How I solved @onealfa 's third contest

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2 years ago - 3 minutes read


For those who haven’t noticed yet, @onealfa has organized some very cool contests recently. All riddles have something to do with encryption.

The puzzles are real brain teasers. I wasn’t able to solve the first two of them, but I was lucky enough to be the first one to solve the third one.

Some people were asking how I managed to solve this puzzle, so I decided to create a post about it. Before I explain how I managed to solve the third quiz I’ll show you the first two quizzes as well.

Quiz #1

For this contest you needed to find the correct private key for a Hex and binary code that was on a piece of paper.


The first riddle was solved by @cryptosneeze He won the amazing amount of 44 Leo which was $20 at that time (do you remember Leo being $0.45 cents, haha) The solution to this riddle can be found here!

Quiz #2

Quiz number two was about a 24 word passphrase. These are often used for protecting crypto wallets.


The string contains a five word secret phrase. @onealfa gave the contest an extra twist by increasing the prize money every day. The longer you wait to publish your answer the more the higher the prize money, but also the higher the chances of someone else grabbing the prize. The prize was 512 Leo on day 7; an agonizing dilemma if you ask me.

This puzzle was solved in less than 28 hours by @krishare who earned 8 Leo.

Quiz #3

The latest contest was posted this week. It was a collaboration with @rival And I was the lucky one to be the first to solve the puzzle.


In this quiz there was a six word message hidden in an image. The first thing that stood out was the QR code. I used an online QR code scanner to find out where it leads. The QR code lead me to the following website: https://www.mobilefish.com/services/steganography/steganography.php The site contains an online steganography service where you can hide messages inside image files.


After uploading the image in this tool I received the message that no hidden message or file was in the image. This would have been way too easy compared to the previous contests, so I was looking for other ways to find the solution. As many others did I inspected the image very well. I opened it in my Gimp Photo editor and zoomed in to see if I could spot some clues. I also changed the hue/saturation, inverted colours etc. which sometimes reveals things in a photo. When I couldn’t find any clues I started looking at the file itself. I checked the name and other properties of the file to see if that stored some more info, but again no luck…

Then I decided to open the image in a text editor.
This resulted in a lot of gibberish:


But when I looked closely I saw something I recognized at the end of the file. There was a HEX code attached to the image file; YES! After converting the HEX code to text I received “LeoFinanceContest”.

But @onealfo mentioned it had to be a 6 word phrase and I only had 3… After inspecting the file in the text editor for a while I didn’t find anything that could produce the other three words. And then I thought about the online steganography service again. I suddenly remembered there was a password field as well. Although the error message didn’t mention I used a wrong password I decided to fill in the 3-word phrase as a password.

And this was the result:


I would like to thank @onealfa for the quizzes. They are really fun, challenging and educational (and @rival for the third one). Hopefully you will create more of them.

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