[Last major update of this page: 5 May 1997] Don't forget to shift-Reload to get the new text...

The Great +ORC hunt

Well, the little essay on +ORC seems to have gotten a few people putting ideas on paper. Here are some of the responses.

This page will be the place to come to see what's new in attempts to crack the +ORC Riddle.

I've listed below responses from Ragin Wolf, The Joker, and Hackmore Readrite:

First, from Ragin Wolf, another look at the matrix approach. He writes:

"True Riddles" are "enigmatic questions in the form of descriptions whose referent must be guessed. From a Western literary point of view, these are the most interesting, for they employ witty devices in order to confuse".

Personally I do not think that this riddle will turn out to be so technical. After all, the hardest riddles are the ones that are right under our noses.

This is ONE way I am looking at it...

The idea is to use the bars and the visor position to generate numbers, and the "face" to modify the result (either full or half the result, depending on whether the visor is full face or profile. This is what it generates:

--metal-- -bars- ----visor---- ---face--- -change- --result--
GOLD n/a
raised=+1(?) full face=All
n/a full face=All
raised=+1(?) profile=Half
open=(?) full face=All
x or n/a
closed=(?) profile=Half

Which leads to URL = (yep, you guessed it, it didn't work!)

But it's an interesting approach, using one of the columns as a way of modifying what the other columns add to the URL...
Ragin Wolf also sent in a further analysis, as follows:

Here is another way of looking at the riddle. I am still TRYING to
revise ALL of the attempts I am making. Good Luck! Right? We WILL get it
sooner or later.

[006][+1][full=30][1(from characters)]
[nul][c?][half=30][2] and from the top to bottom...
[146][94][30][138] Still nothing! I am trying to fill in all gaps


Next, from the Joker , an idea about using the clues as an indicator to Barcodes. This was also suggested by Kongar and by Fravia+ himself. The Joker writes:


1. WHY FOR GOD'S SAKE "BARCODES" ??? This is the first question that comes to mind. What have barcodes to do with the +ORC riddle ? Now, try to put yourself in +ORC's place ( o.k., i know this isn't an easy thing to do :-) ). You have this secret pages, and you want them to be accessed only by the right people ( e.g. crackers with the right attitude and points of view) and not by some commercial, evil-minded jerks. So in order to protect your secret pages, you would come up with a riddle that only the "right" people were able to figure out ... So you won't choose one that could be solved by intelligent, but yet degenerated, slaves of the system. You would choose a clue for it that is totally alien to them, something only a REAL one would understand (and i believe that ZEN has to be required as well). Well, thats the point where Barcode - cracking comes in ...

2. NOW HOW COULD BARCODES BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE RIDDLE ? First of all, the riddle contains several references to bars (you're right, pal. This is really a bit high off the ground ...). Barcodes, as well as the riddle, contain information that is coded (so that luzers can't see what is behind the stuff :-) ), but this information can be received through cracking the shit as we all know. One possibility may be (I have to say at this point, shame on me, that i'm not yet experienced enough to have started cracking barcodes. So if we want to get serious about this approach, we have to get someone who knows what's going on with barcodes.) to transfer the digits of the URL (if you count the number of digits including the points in between, then you get 13 digits, the exact number of digits that a EAN European Barcode is made of ... Coincidence ???) modify the barcode somehow with the information provided in the riddle (please don't ask me how, i don't know yet. But there is information in there, and there are bars mentioned. Maybe i'm utterly wrong, maybe not. and then you get the proper graphical barcode. Then you decode it, and OOPS!, there you got that little CORRECTED URL. Ok, this leaves many questions unanswered, but it's a start and a possibility for an approach that would perfectly fit in the scheme, don't you think so ? There are some other ways how the barcode-thing could be applied to the riddle, just think about it. ... Don't forget to read +ORC's lesson on barcodes once more, there are a lot of things in there (Quote: "Cracker should always be capable of going beyond the obvious, seek knowledge where others do not see and do not venture...") .

I've gone into the Barcode idea a bit -- without luck so far -- but you can see where I've got to here


This set me thinking about how I'd approached the problem. I'd been looking at the Riddle from the "front door", asking the questions: What numbers does the Riddle give us? and How can we use them to modify the URL? The Joker's approach made me think you could look at the URL itself for clues about what you might do to change it, then see if this fits with the Riddle clues: what I call the "Backdoor" approach.

I remember another riddle from many years ago that illustrates this. It is said by a man looking at a picture of another man:

"Brothers and Sisters have I none, but that man's father is my father's son". Who is the man in the picture?

If you try to think it through from the front, it gets very tangled. If you start from the back, the last clause first, it's very simple.

So, does this give us anything with the URL: ?

Well, first, what is it in HEX? 83.5C.0F.80 ... Nothing vey special, but the displacements from zero in the smallest digit are quite low: +3,-4,-1,0 (ie 83-3=80, 5C+4=60, 0F+1=10, 80+0=80). The displacements from 80h or 00h are also smallish: +3, -24, +0F, 0. Do [3,-4,-1,0] or [3,-24, 0F, 0] mean anything in Riddle terms?

Does this help? I'm not sure, but it's a different way of looking at things. And it's finding the right "different way of looking" that I think will yield the answer.


Here is another, very detailed analysis, from Hackmore Readrite, DataMiners Inc.

Hackmore writes:

My Theory:

Metal = value: Gold, most significant,   = 1st = 131
               Silver, less significant, = 2nd = 92
                                         = 3rd = 15
               Steel, least significant, = 4th = 128
                                         = 5th = +ORC
With = add...

Bars = 1's in binary code, position in a byte is unknown, but this narrows
       the search somewhat. Note that the 3rd line indicates "four bars"
       which is represented as "00001111" in binary or "15" in decimal, which
       is the number in the third position in our link.

Visor = something that hides...  Open = nothing hidden
                                 raised = partialy hidden
                                 closed = totaly hidden

Full face  = you're looking right at it.
In profile = it's not all there
             NOTE: This could be reversed depending on if you're talking to
             a person, or hunting deer.

Royal titles: descend as we go down the list, as do the metals and the link,
              which leaves +ORC as the "gentleman" at the end.

This leaves us with...

   1st group = 131:  This may be the actual number, slightly changed,
                     (visor is raised) or we add a number which has 6
                     "1's" in its binary representation.
   2nd group =  92:  The actual number (full face) which must be added
                     to a number with 5 "1's" in its binary representation.

   3rd group =  15:  Half (in profile) of a part of a number (visor raised)
                     to which we add a number with 4 "1's" in its binary
                     representation. This to me is like a key. Only a "1"
                     or a "2" could be appended to the front of the number,
                     and only a "0" through "4" could be appended to the end.

   4th group = 128:  Nothing added (no bars, visor open, full face) this may
                     be the actual number we need here.
   5th group = +ORC  +ORC is a name he "hides" behind, as we all do on the
                     web, (visor closed), but "ORC" is not his whole "handle"
                     (in profile) This portion of my theory is also backed up
                     by the "+" sign. I do not recall seeing the "+" sign in
                     the early tutorials, (I may be wrong though, my memory
                     isn't what it used to be) and although it may be on all
                     tutorials now, this may have been added by our friend
                     +FRAVIA as he processed the tutorials for posting on his
                     webpages. IF my memory is correct, and I do mean IF, the
                     "+" sign began with the inception of +HCU. At that time
                     our good friend +ORC announced that all who passed the
                     test and became members of +HCU would also recieve the
                     "honor" of placing a "+" in front of thier name. In
                     another message from +ORC, he stated that the "+" was
                     a way of confusing his enemies and spiders and search
                     engines on the web.

And now for the bad news. All this theory is probably wasted. I
don't believe our dear friend +ORC still (if ever) maintains a webpage.
Since the closing of anon.penet.fi, he has become VERY paranoid! It does
not stand up to reason that a person that paranoid would maintain a webpage,
which must be done periodicaly, thereby exposing himself on a regular basis.
It also makes very little sense to me that someone so full of knowledge to
share, and who "preaches" that all knowledge SHOULD be shared, goes to such
great lengths to keep it all hidden.

Yes, like all knowledge, it could be abused by some, but those same
people could also learn assembly in school, then use that education to the
same abusive end. Abuse will always be around, until we gain the wisdom to
overcome it. The wisdom comes with knowledge, which our friend has a habit
of hiding. A child, playing with a light switch, is amazed at what it will
do. His parents, with thier wisdom, scold the child not to "abuse" the light
switch. When the child grows, and learns "how" the light switch "works", he
is no longer facinated with it, and so, no longer abuses it.

A pretty thorough analysis. He's probably right about the ORC's Web page, but if he's not...


That's all for now. Keep them cards and emails rolling.

the Basilisk

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