This year’s annual Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR) continued the tradition of including a puzzle within the report's cover for those intrepid puzzle enthusiasts such as myself. Kudos to the Verizon team for continuing the tradition year after year! Due to travel and illness, I got off to a late start puzzling; however, I managed to take second place in the end.
The primary game website and twitter account for this year is http://breachemon.infos.ec and @breachemon. The task was to solve at least 8 out of 10 possible puzzles from a Pokémon themed world map. Some puzzles were fairly straight forward, while others were considerably more obtuse. Some brief solutions to the more obscure puzzles are provided below. Spoilers ahead.
Puzzle: "It is rumored this breachemon type was created by a mad scientist at Mr. Figgis's PI company. The key to catching them is in his New York Kastle, on the wall outside his lab."
Some initial googling will quickly reveal that Mr. Figgis PI is a reference to the TV show Archer and that one of the main characters is a mad scientist named Krieger, who does indeed have a laboratory. I spent way too long scouring YouTube and the Internet looking for the wall outside his lab in different episodes of the show, eventually coming up empty handed. Finally, I keyed on the strange spelling of “Kastle” in the puzzle description. Googling “Kastle” and “Archer” leads to an online scavenger hunt for the Archer TV show. One of the parts of the puzzle is an online old-school MUD-style game called “Escape from Kriegar’s Kastle.” The game is accessible by telnetting to figgis.agency where you are treated to a ASCII movie. The laboratory is shown in the movie and on the wall outside the lab is a picture with the word MODERNART! inside. This ended up being the solution.
Puzzle: “If it were our call, (and it is), we'd recommended you read up on how to catch this water breachemon.”
This one had me stumped until a hint was posted to twitter referencing the TV show The Wire. Googling “The Wire”, phone, and cipher leads to a cipher used on the show called “Jump the Fives”. Using the jump cipher on the picture’s filename give us 978-0870334337 which is an ISBN number for the book “How to Avoid Huge Ships” (which is the answer). I highly recommend reading the Amazon comments on this book. Pure gold.
Puzzle: "We had to write down the instructions on how to catch this breachemon."
The puzzle consists of 5 images (1 is hidden in the html source) and an encrypted PDF file. Using a combination of Tin Eye and Google reverse image searches, you will find that each image relates to a different song. Examining the 5 song names, it becomes apparent that the beginning and ending of each song name matches one of the other names and can be strung together. The 5 songs linked together with their common words are “Copperhead Road”, “Road to Nowhere”, “Nowhere Man”, “Man on the Moon”, and “Moon over Marin”. The password to open the PDF file is the filename of each picture put together to form one word in the linked song name order. The puzzle’s answer is written inside the PDF.
Puzzle: “We started to puzzle out the key to catching this breachemon, but then abandoned it like yesterday's newspaper."
Simple sudoku style puzzle based on the images of the DBIR’s incident classification patterns. Each image should only show up once in each row and column.
Thanks again to Verizon for another fun puzzle year.