The Adventures of Packet Tracy, PI – The Case of the Disappearing Delicacy


Welcome to my latest challenge, part of the run-up to BSides London 2013. It’s a bit different this time, both in terms of what you have to do and what you get if you do it. The prizes on offer are tickets to the event, with a special prize of a ticket to Hack In Paris for the best entry! Full rules and T’s&C’s are at the end of this post.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin…

My name’s Tracy, Packet Tracy. I’m a PI. It says so on my door. Last Tuesday my door was locked because I was out for lunch. Some people only take an hour for lunch, but I do my best work at lunchtime so I take the whole day. As usual I headed for Fat Dex’s Diner on the West Side. Gotta be careful not to confuse it with the oil refinery; the place is covered in a film of grease, and Fat Dex ain’t called Fat Dex for nothing.

I slid in through the front door, tripping over tumbleweeds left and right. I had my choice of tables – the last time this joint was full Kennedy was on the throne and Fat Dex was just called Dex. Even so, lately there are so many tumbleweeds I worry they’re planning some kind of global uprising. Better stock up on weedkiller.

Wendy comes over with something she claims is coffee, but I suspect it’s actually come from the refinery. I ask her for my usual zeppelins in a fog, but when she brings them over it looks like they’ve come from Lakehurst field instead of the kitchen. Oh the humanity.

I can hear Dex crashing about out back. Clearly something is rotten in the state of Dexmark, which is usually my cue to leave before Dex and the Knuckleduster Twins politely ask me to pay my tab. In between tripping over tumbleweeds and slipping on grease he manages to get the jump on me and we sit down for a gentlemanly discussion. He looks stressed and he’s sweating. More than usual. Which is a lot.

Dex says takings are down and the Fatelli brothers are on his back and unless he turns things around soon they’ll be breaking it. He says it’s not his fault, but it never is. According to Dex only San Andreas has faults.

This time he might be right. Some new joint called Iggy’s Eats has opened up on the East Side, and Dex can’t compete. He says they’ve got more money than he has grease, and they’ve got a brand new three-storey R&D facility that’s kicking out some kind of seafood dish that people come from miles around to hook. If that wasn’t bad enough he says they’ve stolen his secret recipe for cheese on toast. 

Before I can tell him that particular recipe ain’t so secret, he says he’s got proof that’ll send Iggy and her Eats down the river to Sing Sing quicker than you can play a song song. Wendy’s culinary talents are below par because she’s tired – she’s been on a nocturnal special op on behalf of Dex. She got close to Iggy’s top guy Jamie and was able to go through his drawers once she was done going through his drawers. She came back with a USB stick with Dex’s stolen cheese on toast recipe on it, enough proof to get Iggy a private room in the State’s finest long-term accommodation facility. But there’s a problem that’s stickier than Dex’s tables – the recipe’s encrypted. According to Wendy the password is in a safe in Iggy’s private office, and not even a team of invisible ninjas is getting in there.

So that’s what Dex is after – he needs me to decrypt the stick and get the proof that Iggy has stolen his recipe. It was a tough case, but you don’t call a PI for the easy ones…

For all you budding PIs out there, the question we need answered is very simple. The crime of corporate espionage has been committed, but who stole the recipe and who will end up in the dock? Iggy? Jamie? Someone else? You’ll need to conduct a thorough investigation and write up your evidence so PT can take it all to the Judge. When you’re done, you can submit it via email here.

Before we give you the USB stick, please take a moment to read the rules:

  1. You cannot enter if you are a volunteer for this event or a member of the BSidesLondon crew
  2. You must submit your answer by April 1st 2013 18:00 (6pm) GMT
  3. The first three people to submit the correct answer showing all the steps taken to determine the guilty party will get a ticket to BSidesLondon13
  4. After the closing deadline the best answer will get a ticket for Hack In Paris 2013, a ticket to BSidesLondon13 (if required) plus a further winner of BSidesLondon13 tickets will be selected from all those who have submitted a correct and complete answer. These winners will be decided on criteria including the thoroughness and completeness of the presented investigation, and/or the use of an appropriate narrative style
  5. Judge’s decision is final and prizes can’t be exchanged for cash or favours 😉
  6. This challenge will involve you interacting with live systems via the Internet. If the system’s name doesn’t end in, you’re in the wrong place and you should stop.
  7. The only tool you need to dish up the dirt is your brain – step away from the BackTrack laptop and use GreyMatter 1.0 instead. Any forceful attempts to “hack” the challenge systems may result in it being taken offline prematurely, which would be a shame. All necessary information is provided for you – all you need to do is find it!
  8. For data protection purposes, names and email addresses of participants will only be used for the challenge, and will be shared with the challenge creator only for the purpose of selecting the best answers. You have Packet Tracy’s cast-iron no-spam guarantee!
  9. All characters, organisations and other such entities featured in the challenge are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
  10. Play nice and have fun, and please don’t share any answers with anyone!

Ready? You can download the USB stick image here.

If you need any hints, you can try asking PT himself, but he’s pretty tight-lipped, especially in public!

Alec Waters is responsible for all things security at Dataline Software, and can be emailed at [email protected]

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from wirewatcher authored by Alec Waters. Read the original post at: