Monday, September 18, 2006

Semaphore - earlier analysis is wrong (read this)

Earlier, a group of us reported seeing two unique concurrent streams coming from Semaphore. Apparently, this was not an accurate observation. Semaphore's broadcast is via Flash and when you load up the simulcast page, it sends your browser a flash object (*.swf) file within an HTML page. If you open another one, it should send you the same Flash object but may start playing it from a different reference point. If you take the time to analyze both streams, you will note that they are in fact the same.

This may also poke holes in the theory that Semaphore uses two or more rounds of encryption. It may be true but more likely that the rounds are linear rather than non-linear and generated on the fly.

Another topic that no one has mentioned before is the rotation of the glyphs. Some of them rotate clockwise and some rotate counter clockwise. Sometimes some go each way. I would be interested in any theories arising out of this.


  1. The fact that they are the same are rather interesting... I unfortunately still haven't had a chance to go check out the real thing.

    I did think about the whole rotation thing at one point...I figured it might be the last step in deciphering. At first, I thought the turns just took the shortest route, but upon closer look, I was wrong. My theory was that the right or left turns might signal forward or backwards in the alphabet. To me, that seems rather a naive answer to it though.

  2. I'll give you some hints. Every once in a while all tones will be the same. At this time, the disks will only turn in one direction. The message in this part is 40 characters long. The first part is allways the same. Near the end you have a goup of 3 chars that differ, then a char that remains the same and 7 chars that differ again.

    Greetz EE

  3. A resourceful member of the public might be interested to know that there is a firefox plugin that traces out parts of the scripts within the flash movie...


  4. Did you ever progress on this? I see the silly semaphore outside my office window every day. I'm curious to know what it says.


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