From the second onion we got a third onion address which dumps the following message via HTTP:
How the coordinates worked
After a while the third onion started to get updated with coordinates from around the world. In everyone of the coordinates there was an A4 paper with a cicada printed to it, a phone number
and after that two english characters. By decrypting the characters to numbers with the use of gematria (a hint of gematria was found in a past part of the riddle)we used the numbers as access code while calling the phone number of each of the coords.
Each phone number provided us with an offset and a file message followed by the main message. Upon decrypting the message, it would show you an .onion site having something like the following example from Oregon:
Hash: SHA1 ssss, Threshold: 5 09-82a98a7fe06014f783b752506cf6cd1fabaa3d8b3750 Good luck. 3301
The SSSS means Shamir's Secret Sharing Scheme. For those unfamiliar with secret sharing scheme In cryptography, a secret sharing scheme is a method for distributing a secret amongst a group of participants, each of which is allocated a share of the secret. The secret can only be reconstructed when the shares are combined together; individual shares are of no use on their own. More formally, in a secret sharing scheme there is one dealer and n players. The dealer gives a secret to the players, but only when specific conditions are fulfilled. The dealer accomplishes this by giving each player a share in such a way that any group of t (for threshold) or more players can together reconstruct the secret but no group of less than t players can. Such a system is called a (t,n)-threshold scheme.
Here is the complete list of the drops and all the possible information found by the participants:
|Location||Coordinates||Image||Phone #||Access code||Message file / offset||Message||Onion||SSSS|
|Dallas TX||33.092817, -96.08265||+1 205-396-3301||JD: 3789||17, offset 16433 (actually 33461)||f6a2d0a48e1b1ae40cbd454f77baa7d2557683d0cd4998||y2wyuvrqraowagc5.onion||02-41cc481a51fe77f91600f593c1db2ce9babd2626ea6e|
|Okinawa Japan||26.41968, 127.73254||img||+1 626-586-1033||YF: 1032||13, offset 37861||f286b8438cb85eb191ec7bf10a28a54ec06f9a27eb91c5||wzwmcwmsk5cb7gjn.onion||03-7678a5f6b72042d839151b34b02ffe161cf997fed484|
|Moscow, Russia||55.793765, 37.578608||img||+1 928-237-3301||CR: 1311||13, offset 1111111||c657b2707c4266fda4af4a83acf19cc46e69540c0bc5da||qw7mhchzvuq6f2mf.onion||05-fcd82965b6632ea25d80edc3e58baafb4b2938895cbd|
|Little Rock, AR||34.7477910, -92.2690863||img||+1 719-428-3301||LM: 7167||13, offset 13831||5edb5e8029dd2182560da925ec6cd3e1257efc0b8328b4||4l6uipnstbggwjyv.onion||07-f3adb3aacb0b4336fa28178bc1e5edce940c16ce5caa|
|Unkown Location. (Possibly Annapolis, MD*)||38.977845, -76.486451||*was not physically recovered||+1 253-655-1033||PX: 4347||17, offset 77977||d5a6cb76e55a2166bd6a4d78857ec1f68ea6afa9738||erwfcsdvx6pm2rsk.onion||08-b970e507dbc4ac115a273126f62671654c480fce32e5|
|Portland, OR||45.50092, -122.652512||+1 424-999-1033||GH: 1723||13, offset 12821||28c07e1b102d4d5c4c1a376e064477e1416fcc94928765||gbyh7znm6c7ezsmr.onion||09-82a98a7fe06014f783b752506cf6cd1fabaa3d8b3750|
|Columbus, GA||32.478944, -84.983674||img||+1 469-251-1033||NR: 2911||17, offset 617||d4b10626d65995e8fb010f4388787d56433f90c6df8d8d||ll5afyskb6v6g7ga.onion||10-1668a611ba9fccddee2a0d8fd7e05df4d01c6d42a26davk|
Decrypting the SSSS message
In order to get the secret message we needed exactly 5 SSSS parts (given the threshold 5 in the .onion pages). When someone decrypted the message (something that can be done here) it directed to another .onion page: p7amjopgric7dfdi.onion
*The Bruteforced Number
As you know one drop (Annapolis) was torn down and we didn't get any new onion coordinates. We bravely start to wardial all possible phonenumbers that ends with 1033, and surprisingly found working one. Gods of faith play dirty game so we didn't record first successful code entry and then number went down. Few hours later (01:36 GMT 19.1.2013) phonenumber was back up and we were able to get last needed ssss code.