Scooby Doo and the Crypto Caper – Answers and Winners

scooby_laptop.jpgAnd the Scooby Snacks go to…

Thanks again to all who participated in this multi-faceted challenge. Although we all love Ed Skoudis’ creations, Kevin Bong has once again proven to be more than worthy of penning some of our fun and educational contests. Where else can you find a 70s classic cartoon intermixed with some crypto to reveal a little Zeppelin all in the name of expanding your forensics skillz? Well done, Kevin. We look forward to another one of his creations later in 2009.

Since it is the start of a new year and yet another perfect time to show appreciation, this one goes out to our gracious host, Ed Skoudis on InGuardians. I’ve mentioned this in the past, but it is worth pointing out once again. For the betterment of EH-Net and the Ethical Hacking / Pen Testing Community as a whole, Ed volunteers his vast talents and resources to bring you what I truly believe to be a unique, educational experience. It is an honor to have him, and I look forward to many more years of collaboration.

Donald C. Donzal

Heeeeerrreee’s Kevin! 

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  Scooby Doo and the Crypto Caper – Answers & Winners

By Kevin Bong


Thanks a bunch to everyone who submitted answers for the Scooby Doo challenge. Sorry for the delay getting the answers and winners out… too many life events over the past couple months (the biggest/best being the birth of my daughter Maya Laughing.

There were a lot of first rate write-ups. It was difficult to choose winners, but here it goes.

Technical Winner

Dan Roberts, because I chose to use his write-up to let everyone know what the answers are. See it HERE.

Creative Winner

Ralph Forsythe, because Ralph appears to be a geek after my own heart. Instead of using readily available apps to break the simple Caesar and Vigenere ciphers, he hacked together a couple programs in Perl to do the job. Any why not, I say. Take a look HERE.

And, the Random Draw Winner:
Mark McCutcheon

Before we get to Dan’s answers, I want to talk very briefly about why I chose a section of "Stairway to Heaven" played backwards as one of the Crypto-Exam questions. At a conference a few years ago, Simon Singh did a demonstration where he played a portion of the song backwards, and it didn’t sound like anything. They he played it again backwards with the "words" up on the screen. And you heard the words. Then he played it again, without the words on the screen, and every time you heard it from then on you still heard the words, you couldn’t hear the song without hearing the words. Its a cool experiment (try it yourself – YouTube’s your friend) with a deeper meaning. Singh was talking about his book, The Big Bang, which goes through many of the scientific revolutions that lead to our current understanding of the Universe. The idea Singh was demonstrating here was that our experience and expectations change our perception or what we see when we look at the world. It isn’t just changing how we interpret what we see (or hear, feel, etc.) – it actually changes what we see before it gets to that part of our brain that does any thinking or interpreting. This idea was put forward by Thomas Kuhn in his 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It seems to me a relevant and important notion for us as forensic investigators. Many times we pride ourselves on our ability to be a neutral third party and present only the facts. How much do we see or not see as a result of what we’ve seen before, or what we expect (or don’t expect) to find? But I’ve spent enough time waxing philosophical…on to the answers.

Thanks again for letting me do this and for your patience over the last couple months,

Scooby Doo trademarks and copyright belong to Hanna-Barbera. The laptop image is from 2003’s "What’s New, Scooby-Doo?"

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