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*** SPOILER ALERT *** Mission 4 - The REAL DNA answer

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ptoal

ptoal

Automaton Tech

from Ontario, Canada
216 posts

Okay guys,

This one has been bugging me for the past couple of hours.  I read all the forum posts I could find, but none seemed right.

The heist was "short-circuited" a bit, because someone managed to reverse-DNS the trapped in darkness website.  Here's how it _should_ have been done:

The DNA pictures show strands of DNA.  Each strand has part of the message encoded. (FYI, DNA base pairs can have a G&C combination, or an A&T combination, but not eg: C&T, or G&T, etc)  So we only need "half" of the DNA strand to work with (which is good, because DNA replicates by getting "unzipped" into two pieces, each a mirror image of each other).  Okay.. enough about biology (a topic about which I know next to nothing).  The "color-key" for this puzzle is in the 3D maze.

UPDATE: Here's the mapping of the DNA strands courtesy of <domestic> on IRC:
http://skitch.com/domestichna/rqqt/puri … yrimidines

Anyway, if we decode the DNA, we get:
Left strand:
ACG AGA GCC CCC CCG GAA GAT
Middle Strand:
ATT AAT AGC ATA GAC GAG
Right Strand:
GAT GCG AGG AAA AAC GAA AGC AGT

Look the amino acids up here:
http://www.cbs.dtu.dk/courses/27619/codon.html

and you get:

Left Strand:
ACG: T
AGA: R
GCC: A
CCC: P
CCG: P
GAA: E
GAT: D

Middle Strand:
ATT: I
AAT: N
AGC: S
ATA: I
GAC: D
GAG: E


Right Strand:
GAT: D
GCG: A
AGG: R
AAA: K
AAC: N
GAA: E
AGC: S
AGT: S


Cheers,
Wolf

In theory, theory and practice are the same, in practice, they are not.

January 8, 2008 3:58 am

HolyJaw

Tinkerer

19 posts

Thanks for making it seem so simple. I'm gonna go cry now... IRC and forums thank you.

*cheers*, HolyJaw.

January 8, 2008 4:01 am
definetheline

definetheline

Sky Pirate

from Canada
1,512 posts

Wow. After all that work. That was easy...

the greatest blog known to mankind / twitter / flickr

January 8, 2008 4:22 am
domestichna

domestichna

Urchin

from Lahti, Finland
3 posts

If someone wants to clean this further, I added the missing letters
and divided it to sections of three for convenience.
Takes forever to do this and I've solved it so why bother :)
skitch .com/domestichna/rqqt/purines-and-pyrimidines

January 8, 2008 4:40 am
orlina

orlina

Gearhead

from Chicago
70 posts

Well done!

@popsiclechief

January 8, 2008 5:33 am
ian.watkinson

ian.watkinson

Tinkerer

14 posts

Indeed, it was one of the parts I skipped as it seemed to
a) have already been done
b) look like hard work :-)

Thanks for posting how easy it was, and a great explanantion

January 8, 2008 9:09 am
rahein

rahein

Tinkerer

from London
28 posts

Illuminating! Thank you!

Macintsoh - drinking upstream from the herd

January 8, 2008 9:12 am
smcc12

smcc12

Tinkerer

from Minneapolis, MN
22 posts

Thank you! smile This makes sense tongue

"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." -Abraham Lincoln

January 8, 2008 12:47 pm
kevsteelio

kevsteelio

Urchin

from American Fork Utah
3 posts

Hmmm.  Interesting. 

"trappedinsidedarkness dot com" shows up as a black website with a very faint picture of a maze called darkness.png

Kevsteelio - Armageddon is the Safeword

January 8, 2008 1:00 pm
roos

roos

Automaton Tech

from Minnesota
287 posts

domestichna wrote:

If someone wants to clean this further, I added the missing letters
and divided it to sections of three for convenience.
Takes forever to do this and I've solved it so why bother smile
skitch .com/domestichna/rqqt/purines-and-pyrimidines

Thanks for taking the time. It's very helpful when it comes to documenting it for the Wiki.

The one thing to note is that the center one goes not down but in the rotating order following the edge ... ribbons (not a biologist either, sorry).

One side the first 3 characters are "stop", so you use the other side.

Aym

Psyched to be back for MacHeist 4!

Retina MacBook Pro | iPad 2 | iPhone 4S

January 8, 2008 1:50 pm
macfoo

macfoo

Automaton Tech

from Hell in a handbasket.
266 posts

Thank you very much!!! I was worried I was going crazy when I couldn't figure that one out.

Join me in finding a CURE!!!
Relay For Life

January 8, 2008 1:55 pm
ptoal

ptoal

Automaton Tech

from Ontario, Canada
216 posts

roos wrote:

The one thing to note is that the center one goes not down but in the rotating order following the edge ... ribbons (not a biologist either, sorry).

One side the first 3 characters are "stop", so you use the other side.

Aym

Yes.  Exactly correct.  The other two are spirals as well but without the double-helix they are easier to read.  It was probably a design decision by the author of the puzzle to do only one double-helix in order to make things a little easier.

Speaking of the authors... A _big_ thank-you to everyone at MH that puts these puzzles together.  I _HAD_ to solve this one, because I know someone(s) worked very hard to create it.  It kind-of cheesed me off that everyone forgot about this puzzle in their quest to get to the loot first.  On the other hand, it gave me the chance to be the first one to solve a puzzle. smile

Again.  BIG thanks for all the work that goes into MH.

Cheers,
Wolf

In theory, theory and practice are the same, in practice, they are not.

January 8, 2008 1:58 pm
mooseworks

mooseworks

Automaton Tech

from Manchester UK
350 posts

@ptoal  you totally rock, well done.  Two things I was wondering though...
you reference "The "color-key" for this puzzle is in the 3D maze."
Not sure what you mean by this.
and reverse-DNS???!?!?! what, how, eh?  if you have something to work on i.e. an ip, then why not just use the ip, instead of finding the URL, if you have no ip to go from, how do you work out thereis something to find (if that makes any sense?)

http://www.mooseworks.co.uk/
http://blog.alexgreen.co.uk/
http://www.alexgreen.co.uk/

January 8, 2008 4:18 pm
pastrygirl

pastrygirl

Gearhead

70 posts

The letters on the wall of the maze were in different colors (yellow, blue, etc.)

ETA: VERY COOL, btw!! I used to love DNA stuff when I was younger. Much younger...

January 8, 2008 4:45 pm
domestichna

domestichna

Urchin

from Lahti, Finland
3 posts

Corrected image: img.skitch.com/20080108-rhp88pbewcs6muias1j8p6i274.jpg

January 8, 2008 4:48 pm
mooseworks

mooseworks

Automaton Tech

from Manchester UK
350 posts

Ah, I get it.
Couldn't get the plug-in to work as it was immediately after I installed it that Safari stopped responding and upon a warm shutdown, my HD had died!!! Sucks, off to the Applestore tonight to get things fixed. (hopefully)


still unsure as to what ip address was used to reverse dns lookup!

http://www.mooseworks.co.uk/
http://blog.alexgreen.co.uk/
http://www.alexgreen.co.uk/

January 8, 2008 6:19 pm
ptoal

ptoal

Automaton Tech

from Ontario, Canada
216 posts

mooseworks wrote:

@ptoal  you totally rock, well done.  Two things I was wondering though...
you reference "The "color-key" for this puzzle is in the 3D maze."
Not sure what you mean by this.
and reverse-DNS???!?!?! what, how, eh?  if you have something to work on i.e. an ip, then why not just use the ip, instead of finding the URL, if you have no ip to go from, how do you work out thereis something to find (if that makes any sense?)

The colour key maps the DNA colours to their nucleotide letters.  Eg: Red = A, Blue = T, etc.

The IP address thing is more complicated.  The guys that "hacked" this heist used DomainTools.com Reverse-IP search. How you "hack" the heist is simple... Go to DomainTools Reverse IP lookup tool, and type in the ms-randd.com host name.  DomainTools will give you this:

There are 6 domains hosted on this IP address.
Here are a few of them:

Ms-randd.com
Purinesandpyrimidines.com
Racksandballs.com
3 more...

If you have an account with them, or pay the fee, they will show you the other 3 domains that also have "A" records that point to the same server.  I presume that the other web sites for this heist showed up, and this is how the DNA puzzle was cheated.

The other part of your question was: Why can't you just connect to the IP?  The answer is that by using name-based VirtualHosts, you can host the web site for multiple domains on a single IP address. (eg: ms-randd.com, purinesandpyrimidines.com, racksandballs.com, etc are all on the same IP).  The way the server knows which one to serve to you is by the URL that your browser sends with it's HTTP GET request.  Thus, if you request http://ms-randd.com, you get site A, and if you request http://purinesandpyrimidines.com, you get site B, etc.  There's _no_ way to ask the server for a "list" of all the domains it hosts.  Normally, you can't tell what web sites are hosted on a single server.  (In fact, hosting providers typically put dozens of customers on one IP address, and use name-based VirtualHosts to serve each one.).  Thus, a tool like the Reverse IP tool was needed.

I'm sure this wasn't something the directorate knew about in advance.  I certainly had no idea there was a company out there walking the entire distributed DNS database, from TLD on down, and caching it for this purpose.  I presume this is what they do, since it seems to be the only way to do it that I can think of.  It must be a massive database.  Regardless, it's one more thing that the Directorate will have learned to take into consideration for future heists. :-)

Cheers,
Wolf

In theory, theory and practice are the same, in practice, they are not.

January 8, 2008 8:25 pm
eddy

eddy

Tinkerer

from Michigan, USA
39 posts

ptoal wrote:

Speaking of the authors... A _big_ thank-you to everyone at MH that puts these puzzles together.

Hear hear!

And major kudos to you Wolf for the sweet summary. I was a little bummed that somebody used reverse-DNS and "short-circuited" this puzzle. Thank you very much for the great explanation of how you solve this puzzle!

January 8, 2008 8:35 pm
AriX

AriX

Automaton Tech

from Pennsylvania
213 posts

kevsteelio wrote:

Hmmm.  Interesting. 

"trappedinsidedarkness dot com" shows up as a black website with a very faint picture of a maze called darkness.png

Uhm. Duh. We've already found this, it helped us finish the heist.

Proud member of the Orange team!
Let's go into theAmazon. tongue

January 8, 2008 9:19 pm
l0k1

l0k1

Automaton Tech

from oregon
274 posts

thanks very much, ptoal.  that's much more gratifying than reverse dns.  i appreciate your explanation and effort.

..::01101001::01101101::01110100::..

January 8, 2008 9:27 pm

jmckible

Urchin

1 posts

OK, yes, dumb question I'm sure... but I don't see how this results in the 4 letter code needed to open the safe?

January 9, 2008 12:57 am

AvaPro

Urchin

5 posts

I decoded the scrambled sound (each time the message went to noise) through a spectrograph, and came up with this:

"THE" "GARDEN" "OF" "FORKING" "PATHS"

Probably has revelance, but I don't know.


A\/aPro

January 9, 2008 1:06 am
newsdork

newsdork

Sky Pirate

from Tennessee
1,477 posts

ptoal wrote:

Speaking of the authors... A _big_ thank-you to everyone at MH that puts these puzzles together.  I _HAD_ to solve this one, because I know someone(s) worked very hard to create it.  It kind-of cheesed me off that everyone forgot about this puzzle in their quest to get to the loot first.  On the other hand, it gave me the chance to be the first one to solve a puzzle. smile

Again.  BIG thanks for all the work that goes into MH.

Cheers,
Wolf

I agree. A great heist, though I couldn't do all of it. And thanks to you, Wolf, for solving that part of the heist. I was wondering how that part had been jumped through so fast. I never really saw an explanation, just the next website. Nice work.

Sometimes I feel so blue
It makes me twitter.

January 9, 2008 3:48 am

[GroM]

Urchin

6 posts

h__p://thegardenofforkingpaths.com/maze.jpg

+
if we read the phrase from mysterious pdf via numbers we get:
"and Balls of Bats Racks for Pinions with"

any ideas?

I think we need to solve maze...by walking through - we will get instructions what to do...

January 9, 2008 1:37 pm

[GroM]

Urchin

6 posts

walked maze from left entrance on left picture till exit:
swordsofthetelevisiongeneration

h++p://swordsofthetelevisiongeneration.com shows something interesting...or nothing smile

gotcha!
here we need to download plugin...I think for Safari...I have Firefox & Windows ((
h++p://swordsofthetelevisiongeneration.com/a_plugin.zip

my guesstures:
then go to trappedinsidedarkness.com and there u will see the image...or code...
or simply refresh page of swordsofthetelevisiongeneration.com and you will see something...

report please the results smile

January 9, 2008 1:53 pm
JPDyson

JPDyson

Moderator

3,580 posts

[GroM] wrote:

walked maze from left entrance on left picture till exit:
swordsofthetelevisiongeneration

h++p://swordsofthetelevisiongeneration.com shows something interesting...or nothing smile

gotcha!
here we need to download plugin...I think for Safari...I have Firefox & Windows ((
h++p://swordsofthetelevisiongeneration.com/a_plugin.zip

my guesstures:
then go to trappedinsidedarkness.com and there u will see the image...or code...
or simply refresh page of swordsofthetelevisiongeneration.com and you will see something...

report please the results smile

Perhaps you should read back a few pages... this has already been covered. Also, check the Wiki.

PM me | Twitter

January 9, 2008 2:15 pm

[GroM]

Urchin

6 posts

how many pages to read back if I see only one back??

January 9, 2008 2:16 pm
ptoal

ptoal

Automaton Tech

from Ontario, Canada
216 posts

[GroM] wrote:

h__p://thegardenofforkingpaths.com/maze.jpg

+
if we read the phrase from mysterious pdf via numbers we get:
"and Balls of Bats Racks for Pinions with"

any ideas?

I think we need to solve maze...by walking through - we will get instructions what to do...

Sorry folks, this isn't the thread for the whole mission spoiler.  I created this thread specifically to address the fact that one of the puzzles had been skipped over, and I wanted people to get the _real_ answer, not the crap that was in the mission spoiler thread about feeding the DNA into some online web decoding tool.

If you need help with the other parts of the mission, please look at the other thread here: http://www.macheist.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=6435 or try the wiki.

Thanks,
Wolf

In theory, theory and practice are the same, in practice, they are not.

January 9, 2008 3:17 pm
MacHeist Forums » The Backroom » *** SPOILER ALERT *** Mission 4 - The REAL DNA answer

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