while being out of town.

I am still not totally convinced that fizzy is Venona though. I have other suspects in mind.

Mary

Pedal until your legs cramp up and then pedal some more.

Since this is a thread for Bay Area geocachers, I figure this is as good a place to put this as any.

I'm going to be flying through SFO on my way to China about a month from now, and I'll have a four-hour or so layover. I figured it'd be a perfect opportunity to scuttle off from the airport and hit a travel bug exchange cache, but none seems to exist. There's ten million billion caches in California, but no travel bug hotel near one of the country's major int'l airports. What's up with that!

Knowing nothing about the neighborhood around the airport, I'll just note that from looking in Streets & Trips, there seems to be several parks in Millbrae on the other side of the 101 that might be a good spot for such a cache. Hint, hint...

http://www.pro-technix.com/information/crypto/pages/vernam_base.html

Mary found this while reading thorugh the Venona pages. It actually shows how the cipher works. Still need the pad though.

george

Pedal until your legs cramp up and then pedal some more.

Below is the log entry I had mentioned in my last post. Take a close look at the letters "s" and "e and compare them to those appearing on the Venona note.

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end

quote:
Originally posted by The Rat:

Hexadecimal ciphers in general only began to appear when computer cryptology did, and there is no chance this group could break a true computer-based encryption scheme unless we have someone here with pretty sophisticated tools. So I suspect that it is just a variant on a common paper-and-pencil cipher. I don't know of any that use sixteen symbols, though.

I pulled this out of your excellent analysis because it's the only point I feel I can comment on just now:

It doesn't have to be sixteen symbol code. There's no reason why hex digit pairs can't represent bytes, giving us a 256 element code.

Marty Fouts

ae6ip

I can see a similiarity in both notes side by side. But I noticed that it was signed by three people.

Mary

Pedal until your legs cramp up and then pedal some more.

I have been doing some handwriting comparisons out of the three log books I have here at the house. I conclude the note posted by Chuguy was written by Fizzymagic.

I am taking a few pics of some log entries I will post here just as soon as I figure out how to do so.

Pepper

Horizontals where it's at!

Ok here goes hope it works. GRRRRR! never mind I will have to wait till the husband wakes up.

Pepper

Horizontals where it's at!

Early this morning I received confirmation from Jimswim that the handwriting appearing on the note I had posted does in fact belong to Fizzy. Pepper's recent post also confirms this. Hopefully, she will be able to post additional handwriting exemplars of Fizzy's for further comparison to Venona.

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end

I tried decoding the message using each pair of characters in the first message to represent a single 8 bit vernam coded characted. I then tried using the word "REFRACTORY" as the one-time pad (not very random, but hey, it's all I have at the moment). I converted REFRACTORY to 8 bit ascii and XOR'd with the original message. Result: nada. It doesn't generate anything recogizable to me. I didn't try 7 bit encoding.

I'm going caching in the rain for a while. My brain needs a rest.

--Marky

"All of us get lost in the darkness, dreamers learn to steer with a backlit GPSr"

ok well lets see if this works?

Ok, now I compared the Verona note with 40+ witten logs in my Three Trees cache and nothing is close.

Ohh Verona, who are you, where are you and are you enjoying all the fuss you bad bad non-geocacher!

Pepper

Horizontals where it's at!

If I can not get the scan to appear with this posting you can go to http://members.aol.com/gsstratton/FizzyWrites.bmp to see the sample I used for comparison.

More analysis shows that when you convert both the first and second hex ciphers to binary and slide them against each other, they show an elevated IC at offset 35 and even higher at offset 350. This suggests that the hex code could be a compression of a 5-bit or 7-bit based cipher (the divisors of 35) and more importantly that the two ciphers used the same key (like the reused one-time pad in the real VENONA) at an offset of 350 bits (either 70 characters or 50 characters, depending on whether it is the 5-bit or 7-bit system used). It also suggest that there could be a 10-character key (e.g. REFRACTORY). This is by no means certain, but I think there is something there.

I did the 5-bit conversion and the distribtuion is less flat than the the hex distribution, so that might be suggestive. Unfortunately all 32 characters appear. I was hoping that no more than 26 would appear (i.e. the number of letters in the alphabet). I'm not a computer professional, so let's see some of you C++ or Perl whizzes work on those two binary ciphertexts. I think this is promising.

quote:
Originally posted by The Rat:

More analysis shows that when you convert both the first and second hex ciphers to binary and slide them against each other, they show an elevated IC at offset 35 and even higher at offset 350. This suggests that the hex code could be a compression of a 5-bit or 7-bit based cipher (the divisors of 35) and more importantly that the two ciphers used the same key (like the reused one-time pad in the real VENONA) at an offset of 350 bits (either 70 characters or 50 characters, depending on whether it is the 5-bit or 7-bit system used). It also suggest that there could be a 10-character key (e.g. REFRACTORY). This is by no means certain, but I think there is something there.

I did the 5-bit conversion and the distribtuion is less flat than the the hex distribution, so that might be suggestive. Unfortunately all 32 characters appear. I was hoping that no more than 26 would appear (i.e. the number of letters in the alphabet). I'm not a computer professional, so let's see some of you C++ or Perl whizzes work on those two binary ciphertexts. I think this is promising.

Oops - I made a programming error in creating the second binary file. I told you I wasn't a computer professional. Ignore the numbers 35 and 350 above. I still think the approach is worth pursuing, though. Convert the first and second ciphertexts from hex to binary, then slide them against each other to see if a high index of coincidence appears to indicate the two sections were encrypted using the same key.

Well, I feel inadequate. I sent VENONA'S cipher to SCRYER, the best solver in the American Cryptogram Association. He broke it in about an hour. However, he has not sent me the solution, just a hint from the plaintext - beware of the spoiler. This is the hint:

There will be a one-hour window in which to retrieve it on a particular day that has not yet arrived.

I will keep working on the decipherment.

quote:
Originally posted by The Rat:

Well, I feel inadequate. I sent VENONA'S cipher to SCRYER, the best solver in the American Cryptogram Association. He broke it in about an hour. However, he has not sent me the solution, just a hint from the plaintext

Any reason why he won't send it?

george

Pedal until your legs cramp up and then pedal some more.

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