Detlef Johnson aka Disa Johnson and not necessarily DISA

Ghost in the Wires Ciphers (paperback)

29th April 2013: Last week we experienced an all out brute force attack on Wordpress-powered websites. While this was a minor blip in security news it's part of a rising level of security news that we're going to hear about this year. There are fundamental facts about computer software that make online security an ongoing issue the most most important of which is an inability for computers to generate random numbers.

This may come as a surprise. Computers simulate randomness all the time. The problem lies in the nature of infinity. How can you generate something and instantiate it into an infinite universe? The minute you use any process, even as trivial as firing neurons in your brain, it no longer can be considered a random event.

The same thing impedes a computer's ability to generate true randomness even while being extremely good at simulating it. The notion that it should generate anything at all is a process and in that process lies weakness that can be attacked to gain access to a password. Every encryption cipher has the basic weakness in that it cannot possibly be actually random.

The nature of security in a cipher is that you make it overwhelmingly difficult to crack your cipher. Therein lies your security, not the fact that you can write a program that simulates randomness. A computer cannot generate the randomness you seek.

That is how the ciphers in Ghost in the Wires were written. In order to attack them, you must recognize the patterns. I (we) made them accessible only to the cleverest cipher crackers, and they have only been gotten once. There is a place in the adventure where the point about randomness reaches its most esoteric peak. In my opinion, it is that peak that is the best part about the cipher adventure that is Ghost in the Wires. You must follow the story and find the clues which unlock the prize of revealing the cleartext so that you can answer the questions and send them along to Kevin and myself.

Lots of luck!

435 Digital Director
HIPAA Security Officer
Chicago Tribune

Bend, Oregon

Birthplace of SEO

Detlef Johnson interview

Astronome Domine


Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Hendrix)

Down in a Hole


Best Friend's Girlefriend

Burning Down the House

Turtle the Turtle

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Twentieth Century Fox

Break on Through

This is the End

In The End

The Wall

King of Pain

Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

That's All


Sunset Strip

Hotel California (Eagles in English class)

Girls in High school, David riding me from Zon's

GIT Steve Vai, Joe Satriani

Smell Like Teen Spirit

Bend and Grateful Dead, China Cat Sunflower


Volcanic Rock Festival