Quote from crashdemons
I'm involved with a few Alternate Reality Games and it made me interested in puzzles like crypto, steg, etc for a while - I also get along with different people involved who don't know how to evaluate their skills when they start out. I had been thinking about starting an ARG for a while but I couldn't think of a plot, so I compromised and made a puzzle site that would let users gauge themselves.
In specific, having been involved with some cicada and OTP22 challenges has given me a perspective on hidden images in images, text, and even audio - as well as doing a lot of XOR.
I haven't quite gone all-out with BPSK31 like OTP22 does, but there are still infinite possibilities.
Quote from Wang
The Mod-X challenge was formed around 2001 when the Cyberarmy "Zebulun"
challenges were in their prime. Zebulun was the first online
security/hacking challenge I had played and I was fascinated by both the
challenges (they were educational but not boring because they had a sense
of storyline/mystery) and the sense of community that formed around the
challenges and within the forums/irc channels.Through Cyberarmy I also
learned about Disavowed.net and started playing the challenges there too -
the challenges were very different to Zebulun and often harder, but just as
At the time, I had just begun working as a web developer and I was looking
for side projects to help me learn more ASP/Perl/PHP/SQL. I thought that
creating my own challenge site would be a great project to learn both
scripting and how to secure a web site. Mod-X was born with 2 levels
available to play and originally it was written in ASP with a Microsoft
Access database backend (ouch). Over the years the site was redesigned and
rewritten a number of times and it changed hosting provider several
times...but I always tried to keep it alive and relevant. The site gained a
lot of popularity and at times it felt like a full time job to keep the
site up and running with fresh challenges and new features - but I loved
every moment of it Last I checked, we'd seen around 60,000+ player
accounts registered at Mod-X.
Over the years, I found that Mod-X's approach to challenges (level based
with each challenge being harder than the last) led to a problem as it
meant that it was increasingly difficult for me to provide new challenges
for our players (each challenge requiring more investment from me than the
last). I wanted a way to provide players with more frequent challenges of
varying difficulties and to allow players to play the challenges in any
order than they liked. This led to the creation of the Omega Project (named
after my beautiful wife, Omegataurus, whom I met through Cyberarmy!) which
is currently a set of 7 challenges within Mod-X that have their own
rankings independent of the main Mod-X challenges.
Also, at some point (around 2001/2002) the Disavowed.net site went down and
I was really sad to see it go (it felt like a piece of history had
disappeared). I had a good line of communication with Disavowed and I asked
if it would be possible for Mod-X to host the Disavowed.net challenges
within Mod-X for our players to enjoy. Disavowed graciously agreed and in
December of 2003 the Disavowed.net challenges were brought online within
Mod-X. They are still available for players to play today.
I can say with all honesty that Mod-X has been 100% life changing for me. I
would not be the person that I am today without Mod-X and challenge sites
like Cyberarmy's Zebulun and Disavowed.net. They have had a profound impact
on my personal and professional life, and while I don't always have as much
time to work on Mod-X as I used to...I am very happy that it's still up and
that people still want to play it. Thank you!