As promised! I have conferred with joesoodo and we both have agreed that the person who would win would be the one who both solved the steganography and stuck to the requirements of the contest. To recap, one had to solve a steganography challenge to find what looked like two letters. Once they submitted this code, they would be entered into the contest for the free GA DerbyCon Ticket.

Solving the Steganography

The steganography challenge was more visual than it was using a single tool or technique. Most stego challenges attempt to use a Least Significant Bit. However, everyone seems to have their own technique which means most stego challenges are really ‘find the right tool’.

I love stego, but hate ‘find the tool’ challenges. This is why I chose to do this challenge this way. To solve the stego, you had to use a wand type tool to find a broken QR code. I gave several hints to this. I gave hints in my twitter timeline to the WOPR write up as well as the lightswitch matrix. In the WOPR you had to zoom in to the pixel level. In the lightswitch matrix, you had to repair the QR code. This is the case with the first step of this challenge.

The broken code was in the water above the 1 mile marker. (Note: There was a red herring in the lower left white space… this was the same code only it was not repairable.) Using the magic wand, if you set the tolerance/threshold low enough, you were able to find the broken code as well as the word “pastebin”.


To fix the QR code, you needed to add the 3 corner squares to produce a code which looks like this.


When you scan the code, you get the the following message: bH8iYsNF. Combine this with the hint “pastebin” and it leads you to

Going to the pastebin reveals a bunch of location coordinates (lat, long, alt). In the blog post, I mentioned that RunKeeper exports to a KML file. These are the coordinates for a KML file which can be used in Google Earth, or other geolocation applications. Entering these coordinates in Google Earth produces the following output:


And there is the two letter code CP.

The Winner Is…

This leads me to the person who joesoodo and I feel did the best at this competition. And that person is:


Chris Boettcher @ca_boettcher

His meme submission made both joesoodo and I laugh out loud. :)


Thank you to everyone that played and all of the HILARIOUS memes. I will share these during my talk at DerbyCon 5.0!

*If Chris can’t use the ticket, I will let the 2nd place winner know.

Also, if you have a spare ticket, please let others know. I know a lot of people who are still looking for one.

Hope to see you all at DerbyCon 5.0!

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