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thwack Monthly Mission - November 2014

Community Manager

Happy November to ya! I hope you all enjoyed that extra hour last night.  I mean, unless you're in Arizona (go Sun Devil's! 7-1) or somewhere in Hawaii... and in that case, you still win.  In other news… another data breach has happened! It seems like security breaches are regular fixture in headline news this year… so we want to help by sharing tips on security best practices which will help you proactively avoid threats and prepare for other potential security issues. Be better prepared to learn how to manage logs, meet compliance, and conduct root-cause analysis with SolarWinds Log & Event Manager. This month, you, "the good guys", will defeat the evil hackers!

November Mission

You're on a mission to solve the Hacker thwacker Cryptogram! Not quite the Security Pro? Not to worry - we're featuring a track geared towards Network and System Admins as well, so keep paying attention.  One question will be released each day starting November 3rd (Monday - Thursday).  After correctly answering a question, you will be given a "code" bit which will help you to solve the Cryptogram.  Make sure to grab a copy of the attached Cryptogram to fill out as you go.  Correctly answer all 4 questions in a given week and then submit that week's "phrase" each Friday to be entered to win that week's prize (listed in the rules below).  Correctly answer all 3 weeks of questions and submit the final phrase before November 26th to be entered to win the grand prize - a Samsung Galaxy Tablet S 8.4" 16 GB, Titanium Bronze tablet!

Mission Rules

  1. One question will be released in each track everyday starting November 3rd.
    1. Once a question opens, it will remain open until November 26th.  Check the schedule below for exact open/close times.
  2. 50 points will be awarded for each correctly answered question.  There are 15 questions in each track which means you can earn up to 750 points by completing a single track.
    1. You may complete more than one track.  You will earn an additional 750 points for each track completed.
    2. Points and badges will be applied to profiles once the mission has closed.
  3. You must correctly answer each day's question to move on and enter your thwack username and retrieve that day's "code". If you guess wrong, the page will simply refresh.
    1. You are allowed to guess an unlimited amount of times for each question, but you will only move on to the next page once the correct word has been entered.  We've tried to accommodate every variation of the answer so capitalization and other minor details should not be a problem.  Please contact me if you feel you have the correct answer but are having trouble moving forward.
  4. Those who successfully complete all 4 questions + enter the correct phrase during a given week, will be entered to win that week's prize (listed in the schedule below).
    1. You will receive 1 entry to the drawing for completing a single week in any given track.  Completing additional tracks will award points but will not earn extra entries to the weekly drawing.
  5. Those who successfully complete all 15 questions in a single track over the course of the month will be entered to win a Samsung Galaxy Tablet S 8.4" 16 GB, Titanium Bronze tablet!
    1. You will receive 1 entry to the drawing for completing a single track.  Completing additional tracks will award points but will not earn extra entries to the grand prize drawing.
  6. On November 24th, 25th, and 26th, there will be a survey featured each day.  Complete the surveys before November 30th to receive 250 points each.

Click on a track to access your schedule and questions!

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<table width="950" border="0">

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    <tr>

      <td><p align="center" style="text-align:center;padding-top:20px;"><a href="https://thwack.solarwinds.com/docs/DOC-175615" target=_blank"><img src=""></a></p></td>

      <td><p align="center" style="text-align:center;padding-top:20px;"><a href="https://thwack.solarwinds.com/docs/DOC-175616" target=_blank"><img src=""></a></p></td>

      <td><p align="center" style="text-align:center;padding-top:20px;"><a href="https://thwack.solarwinds.com/docs/DOC-175627" target=_blank"><img src=""></a></p></td>

    </tr>

  </tbody>

</table></center>

DOWNLOAD THE CRYPTOGRAM .PDF ATTACHED TO THIS DOCUMENT TO KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PROGRESS!

197 Comments
Radioteacher
Level 14

This is going to be fun!!!  I love it and will doing all three tracks. 

Part of my day I am a Systems Admin....then a Network Admin....and when attacked, I am a Security Pro using LEM!

Bring it!

RT

The patching will continue until security improves!

30 14 29     18 5 10 10 14 12    28 9 13 8    23 24 14 27   2 8 27

DanielleH Community Manager
Community Manager

Loving the enthusiasm! We had a lot of fun putting this one together.

Jfrazier
Level 18

Looks like it...now to keep all three documents separate....

Don't cross the streams !!

network_defender
Level 14

I agree with RT.  This is going to be a blast!  Each member of the Thwackman crew will be rocking all three.  Plus the cryptograms and secret decoder ring could live on forever!

2 8 12   12 28 8   3 5 27 8 7   25 8 3 9 10 1

Radioteacher
Level 14

Danielle,

Everybody is enthusiastic until they get hit by a bus.....that Security Question is tough!

_stump
Level 12

I'm answering these questions, but I'm placing the answers in an unmarked envelope, hidden under a park bench in suburban Virginia.

The wriggly bird chirps warmly in the evening. Over.

Radioteacher
Level 14

I am sure I have the answer correct for Day 2 Networking and Day 2 Systems Admin but I cannot move on when clicking next.  Help.

maria.bungau
Level 16

Try again the Networking one. It should work. I'm checking the Systems one as we speak.

mharvey
Level 17

I just tried the Q2 systems one and after putting in the answer it froze then went to you've already completed the survey without showing the code.

d09h
Level 16

Sysadmin question for today seems unwilling to take the answer that is word-for-word off of the hint page.

goodzhere
Level 14

I agree.  Same here.

DanielleH Community Manager
Community Manager

We are unfortunately having some issues with the logic setup on Q2 of the Systems track.  We will update here in the comments when the question is open again.  Thank you for your patience while we figure this out.

network_defender
Level 14

Did you have logging turned on?

jbiggley
Level 14

To demonstrate my absolute geek status I built an Excel spreadsheet with tabs for each contest and a VLOOKUP for each contest so that it auto-fills the letters when I input the daily codes.

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTi-Z4o8eI5evh3Ou9eNaRQUfwFx6H5ew0fHMOq9aB2r39wuSCnqg

Yep, that's me.

(And 'cause spreading geeky goodness is what SuperGeeks do, and because Radioteacher asked, here is a copy of my cleaned spreadsheet.  November Mission - Clean.xlsx - Google Drive)

network_defender
Level 14

That totally rocks.  Serious geek cred.

Radioteacher
Level 14

Joshua Biggley Can you post a clean copy of the spread sheet?  My hand written notes are a mess after two days.

RT

Radioteacher
Level 14

Nice Coding for the spread sheet.  Thanks!

maria.bungau
Level 16

This is magic!

esther
Level 12

superb geeky goodness! cool

maria.bungau
Level 16

Hey guys,

Q2 of the Systems track is open again. Feel free to give it a shot.

syldra
Level 12

To that, I answer: "but the ice is slippery".

Oh... sorry, wrong movie...

jbiggley
Level 14

For those playing along at home my spreadsheet might have been a bit over the top.  Would *really* have liked to have seen different messages for each track this month.  I'm still going to do all 3 tracks for the (*ahem*) knowledge (points, what points!?!) but it does reduce the sense of excitement.  Not having unique mystery messages is kind of like

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTTXxq0pDoDXwezV_DzVLcmUGaWee7aXdFIM1T0zXy5xsCqMXlpZA

(Cause we all were thinking Little Orphan Annie decoder rings when we saw this monthly missions, weren't we?)

Radioteacher
Level 14

"be sure to buy more sam licenses"  Licenses! Its a a crummy commercial,,,,,

kbthwack
Level 9

Do you account for spaces when filling out the secret phrase?

ijwalk
Level 8

20 is a space

DanielleH Community Manager
Community Manager

Hey SuperGeek (aka Joshua Biggley and NEW thwack MVP!), this is awesome!! It's like the content exchange for monthly missions.  Check your inbox for a surprise.

kbthwack
Level 9

If thats the case, the secret phrase sheet formatting just isnt right and it bugs my OCD.

Jfrazier
Level 18

Joshua Biggley  Congrats on MVP !!!

Hang on...it's a fun Ride !!

jbiggley
Level 14

Is there a crown and a scepter? 

Thanks for the congrats!

mharvey
Level 17

You're not King Geek, you're SuperGeek, you need a cape, a mask, and a cool belt.

jbiggley
Level 14

What if I already wear a cape?

<insert awkward silence>

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ2PLnpnQZTqq00dBAwKz6VmbH6SZDKhSCSKRKE29xo7NMaHWkn

Radioteacher
Level 14

I am sure a Lab Coat would work just as well.

photo 1.JPG

maria.bungau
Level 16

Pics or it didn't happen! Btw, congrats on updating your geek status to thwack MVP.

jbiggley
Level 14

Let's just go with "it didn't happen".  Tragically *this* did happen. Maybe I should have worn a cape?

Computer Problem Solving Team circa 1993

IMG_20141106_091152216.jpg

jbiggley
Level 14

I should point out that at least I was cool enough (or wanted to be cool enough!) to wear a Skinny Puppy t-shirt for picture day.

mharvey
Level 17

Nice.  And I commend you on being brave enough to post a throwback picture.  I, on the other hand, do not have such bravery.  I can however share what I call this which is how my daughter considers me a hero.

sleeping.jpg

maria.bungau
Level 16

Skinny Puppy t-shirt beats any kind of cape!

Radioteacher
Level 14
justinm
Level 9

Just a note...several times, "cryptogram" is misspelled as "crytogram".

Radioteacher
Level 14

Cry-to-Gram.  Maybe they use that because it is so hard solve Q1 for security!  I have spent way to much time trying to figure that on out.

Has anyone got it yet?

RT

mharvey
Level 17

Not I.  I've been able to get all the other questions on that track and all the questions on the other track, but that Q1 for security has been getting to me.  Especially since I'm a completionist.  I've had to give up on it.  grrrrrrr

esther
Level 12

and here i was thinking i was the only one who has not figured Q1 out yet

justinm
Level 9

Me neither. I have absolutely no idea what they're driving at with that one.

Radioteacher
Level 14

I am also missing Q1 for System Admin.  I have words for both the Security and Systems Q1's that make sense to me but maybe I am seeing patterns where they do not exist.

Just picture the shed in the movie  "A Beautiful Mind" and you know how I am trying to work this out.  Maybe there is a clue in the New York Times Crossword puzzle today....or the comics section....

crwchief6
Level 11

Same boat. I got them all except Q1 from security and systems.

syldra
Level 12

And I thought I was dumb for not being able to answer it... glad to know I'm not alone.

I find nothing in the hint given that looks like a clue.

jbiggley
Level 14

Radioteacher, crwchief6 justinm mharvey.  I didn't have them either until a former colleague pointed out that the hint link goes to the wrong document.  Check out the other documents for the other tracks for clues.

mharvey
Level 17

Did that and ended up running up blank on the security question. It did work with the systems question though.

kbthwack
Level 9

It took a long time to figure out, and the answers cannot be found in the hints that are provided. It was frustrating, however it did cause me to carefully read the hint articles about 15 times. Maybe thats what they were going for .

Radioteacher
Level 14

I still am missing it.  I have read all four docs many times and followed the links to the other docs.  Looks like I need to make a new run at it after lunch.

RT