- 1 What's the latest news?
- 2 Overview
- 3 How did this start?
- 4 How can I help?
What's the latest news?
What the hell is this?
It's an Alternate Reality Game. Think of it as an Internet-based scavenger hunt, or a puzzle hunt, or as geocaching with cryptography added. See unfiction.com for more information on the genre, as well as links to other ARGs.
What's going on?
Somebody(the Puppet Master/PM) has set up an elaborate telephone system that hands out clues. Sometimes the clues lead back to other parts of the telephone system. Sometimes they lead to physical dead drops, where we retrieve objects that lead back to ... the phone system.
What does it all mean?
The story, as we understand it, is that we have stumbled on the communications system of a spy ring. We are picking up messages that are intended for the spies. The spy ring is aware of us and refers to us as "counteroperations".
What if it's REAL?
A real spy ring would have changed its communication system the instant they were aware that outsiders were reading it. The PMs hang around and taunt us. Furthermore, when we're obviously blocked on solving a puzzle, they drop additional information.
Who are you?
A bunch of random strangers from /x/, unfiction.com, Reddit, SomethingAwful, and other forbidden *-Okay, not really "Forbidden" realms of the Internet. See the Community page for additional information.
Should I be paranoid?
If you want to. Just remember that you're using the Internet and the phone system; if you don't want to be traced, use your usual precautions.
Why are you trying to solve these puzzles?
How did this start?
In November 2011 a mysterious number was found on GodLikeProductions. The 4chan /x/ thread started investigating.
What does "OTP22" mean?
OTP-Decoder, a reader of the 4chan /x/ thread, was interested in the "Creepy phone numbers" and was the first to gather a group, putting information on pastebin. He named it OTP after the phrase One time pad used for encryption. He added the suffix 22 as a random number.
What is OTP?
- See the disambiguation page on OTP here for multiple uses of "OTP".
- See the discussion below for one specific example:
[10:50 AM] <ArsenicLupin> First off, do you know what a one-time pad (OTP) is?
[10:50 AM] <Arch_> I don't.
[10:51 AM] <Lyxs> me neither
[10:51 AM] <ArsenicLupin> Okay. Basically, anytime you have a cipher that is just based on permutations of characters (like AB turns into ZX, things like that)
[10:51 AM] <ArsenicLupin> you can mathematically work out the solution.
[10:51 AM] <ArsenicLupin> However, if the cipher is based on unique cipher keys
[10:51 AM] <ArsenicLupin> which are used only once for each cipher transmission
[10:52 AM] <ArsenicLupin> then you will never get enough information to be able to mathematically solve the code.
[10:52 AM] <ArsenicLupin> So I give you a notepad each sheet of which is a unique set of numbers/letters. This is the "one-time pad"
[10:53 AM] <ArsenicLupin> Every time you encrypt a message to send me, you use one page of the notepad then throw it away.
[10:53 AM] <ArsenicLupin> I decxrypt it using the top page of my pad then throw it away
[10:53 AM] <ArsenicLupin> As long as both of us are religious about never, ever using the same page twice
[10:53 AM] <ArsenicLupin> the code is unbreakable.
[10:54 AM] <ArsenicLupin> In this case the numbers in the one-time pad are actually numbers on the DVD
[10:54 AM] <ArsenicLupin> which are hidden in the middle of a Linux distribution.
[10:54 AM] <ArsenicLupin> And if this were a real spy ring, each spy would have his own copy of a different DVD
Where do you get these OTP messages from?
[10:58 AM] <ArsenicLupin> We have three things:
[10:58 AM] <ArsenicLupin> 1. The agent system. Tell them a number, you get a message. This is the automated one.
[10:58 AM] <ArsenicLupin> 2. The message desk. This is an actual person. Tell him a number (or sometimes a word) and you get a message.[note: this is never a black OTP message, but is sometimes a link to a black OTP message in the agent system.]
[10:59 AM] <ArsenicLupin> 3. The OTP disk. Take a message from #1 or #2 and use one "page" from the OTP disk to read it.
Who owns/runs the phone numbers?
Investigations to find the owner or renter of the phone numbers and lines have so far failed. We VoIP company that owns those numbers, but there are no definite proofs for now.
What's happened so far?
See OTP22 History.
How can I help?
See the Community page for additional recommendations to the below.
- Read the unfiction thread, which contains everything we learned in time order and is updated regularly.
- Check the Timeline of events (out of date) or catch up with News (reverse-order)
What coordination there is happens in the #ARG channel on freenode.net IRC network. Go there, hang out, and find out what are the current hotspots. Type @update in channel to see the latest news. Read the last couple of days' logs to see what's been happening.
Call the agent system or message desk
ONLY IF you can record phone calls: Call the Agent Systems or the Message Desk. If you can't record the call, you may lose valuable information -- sometimes agent system calls are entirely encoded in tones, and sometimes message desk calls stretch on unexpectedly.
How can International players call for free?
https://calling.bobsled.com/start/ - Give this a try! - SSL Certificate out of date 16/11/2013
Can I use the dialer?
It costs real money, so we'd rather you didn't until you're more familiar with the game. However, if you feel you have something really groundbreaking to try - consider asking one of the more experienced users in IRC.
Edit the Wiki
The Wiki is a collaborative project, and is always out-of-date. When you try to find something that's missing, or stumble over an error, fix it.