Don't like the snow? You can make a bookmark with the following text instead of a url: javascript:snowStorm.toggleSnow(). Clicking it will toggle the snow on and off.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Prisoner Encryption Code

Wedge BiggsWedge Biggs Registered User
edited June 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Alright, here's the deal: I work at the maximum security end of a regional state prison. When I came into work last night, there was a new incident report at the Command Post. One of my control officers was listening over the intercom, and heard an inmate yell off a string of numbers to the next block. The second inmate then yelled the same string to the next block, and this was repeated until it spread throughout the whole unit.

Any cryptoquote or excryption experts about? I'm sure I'm missing something simple with this one, but the lack of spaces is killing me. The last time something like this happened, an inmate was stabbed, so help would be appreciated.
Spoiler:

Wedge Biggs on
I ain't never crossed a man who didn't deserve it. - Artis Ivey Jr.
«13456

Posts

  • Dinosaur Equals GasDinosaur Equals Gas Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Oh man. I love this sort of stuff. Alright so I think I got the break down correctly.

    6 - 239
    1 - 165
    1 - 226
    2 - 39
    1 - 113
    2 - 178
    4 - 94
    5 - 181
    1 - 281
    4 - 13
    2 - 152
    1 - 281
    3 - 61
    6 - 65
    1 - 178
    2 - 52
    1 - 313
    1 - 265
    4 - 252
    2 - 222
    1 - 151
    1 - 81

    Where the first number is the number of appearances. Based on the amount of the number 65 that would normally be E then. So with that we can start breaking it down further. I'll post again if I made any progress. However it is also good to note that there are 22 different numbers, so chances are the message contains all letters of the alphabet except for X and Z. :)

  • ChalkbotChalkbot Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Damn, Dinosaur is a step ahead of me. I just finished plugging these in a spreadsheet to find the frequency, then came back to see he'd already done it.

  • Dinosaur Equals GasDinosaur Equals Gas Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Chalkbot wrote: »
    Damn, Dinosaur is a step ahead of me. I just finished plugging these in a spreadsheet to find the frequency, then came back to see he'd already done it.

    Winning many contests that contain crypto are on my side. :)

  • DrZiplockDrZiplock Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Look, I have no help or advice for you on this other than a simple hi5 for wanting to get this sorted out before someone gets hurt.

    Beyond that I'm pretty interested to see how this is broken down and cracked.


    However, something to keep in mind is that your prisoners might not be using an elaborate system as what may be presented here. Think of the code talkers back in the day. They couldn't be cracked because it was a whole other language. Let these guys dig, but keep an eye out for the far simplier answer.

    snap02869.jpg "zip, i dunno what it is about you, but there's something very cat-like about your face. i can't really place it. like, a puma or something. you'd make a good mountain lion." Hail Satan!
  • Wedge BiggsWedge Biggs Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Yeah, these are some crafty bastards tho. I wouldn't put it past them to omit vowels. There are only 21 different numbers in the cypher, but letters with lower frequency wouldn't show up in a message that short anyhow. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a number or two tossed in.

    I ain't never crossed a man who didn't deserve it. - Artis Ivey Jr.
  • Dinosaur Equals GasDinosaur Equals Gas Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Wedge Biggs, does this prison have a lot of spanish speaking prisoners or is it mainly English? Let me know. Thanks.

  • galenbladegalenblade Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Hah. I actually design codes for a job. Lemme see.

    Looking at that, it's worth noting that they're all under 300 or so. My gut tells me that they're reference numbers. Is there a book or a magazine (around 300 pages) that is distributed to members of the prison? They could be using a specific letter or word from each page.

    linksig.jpg
  • DrZiplockDrZiplock Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Specific letters or words from a page.

    Police codes (i.e. 187, etc..)

    Prisoner numbers

    Cell numbers


    Think at that level before you go deep into the deep mathmatical stuff.

    snap02869.jpg "zip, i dunno what it is about you, but there's something very cat-like about your face. i can't really place it. like, a puma or something. you'd make a good mountain lion." Hail Satan!
  • Wedge BiggsWedge Biggs Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Chances are there's a bit of slang, but this is an English one. Not a high enough ratio of Spanish speaking or Native American inmates here. 49 letters, so there's a possibility of a grid scramble, but not likely. I already the numbers into ascending order and assigned them letters so they could be broken down like a cryptogram, but the lack of spaces is killing me.

    I ain't never crossed a man who didn't deserve it. - Artis Ivey Jr.
  • NibbleNibble FormosaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Wouldn't a maximum security prison pay a professional to look at something like this? You should probably look into that.

    sig.php?id=178
  • DrZiplockDrZiplock Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    You don't happen to have the code that was used last time and basic info on the guy who was stabbed do you?

    snap02869.jpg "zip, i dunno what it is about you, but there's something very cat-like about your face. i can't really place it. like, a puma or something. you'd make a good mountain lion." Hail Satan!
  • Wedge BiggsWedge Biggs Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Not cell numbers, not police codes.

    I ain't never crossed a man who didn't deserve it. - Artis Ivey Jr.
  • Wedge BiggsWedge Biggs Registered User
    edited May 2009
    DrZiplock wrote: »
    You don't happen to have the code that was used last time and basic info on the guy who was stabbed do you?

    The last guy was a rat, and we never found a written code. They flush easily.

    I ain't never crossed a man who didn't deserve it. - Artis Ivey Jr.
  • Wedge BiggsWedge Biggs Registered User
    edited May 2009
    galenblade wrote: »
    Hah. I actually design codes for a job. Lemme see.

    Looking at that, it's worth noting that they're all under 300 or so. My gut tells me that they're reference numbers. Is there a book or a magazine (around 300 pages) that is distributed to members of the prison? They could be using a specific letter or word from each page.

    We don't have any widespread distributions on the Max side. Too easy for them to make into a weapon.

    I ain't never crossed a man who didn't deserve it. - Artis Ivey Jr.
  • Wedge BiggsWedge Biggs Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Nibble wrote: »
    Wouldn't a maximum security prison pay a professional to look at something like this? You should probably look into that.

    This is in Montana. Our budget is shit. The only reason I even know about it is because we had a new officer who was actually doing his job.

    I ain't never crossed a man who didn't deserve it. - Artis Ivey Jr.
  • galenbladegalenblade Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    galenblade wrote: »
    Hah. I actually design codes for a job. Lemme see.

    Looking at that, it's worth noting that they're all under 300 or so. My gut tells me that they're reference numbers. Is there a book or a magazine (around 300 pages) that is distributed to members of the prison? They could be using a specific letter or word from each page.

    We don't have any widespread distributions on the Max side. Too easy for them to make into a weapon.

    Is there a common reference point that everyone (or at least those who repeated the code) have access to? Like a book in a library, or a bulletin board, or something written of that nature?

    linksig.jpg
  • Wedge BiggsWedge Biggs Registered User
    edited May 2009
    galenblade wrote: »
    galenblade wrote: »
    Hah. I actually design codes for a job. Lemme see.

    Looking at that, it's worth noting that they're all under 300 or so. My gut tells me that they're reference numbers. Is there a book or a magazine (around 300 pages) that is distributed to members of the prison? They could be using a specific letter or word from each page.

    We don't have any widespread distributions on the Max side. Too easy for them to make into a weapon.

    Is there a common reference point that everyone (or at least those who repeated the code) have access to? Like a book in a library, or a bulletin board, or something written of that nature?

    Negative. Locked down 23 hours a day, when they're good enough to have yard. No library privileges in Max. Nothing common enough to reference. We keep the blocks from being uniform for that reason.

    I ain't never crossed a man who didn't deserve it. - Artis Ivey Jr.
  • ceresceres Just your problem OooModerator mod
    edited May 2009
    All I can tell you is that my first thought when I saw it was "no numbers over 256". It got me thinking URLs.

    This possibly popped out at me because I got my CCNA last year. There don't seem to be the right number to divide easily by 4 for a list of URLs though.

    I've got my own life and I've got my own plans
    I hope you understand, and like the way that I am
    Dear Satan...
  • galenbladegalenblade Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    galenblade wrote: »
    galenblade wrote: »
    Hah. I actually design codes for a job. Lemme see.

    Looking at that, it's worth noting that they're all under 300 or so. My gut tells me that they're reference numbers. Is there a book or a magazine (around 300 pages) that is distributed to members of the prison? They could be using a specific letter or word from each page.

    We don't have any widespread distributions on the Max side. Too easy for them to make into a weapon.

    Is there a common reference point that everyone (or at least those who repeated the code) have access to? Like a book in a library, or a bulletin board, or something written of that nature?

    Negative. Locked down 23 hours a day, when they're good enough to have yard. No library privileges in Max. Nothing common enough to reference. We keep the blocks from being uniform for that reason.

    Ok, so maybe the key is something memorized. Regardless, that could be anything (The birthday song, the pledge of allegiance) so I'll just bash my head against a pad for a bit. It LOOKS like a simple substitution, so we'll see.

    linksig.jpg
  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Tighter than R. Kelly in his teens. Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I'll bet it's:
    Spoiler:

    But really, this is pretty interesting. Makes me wish I could do math.

    PSN/WiiU: TheMakersMark
  • Dinosaur Equals GasDinosaur Equals Gas Registered User
    edited May 2009
    galenblade wrote: »
    galenblade wrote: »
    galenblade wrote: »
    Hah. I actually design codes for a job. Lemme see.

    Looking at that, it's worth noting that they're all under 300 or so. My gut tells me that they're reference numbers. Is there a book or a magazine (around 300 pages) that is distributed to members of the prison? They could be using a specific letter or word from each page.

    We don't have any widespread distributions on the Max side. Too easy for them to make into a weapon.

    Is there a common reference point that everyone (or at least those who repeated the code) have access to? Like a book in a library, or a bulletin board, or something written of that nature?

    Negative. Locked down 23 hours a day, when they're good enough to have yard. No library privileges in Max. Nothing common enough to reference. We keep the blocks from being uniform for that reason.

    Ok, so maybe the key is something memorized. Regardless, that could be anything (The birthday song, the pledge of allegiance) so I'll just bash my head against a pad for a bit. It LOOKS like a simple substitution, so we'll see.

    I agree with this man.

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    galenblade wrote: »
    Hah. I actually design codes for a job. Lemme see.

    Looking at that, it's worth noting that they're all under 300 or so. My gut tells me that they're reference numbers. Is there a book or a magazine (around 300 pages) that is distributed to members of the prison? They could be using a specific letter or word from each page.

    This was the first thing I thought. Page numbers. Books checked out from the library cart with words underlined on specific pages with pencil would be a really good way to pass messages.

    Maybe it's a gang code--is there anyone you can contact to run it by, maybe state police?

  • Wedge BiggsWedge Biggs Registered User
    edited May 2009
    RUNN1NGMAN wrote: »
    galenblade wrote: »
    Hah. I actually design codes for a job. Lemme see.

    Looking at that, it's worth noting that they're all under 300 or so. My gut tells me that they're reference numbers. Is there a book or a magazine (around 300 pages) that is distributed to members of the prison? They could be using a specific letter or word from each page.

    This was the first thing I thought. Page numbers. Books checked out from the library cart with words underlined on specific pages with pencil would be a really good way to pass messages.

    We have six different blocks, each with their own book cart. The librarian makes sure there are only single copies in the unit. Books don't come from one block to the other. Once they come off, they're usually so trashed and used that they're destroyed. I'm thinking substitution. Our known gang members are separated from the blocks this was happening on. Gangs have never really been a big problem here.

    I ain't never crossed a man who didn't deserve it. - Artis Ivey Jr.
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Do each blocks get a copy of the bible?

  • The Count Of Midget FistoThe Count Of Midget Fisto Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Are they issued a bible?
    Spoiler:

    In Low Orbit Over Budapest
  • Wedge BiggsWedge Biggs Registered User
    edited May 2009
    bowen wrote: »
    Do each blocks get a copy of the bible?

    Yes, they do. But even if they were going by chapter, verse, page, paragraph, word, or letter, the same numbers correspond to the same letters. Still a substitution problem.

    I ain't never crossed a man who didn't deserve it. - Artis Ivey Jr.
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I figured that'd be the common book. Good luck trying to go from there though.

  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I was able to decode it pretty quickly, it actually reads:
    Spoiler:

    Raneados wrote: »
    so what SPECIFICALLY is the problem with my hole?
  • Wedge BiggsWedge Biggs Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Heh, we have our Goon Squad doing that as we speak.

    I ain't never crossed a man who didn't deserve it. - Artis Ivey Jr.
  • GrimReaperGrimReaper Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Are there any more like this? Or is it just a one off?

    If they're using the equivalent of a one time pad then you're screwed. If they're not being that clever then i'd try to get more samples of this to try and do some frequency analysis.

    I recommend reading Simon Singhs The Code Book. Also, i'd suggest posting this on a crypt analysis forum.

    PSN | Steam
    ---
    I've got a spare copy of Portal, if anyone wants it message me.
  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    There is one double letter of 252 252.

    Three digrams appear twice, no repeated digrams otherwise. 281 94, 178 52, 239 65.

    The index of coincidence doesn't seem to line up with English but I ran it through an old program of mine that may be calculating it incorrectly because I think I had it setup to look for vigeneres and I'm just telling it to use a key length of 1 to represent a simple cipher, I'm going to ignore this bit because it looks like a simple substitution still...

    Looking at the numbers I saw two patterns, there were a few numbers being multiples of 13 (particularly the first lowest numbers, 13 39 52 65) and quite a few double digit numbers appear again with a 1, 2, or 3 prefixed.

    13 113 313
    39 239
    52 152 252
    61 261
    65 165 265
    81 181 281

    94, 151, 178, 222, and 226 are the only "unique" values of this pattern. Not quite sure what those patterns will say or if they're even one at all.

    TwitchTV channel: OrokosPA OrokosPA
    Play D&D 4e? :: Check out Orokos and upload your Character Builder sheet! :: Orokos Dice Roller
    The PhalLounge :: Chat board for Critical Failures IRC! :: #CriticalFailures and #mafia on irc.slashnet.org
  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Additionally it could just be a random string of numbers meant to distract and confuse the guards.

    Raneados wrote: »
    so what SPECIFICALLY is the problem with my hole?
  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Why would you want the goons to come down on you, which is what happened due to them getting caught, if you didn't have something to say?

    TwitchTV channel: OrokosPA OrokosPA
    Play D&D 4e? :: Check out Orokos and upload your Character Builder sheet! :: Orokos Dice Roller
    The PhalLounge :: Chat board for Critical Failures IRC! :: #CriticalFailures and #mafia on irc.slashnet.org
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I noticed that 13 thing too, I couldn't really get anything on it though. I tried dropping the first and last digit on the triple digit numbers to see if it'd fit into an alphabet, but I couldn't get anything there either. My other guess was that the double digits are using 0 are their first significant digit and it's telling you to go from the left or right of a letter if it's odd or even, but that didn't turn up anything either really. Of course I was working with A and Z instead of whatever letter they determined it to be.

  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    The big problem here is that even if you do decipher the message, you'll probably have no way of knowing who it was from, or who it was intended for. If they're smart (and they're smart enough to be passing messages like this), only the sender and final recipient will have the "key" -- probably a book as some have suggested -- so only those two will be able to make heads or tails of the numbers (and everyone else has plausible deniability).

    And even if you crack the code, all of the nouns will likely be replaced with codewords. You're not going to get "Jenkins is to be stabbed during our teabreak", it'll be "Take off Cinderella's slippers at the ball".

    I know it's exciting and mysterious and all, but I just don't think there's any progress to be made here. :(

    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • DrZiplockDrZiplock Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I still think that the KISS principle applies here.

    You're talking about an increasingly complex string of math, as I understand it. While clever, how clever are we talking here.

    They're not teaching each other calculus in the yard for an hour a day.

    snap02869.jpg "zip, i dunno what it is about you, but there's something very cat-like about your face. i can't really place it. like, a puma or something. you'd make a good mountain lion." Hail Satan!
  • TK-42-1TK-42-1 Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    way to rain on the parade

    sig.jpgsmugriders.gif
  • wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    TK-42-1 wrote: »
    way to rain on the parade

    Sorry. But lives are potentially at stake. If the question is, "do we try to crack this code, or do we go ahead and lock things down and start searching cells", the answer needs to be to search cells. I wish life was like the movies, too.

    BTW, I got a message from Obs that equated installing OS X on a PC with car theft, murder and rape. Is he normally like that?
  • DrZiplockDrZiplock Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I'm agreeing with pixel boy.

    snap02869.jpg "zip, i dunno what it is about you, but there's something very cat-like about your face. i can't really place it. like, a puma or something. you'd make a good mountain lion." Hail Satan!
  • Wedge BiggsWedge Biggs Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Substitution with slang is the way to go here. Even if they're using keys or grids, brute force is the easiest way I see.

    Cells are being searched as we speak.

    I ain't never crossed a man who didn't deserve it. - Artis Ivey Jr.
«13456
Sign In or Register to comment.