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This is my first time making one of these. Hopefully it's not too easy (or too difficult). Let me know what you think. If people enjoy this I will make more!


It is May 26th, 2016
After years on the run, government authorities were able to find the location of Joe Jones, a wanted hacker.

This morning at 0600, a SWAT team raided his location only to find an abandoned apartment. He must have escaped in time. Luckily, it is expected that Mr. Jones would leave some sort of clues for his wife, Kathy, to be able to locate him. You have been assigned detective on the case to find Joe Jones.

Here’s what you know about the suspect

Name: Joe Jones
Occupation: None
Aliases: Dr.Bit, JJ
DOB: May 3rd, 91
Wanted For: Unauthorised computer access with intent to commit other offenses.
Place of birth: Miami, Florida
Last Known Location: Homestead, Florida
Spouse's Name: Kathy Jones
Spouse's DOB: Jan. 4th, 92
Spouse's Occupation: Computer Engineer

As the SWAT team leaves, you walk into the apartment and begin searching for clues that may lead you to Joe. You notice that it looks like the suspect left in a hurry; there’s a computer that appears half unplugged; possibly in a failed attempt to take it with him. You figure that he probably didn't leave until he heard the police sirens heading his way.

Upon further investigation, you find a wallet stuck between the only bed and a wall. You suspect that it may have fallen there and, in his haste, Mr. Jones was unable to locate it before leaving.

You open the wallet and see his legitimate state ID. Inside is a picture of his wife at, what appears to be, her college graduation party. The timestamp on it says 08-15-04. On the back is a hand written note. It reads:

Statute 6 /\bs\S*et{1}/igm AVE

You file away the evidence and decide to search the computer. You plug it in and power it on. To your surprise, there’s no password on startup. “Some hacker”, you think. Once the system loads, a single terminal opens.

Desktop Screenshot

It looks like the suspect tried to delete his files before he left. Lucky for you, he must have been in too much of a hurry to try any sort of secure wipe. Or maybe he wanted his wife to see this.

You open up the .data folder on the desktop and discover two files. One image and one text file.

Image:

Cipher Text

Textfile contents:

ikqr bmsp slhyp rdy netgsn kr rdy kepnmpr

This is all of the useful evidence you were able to find.

Where is the Mr. Jones?
Note: You're looking for an exact address.

Hint 1:

Pay close attention to every detail.

Hint 2: (if you want a challenge, don't see this)

The following is a possibly incomplete list of the tools you'll need: www.google.com, maps.google.com, an archive reader

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  • $\begingroup$ I think we have the textfile contents, but Hapax legomenon makes the first two words require guessing. $\endgroup$ – Khale_Kitha May 26 '16 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ I've added two hints! $\endgroup$ – cbronson May 26 '16 at 14:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ let me just say that i enjoyed the bits that i did manage to complete $\endgroup$ – Micheal Johnson May 26 '16 at 14:45
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    $\begingroup$ Uhm, at what age does someone do the college graduation party? is 14 yo enough? $\endgroup$ – Narmer May 26 '16 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ That's a good point - though she would have been 12. $\endgroup$ – Khale_Kitha May 26 '16 at 15:24
25
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The location is:

1999 Sunset Ave, Indianapolis, Indiana

Taking letter substitution, the Textfile contents can be deduced as:

ikqr bmsp slhyp rdy netgsn kr rdy kepnmpr
_a_t _our under the pickup at the airport

The letters i, q, and b are never reused, so we'll have to guess the first two words. A likely choice is:

Last Four
giving:
Last four under the pickup at the airport

As Micheal Johnson noticed, the picture of the symbols is actually hiding a RAR archive with a file in it containing coordinates to Labasa Airport, in Fiji.

According to the sign that Johnbot found, at this airport, this appears to refer to the number:

1999

Image:

sign

The date on the back of the picture cannot POSSIBLY be the date of her graduation, so we can use it as a clue.

The portion with the regex (noticed by Micheal, and described more in-depth by Nzall) mentions Statutes.

If we look at Statute 815.04 (COMPUTER-RELATED CRIMES) of the Florida legal code, and look at subsection 6, specifically, we can use the regex to find the word:

Sunset

from

Subsections (3) and (4) are subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15, and shall stand repealed on October 2, 2019, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.

If we take the number we found, above, and place it before the message on the back of the picture we're led to:

1999 Sunset Ave

The image, on the background of the desktop, recognized by @LeppyR64, is a logo for:

the Indianapolis Colts, an American Football team from Indianapolis, Indiana, leading us there.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice job! You have one clue! $\endgroup$ – cbronson May 26 '16 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ I tried letter substitution but only thought of trying "and" and "but", didn't think of the common three-letter word that you tried. $\endgroup$ – Micheal Johnson May 26 '16 at 14:04
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    $\begingroup$ Also, I think your second word is wrong. It should be a similar word with an "h" in it. $\endgroup$ – Micheal Johnson May 26 '16 at 14:05
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    $\begingroup$ "h" is already used by "d" $\endgroup$ – Khale_Kitha May 26 '16 at 14:06
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    $\begingroup$ From @Johnbot's comment on the other answer, this gives us 4 digits. $\endgroup$ – ruudvan May 26 '16 at 15:15
15
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I've got the co-ordinates of a location near an airport.

-16.459360, 179.338142

How did I get this?

There's a rar archive appended to the end of the image. The original image is at http://hermetic.com/gdlibrary/cipher/images/key.gif. Inside the rar archive is a file containing the co-ordinates.

I also know that

Statute 6 /\bs\S*et{1}/igm AVE contains the regular expression /\bs\S*et{1}/igm which matches any words starting with s and ending with et (ignoring case), but I don't know what to string to apply the regular expression to (applying it to the text file gives nothing). It might also be noteworthy that the regular expression contains the redundant {1} in it.

It may also be possible that

His computer was hibernated.

although I don't know what that tells us.

Also, +1 for the realistic screenshot.

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  • $\begingroup$ Awesome! Another clue gathered! $\endgroup$ – cbronson May 26 '16 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ Labasa Airport, in Hawaii, to be precise. $\endgroup$ – Khale_Kitha May 26 '16 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Khale_Kitha didn't want to give too much of a spoiler $\endgroup$ – Micheal Johnson May 26 '16 at 14:06
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    $\begingroup$ There's a sign at the airport with a pickup with a number beneath it. Could be used with the other answer. $\endgroup$ – Johnbot May 26 '16 at 14:45
6
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Adding my findings to help this along:

The events in the dates are as follows:

Spouse date of birth in US notation is 1/4/92, of the year that Colombus landed on the shores of an unspecified carribean island for the first time.

The timestamp of the picture is 8/15/04. On December 8th, 1504, a Fatwah was announced for Muslims in Spain. Alternatively, September 8th in 1504 was the date Michelangelo erected the statue of David in Florence.

According to regex101, this is the interpretation of the regex:

\b assert position at a word boundary (^\w|\w$|\W\w|\w\W)
s matches the character s literally (case insensitive)
\S* match any non-white space character [^\r\n\t\f ]
Quantifier: * Between zero and unlimited times, as many times as possible, giving back as needed [greedy]
e matches the character e literally (case insensitive)
t{1} matches the character t literally (case insensitive)
Quantifier: {1} Exactly 1 time (meaningless quantifier)
i modifier: insensitive. Case insensitive match (ignores case of [a-zA-Z])
g modifier: global. All matches (don't return on first match)
m modifier: multi-line. Causes ^ and $ to match the begin/end of each line (not only begin/end of string)
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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure about the spouse's birth date part. How much meta-puzzling should we involve here? If meta-puzzling is involved, then that seems like it could be significant; if meta-puzzling isn't involved, then nobody has any control over the spouse's birth date. (The timestamp on the photograph is a different matter though, as that could realistically be false.) $\endgroup$ – Micheal Johnson May 26 '16 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ Nobody had control over her birth date other than her parents 9 months prior. $\endgroup$ – cbronson May 26 '16 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ To add to the information given, the desktop background is a horseshoe, which could be an inverted ohm sign (unicode 2127), or could be one of the resembling characters from the image. $\endgroup$ – ruudvan May 26 '16 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ @ruudvan I've already got the information from the image. $\endgroup$ – Micheal Johnson May 26 '16 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ @MichealJohnson the question author explicitly mentioned to take note of the spouse DOB, in a comment underneath the question. $\endgroup$ – Nzall May 26 '16 at 18:12

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