Welcome to The Unsolvable CTF

OFA

If Sherlock Holmes or Miss Marple came to life today, what would they be? A hacker, a journalist, a police officer or a private investigator? With the power of the Internet and at the comfort of their home, they would have opted for digital sleuthing/e-sleuthing/osinting. Well, that’s the thing about detectives, irrespective of times, politics and the changing world, without prejudices, they do what they do the best, that’s solving cases that are challenging.

Yes, you heard that right, it’s The Unsolvable CTF! Don’t be disappointed, if something ever existed, it cannot unexist, even if it does unexist, then why are you here?

The Unsolvable CTFs are solvable, but they are difficult nuts to crack. Why should it be difficult? Tell a single thing that’s simple in the world. You can write an encyclopaedia on Mitochondria, but call it simple? Complexity is the key and chaos is constant. The human lives, the environment around them, and the whole system is complicated.

In The Unsolvable CTF every challenge is called a Case, and there’s no one to command you or order you, and you are the protagonist, call yourself whatever you want, but I’ll be the string-puller. You’ll get the cases irregularly, in a month, you can get three cases or none, sometimes it could be two cases a week or ten if you can or none! Why? Do you think I can control the chaos? Or can you?

So what’s the deadline to solve the cases? No deadlines. Your lifetime is the deadline. The cases will be there, when you think the case is solved, you just write a short report and mail it to [email protected] with the title of the case in the subject. I’ll read every email, I’ll only reply to you if you have solved the case. And remember, no brute forcing, no clues or easter eggs will ever be on the site, it’s just text or sometimes links that provide you information, that’s that. Nonetheless, there are a lot of places to hide things on the Internet and the world.

Why The Unsolvable CTF is different

In the traditional CTFs, most of you have done something like converting a string of Base64 characters into comprehensible text, it’s all fun, no comments on that. But take a step back and try to think practically, which killer in the history of humankind had left a clue in a Base64 encoded a secret message? Well, I know what you are thinking, The Zodiac Killer, I’ll talk about it in a bit. But in short, Zodiac’s itself is an example how complicated humans minds could be and the coded messages were self creation with some influences that gave a really hard time investigators because it was a mind game rather than cheesy little tools that could decode anything and everything.

Let me remind you, most of the OSINT is passive recon, that means you have to give more importance to your mind when collecting & collating data, rather than using tools. And by this time(if you are experienced) most of you can visually identify how a Base64 string looks or how Caesar cipher looks, but do you know about a dialect which is only spoken in North-Eastern India? Or a dish that’s only available in a small restaurant in West Germany.

You might be good at analysing an image, but hold on, you are not the only one, there are millions. Any OSINTer can tell you what to look for in an image or a video; look for the street signs, look for the insignia, flag, type of buildings, landscape and so on. So what makes you special? If you go a village and if you ask a common person about a street sign near their house, they can explain you better, well you can call it as HUMINT in a way, but the point is, how could a lay person, who’s institutionally uneducated and doesn’t know O of OSINT can explain things better? The answer is KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge about particular things makes you a better investigator. So where can you get all this knowledge?Through the data available that’s open, the Internet, books, movies, travels, objects, folklores and many more. And everyone cannot know everything, but something, over learn or under learn the things that’s necessary,because remember you are the protagonist. So keep an open mind to solve the cases, the world is your playground and I’m not going to tell you to catch extraterrestrials on a fictional island. Don’t worry I’m not that of a spoilsport, I’ll try to add geolocation challenges in between as I aforementioned the world is your playground.

Motivation

Well, all the unsolved cases in the world are my motivation including your Zodiac Killer! Creating a CTF which truly serves the purpose of passive recon or OSINT is the biggest motivation. There’s endless information around you and you are just here to navigate through it. If your collection is collated coherently you’ll be the owner of the crown.

In real life, unsolved cases later turn into mysteries and mysteries become legends and legends give rise to conspiracy theories depending on the cultures. But the cases still remain UNSOLVED.

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