# Puzzle: Decode the message - SBD Giveaway challenge

in #science5 years ago (edited)

#### EDIT: Hint #3 released! Secure your prize! Scroll to the bottom.

Hello fellow Steemiacs,

we are all engaged with cryptography when we spend time on the various blockchains such as Steemit.
Inspired by recent events, including our dear Steem tokens finally finding increased value appreciation again, I am starting a minnow-level SBD giveaway challenge.

Although I do not have the technical knowledge to understand the mathematics behind SHA256, I very much like the idea of coding and decoding messages and will keep it relatively simple here.

............

### The challenge:

Recently, I was roaming along a far-distant beach and found a bottle on the shore with a papyrus roll inside:

I removed the plug from the bottle and found a weird gibberish message written on the roll:

#### UDBDUBUUBBUHBHBBHDBDBUUBBHBUBUUUBDBUUUDUUDHHUHDUUUBBUBDBUUUBDUBUDB

What does it mean? I am calling you for help to decipher the message!

In addition, you need to help me encrypt my own message that I intend to mail back to the mystic sender through the ocean:

............

### What is in there for you?

The first three participants who correctly manage to decipher the message from the bottle and encrypt my message according to the same encryption rules, can win:

1. 5 SBD + 25% of this post's SBD payout

2. 3 SBD + 15% of this post's SBD payout

3. 2 SBD+ 10% of this post's SBD payout

As a final task, you have to state one fundamental problem with this encryption method.

............

### The rules:

1. Upvote this post (resteeming is optional, yet highly appreciated).

2. Decrypt the message in the bottle, encrypt my message and describe at least one fundamental problem with the applied encryption method.

3. The solution must not be posted in any comment under this post.

4. Once you found a solution, comment under this post that you participate in the challenge and send me your answer either per steemit.chat to @replichara or as a hidden memo according to the form “# answer” (detailed instructions here.)
I will reimburse you the 0.001 SBD that you have to spend to send me the memo.

4. The quickest three participants to send a correct solution will be awarded.

5. As soon as the three winners are found I will edit this post to end the challenge in order for no one to waste their time and efforts.

6. If the challenge is not completed by day 2 after the publication of this post, I will add a first hint towards the solution, by day 4 a second and by day 5 a third hint that should help you to solve the problem!

Now, have fun solving the puzzle!

~~~ I promise you won't need this Enigma machine designed by a German engineer in 1918 and widely used in WW2 (exhibited in the German spionage museum in Berlin) ~~~

Yours, @replichara

#### Image sources:

(1) Pixabay
(2) Pixabay
(3) Deutsches Spionagemuseum

#### Hint #1:

The encryption method utilizes three transformation steps.
The first step of the decryption or the last step of the encryption is one of the most basic cryptographic procedures.
The second and third steps of the decryption or the first and second steps of the encryption are the tricky ones, but can be processed within one step if using the appropriate method/tool.

#### Hint #2:

One of the most basic cryptographic procedures is the shifting of alphabet letters. For instance, every letter of a message becomes substituted by the letter that is two letters ahead in the alphabet: an "A" becomes a "C", a "B" becomes a "D", and so on.
In the last step of the encryption of the message in the bottle, such a letter shifting method is utilized.

#### Hint #2.1:

Keep it simple, folks!

#### Hint #3

In 1953 Francis Crick, James Watson, Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins managed to crack the three-dimensional structure of deoxyribonucleic acid - shortly, DNA. The quintessence of DNA's structure is that two strands of molecular polymers intertwine with each other to form a double helix while each pointing into opposite directions. The beauty of DNA is that knowing the chemical composition of one strand, you automatically know the composition of the second, complementary strand.
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Thanks for participating and congratulations @tking77798 and @eonwarped ! I had fun!
I will follow up on the puzzle with a post that resolves it!

5 years ago (edited)

I've been trying to figure this out since you mentioned it in the SteemSTEM chat. I'm pretty I sure understood the core to the riddle right away. However, its still not making sense. I suppose I'll wait for the next hint, but I feel like I overcame the hard part and now I'm missing something obvious.

I participate in this challenge

Darn, I did spend a significant amount of time and can say the second hint wasn't so helpful. Ah well. Good luck other folks!

I've been attacking it from the point of view that there's a substitution cipher (rotating is a special case) and some other dastardly manipulation involving a box of some sort. No luck there.

I was guessing an expansion of the original text into a three letter code replacements followed by some structured shuffling.

I give up :) . Fun puzzle though.

Give it another try after the third hint, then!

I think I need to know more about the second and third steps to make any head way, but likely any information you give could give it away?

Third hint is coming soon ;-)

Ohhh! Okay I'll see. I thought 2.1 was the third hint and thought you were just taunting me haha! :P

I just realized I made a logical mistake in the hints. Shame on me! The first step that I was talking about is actually the last step of the encryption! Post edited.

5 years ago (edited)

OMG. Clever! And I was at some point going "hmm... 4 letters are like nucleotides". Nahhhh that's not it. Cool, I think I know, just now need the right tool...

EDIT: I participate in this challenge (sent by steemit.chat)

Interestingly enough, my strategy of splitting into triplets initially would have worked with one more tweak , but without the hint I likely would have been stuck trying to figure out how to make the missing letters of the code we are supposed to re-encode with this method.

Looks like fun! My daughter just got through reading a book where the main characters had to solve a bunch of ciphers to find buried treasure. I'll probably have to wait for someone else to crack your message, though.

That reminded me of the 90ies computer / nintendo Dizzy game series - navigating an egg through medieval kind of worlds to solve puzzles and help him rescue his family members from the evil wizard. It was pretty fun.

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