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Lesson 4 - UUdecoding

Subj:  [SE2600-P] PhreakNIC Code Lab - Lesson 4 - UUdecoding
Date: 8/22/00 9:34:45 PM Central Daylight Time

This is an ongoing series to dissect the PhreakNIC v3.0 code, which can be
seen at

How y'all doing on this tour so far?  Having a good time?  We're past the
halfway point on our journey into the mind of JonnyX.  Trust me though, it
gets worse!

And on that cheery note, let's continue on . . .

First, we're going to take another look at the poem:

The earnes[t][se]crets sho(n)e.
(O)ne hears sat[i]re.
Ahem - r(e)ally rag Satan.
(A)(T)M of Hel(l).
Evil nos[e]energy.
O, the (C)IA net lunacy.
Obey luser ca[m].
P[h]one far-fe[t]ched[r]oot text[.]
A data-[l]in[k] g[r](u)mbles on the cloud(.)

How about a closer look at those letters in the () and []:

In [], we've got: t se i e m h t r . l k r
In (), we've got: n O e A T l C u .

Hmm.  So are they an anagram?  A cryptogram?  A vigenere cipher?  Let's push
the letters around in some different ways:

Concatenate them?
     t se i e m h t r . l k r n O e A T l C u .

The other way?
     n O e A T l C u . t se i e m h t r . l k r

Not seeing anything yet, but it is odd that there are not one but *two*
periods.  Do they mean anything?

Strip out the caps, alphabetize the whole thing, and see what we get?


Frequency distribution?


Hmm, also, remember how "ATM of Hell" could anagram to "All of them"?
Well, "Evil nose energy" could anagram to "Every single one."

Think it's a coincidence?

Keep on pondering . . .

And oh yes, we need to go over the homework from a couple sessions ago.

The line:


When rotated via ROT-13, comes out as:


Still not making any sense?  Try breaking it up like this:

oxxo oxox oxxo xxxo oxxo oxoo ooxo oooo oxxo xooo oxxo oxox oxxx ooxo oxxo oxox

If that's not enough for you, then change all the o's to 0's, and the x's to 1's:

0110 0101 0110 1110 0110 0100 0010 0000 0110 1000 0110 0101 0111 0010 0110 0101

Remember I said it would be a good idea to memorize those first 15 binary
numbers?  What does the above say in hex?

0110 0101 0110 1110 0110 0100 0010 0000

 6    5    6    E    6    4    2    0

0110 1000 0110 0101 0111 0010 0110 0101

6    8    6    5    7    2    6    5

Break those into 2-digit segments:

   65 6E 64 20 68 65 72 65

And then into ASCII:

   e  n  d     h  e  r  e

Okay, well at least *that* part is solved.  If you want to do some more hex
translation though, go check out the PhreakNIC webpage and the T-shirt
designs.  Or type a couple hex numbers and the word "hacker" into a search
engine.  There's hex stuff all over the hacker landscape.   :)

Now though, we need to turn our attention to the other side of the tour bus,
as I see that we're coming up on the "un-uu-me.txt" section

Once we rotated this section, and separated out a few of the more obvious
line endings, we got:

begin 644 un-uu-me.txt

The UUdecoder still isn't parsing it though.  So, if you did your homework
and encrypted something else to see the way that a UUencoded message *should*
look, you may have noticed a pattern.

For those that *didn't* do their homework, here's what I got when I took a
short text file (the poem), and UUencoded it:

begin 600 POEM.TXT
size 253

So, let's format the stuff from the PhreakNIC Code according to those rules...
(1) All of the initial lines start with an "M" character
(2) All of the initial lines are the same length.

That helps us to figure out some better line endings:

begin 644 un-uu-me.txt

We still don't have that initial "table" stuff, and we don't have a size, but
even without that, the UUdecoder (with a few complaints) still munches on it,
and spits out a file named un-uu-me.txt.

Or, if you don't have a UUdecoder, you can also decode this section by saving
the above stuff to a text file, but naming it with a .UUE extension instead
of .TXT, and then your version of UNZIP may be smart enough to decode it.

Okay, here's what's inside after we UUdecoded it:

Pb  e h.myx Mxxxx h.//.       r.f&  tgapx oxxxx tncgi
e oga tottx rxxxx toren       tNli  pvi.x exxxx pdynf
tolvt :/ohx  xxxx :apeo       ywoer /cntx ixxxx /ktr/
  w y /i/mx nxxxx /.oaK       ghit: watlx fxxxx we/lr
oinhx w/oxx oxxxx wdc.y       otgix wiuxx  xxxx wurcp
d  sx .nrxx axxxx ./yrt        tU x cf/xx txxxx uopyo
jhRox iokxx :xxxx nrtps       oeLnx arrxx xxxxx dgot/

Doesn't look a whole lot better, does it?

-   Keep working on the poem
-   Take a long look at the above columns.  There's another message in there.
Hint: Maybe a URL?

Next installment: Okay, we've un-uu-ed it, now what?

Elonka  :)
AIM: Elonka

A =POPE= is someone who is not under the authority of the authorities.
   - The Principia Discordia

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