R.I.P +fravia (5/3/2009)


On the fateful day, I received the following e-mail.

Dear CrackZ, +Fravia passed away this morning. He is embarking now to the final destination, cracking and reversing the hell out of it. There is a thread on the Seekers messageboard about this. It should give people the opportunity to express themselves if they want to, while trying to keep matters on a low profile, sort of respecting his wish... Best regards, DQ

About 10 days prior to this I'd sent him my regards and best wishes. He thanked me graciously for my kind words, seemed happy that crackers would remember his deeds and wished me well, whilst reminding me that 'searching' would be the next great weapon. I never met the man personally, but I'll remember my encounters with him fondly, the world is just that tiny bit a poorer place for his passing.

+fravia's real identity (putting the Tolkein photos and other distractions aside) can be confirmed by locating the file 'sniff.zip' still available deep in his archive. A quick search for '100114.453@compuserve.com' may also turn up the same confirmation. I'd also like to confirm that +fravia was definitely NOT +ORC.

About +ORC

Virtually every single reverser will have heard of the +ORC tutorials. Although they were written some years back, they are still available widely on the web. If you haven't read them yet and understood then you probably aren't ready to become a reverser yet and should try something less taxing before returning. There are many rumours circulating about +ORC even to this day, as well as sites dedicated to stalking him (even some claiming to have found him), yet no attempts thus far have been plausibly successful and the trail is now very cold and well-trodden, in other words, you are pretty much wasting your time even trying (at least with the information thats now available).

One rumour is that +ORC was simply a student who translated some cracking notes and then posted them on Usenet and around the web (taking the credit when they became famous), an old post on DejaNews from +ORC hints at this possibility. Another theory was that he was a lone wolf professor cracking against commercialistic trends, I remember somewhere even a proposition he was US military (I'm sure NOT). Most believe that the author is of East-European origin, the English texts available on the web are certainly not the original writings of a professor, there are too many poor grammar and spelling errors for this to be the case and the language is "net-cultured".

Analysis I've done briefly on the texts also leads me to believe that +ORC has not visited some of the places he remarks on, the "red buses" in London is a very typical stereotype (there are many others). +ORC has obviously also gone to great lengths to try and conceal his age at the time of writing these tutorials by littering contradictions throughout the texts, this leads me to believe he is younger than he is trying to suggest (Occam's Razor, a simple matter of credibility).

"I have for instance three massage sessions every week with my masseuse, which is half my age but strong enough to cure my rheumatisms..."

"This very old EGA program is one of the first I cracked in my youth, ..." (1987)

He is obviously someone familiar with UNIX systems and the university establishment. The anon.penet.fi anonymous re-mailer service existed until September 1996, when other notable crackers of that era (Swedish student ed1son) also used its services (more pointers to the theory +ORC was really a student at that time). The service was sensationally shut down when its pioneer (Finnish student Johan Helsingius) ran into a dispute with the Church of Scientology, one of the service users had allegedly committed copyright infringements and mass-mailed sensitive documents to Usenet. Helsingius refused to name the culprit and was forced to shut-up shop (he was later reprieved by an injunction against the decision 3 months later). Wikipedia has the full story here.

+ORC allegedly now uses orc__@hotmail.com, yet he only replies to +crackers (in other words don't e-mail him), to be honest with you I'm not even sure he answers this one any more, it has been nearly 10 years since anyone last claimed to have heard from him, one suspects he might now have a lucrative security job and has wisely decided to leave his past behind him (a contradiction if ever there was one). The choice to use MS Hotmail is perhaps an intriguing one if you bear in mind +ORC's supposed concern for security of communication / information, were I a conspiracy theorist I could easily believe that this isn't the same person as the texts author. On a final note, fravia+ (R.I.P) was definitely NOT +ORC, although he did seem to enjoy perpetuating the myth that he just might have been.

+ORC's Martini-Wodka

Perhaps the most famous cocktail in the reverse engineering business, here the precise instructions how you might prepare for yourselves a 'real' drink before a long reversing session (Warning :- the Martini-Wodka is an acquired taste and I personally don't recommend the Olive).

Take a cylindrical "milk" glass.
- 2 ice cubes.
- 1/3rd dry Martini.
- 1/3rd Wodka Moskowskaia (don't use Smirnoff as a substitute) - note +ORC uses possibly Polish/Russian spelling.
- 1/3rd Schweppes Indian Tonic.
- Lemon zest and Green Olive.

+ORC Stalking Matters

I've reworked most of this information from posts at message boards. Before disappearing +ORC set up a gate which was locked by a riddle, no-one except the very capable +Hackmore Readwrite has ever claimed to have solved it. Follow the links below and judge for yourself.

The Riddle

"Gold, with six bars, or with the visor raised (in full face) for royalty"
"Silver, with five bars, (in full face) for a duke or marquis"
"Silver, with four bars, with visor raised (in profile) for an earl, viscount or baron"
"Steel, without bars, and with visor open (in full face) for a knight or a baronet"
"Steel, with visor closed (in profile) for a squire or a gentleman"
http://www.home.aone.net.au/byzantium/found/found.html - The cracking of the riddle (courtesy of the Basilisk).

Allegedly +ORC destroyed his gates soon after they were discovered, they led +Hackmore to a GeoCities page written by someone calling himself LoLander (again another possible clue), it crudely hosts some +ORC material and is pretty basic looking. A copy of this website used to be available at "http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Horizon/6682/" (link now inactive), does it look like a real +ORC site?, well I don't know. Since this information might all disappear sometime, I've mirrored the LoLander files (315k) on my site for your convenience, you may also find the archive at the WayBack Archives.

+Hackmore Readwrite also claimed he was able to find the real +ORC, right down to the nitty gritty personal details of his name, address & phone number (perhaps by combing cancelled Usenet posts eh?). At about the time all of this was revealed +ORC himself vanished without trace. More recently (in a private e-mail) +Hackmore has gone so far as to say the keys to +ORC's identity are verifiably inside the LoLander files (and that they still open the door to +ORC's real identity). VoxHumana also added the following: "found, in the earlier lessons, something that sounds like a general concept (especially regarding ASM programming), and perform an extended Web search, using *exactly* the same words".

There was another published attempt at finding +ORC's gates, first documented as an essay on Fravia's site, the stalker (a troller) suggests that the great +ORC was a Swedish exchange student (as ed1son also used anon.penet.fi this seems a possibility, maybe they were friends at some point?, +Hackmore Readwrite has since discounted this as a theory). This alleged gate used to be at "http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Stadium/9490" (Nosferatu). I'm not so convinced of this one but discerning readers can make up their own minds. My thanks to +Hackmore Readwrite and several others for the information contained here.

+ORC Tutorials

Below you will find a list of the +ORC tutorials, (those marked with a '+" have been released to the public).

+ Lesson 1 An approach to cracking
+ Lesson 2 Tools and tricks of the trade
+ Lesson 3.1 Hands on, paper protections (basic)
+ Lesson 3.2 Hands on, paper protections (advanced)
+ Lesson 4.1 Time protections in Windows (1) - an introduction
+ Lesson 4.2 Time protections in Windows (2) - a little Micro$oft bashing
- Lesson 4.3 Time protections in Windows, advanced cracking
- Lesson 4.4 Quiver protections in Windows
+ Lesson 5.1 Disks & CD-ROM access (basic)
- Lesson 5.2 Disks & CD-ROM access (advanced)
+ Lesson 6.1 Funny tricks (1)
- Lesson 6.2 Funny tricks (2)
- Lesson 7 Intuition and luck
+ Lesson 8.1 How to Crack Windows (1) an approach
+ Lesson 8.2 How to Crack Windows (2) a deeper approach
- Lesson 8.3 How to Crack Windows (3) a first conclusion
+ Lesson 9.1 How to Crack Windows (1) Hands on
+ Lesson 9.2 How to Crack Windows (2) Hands on
+ Lesson 9.3 How to Crack Windows (3) Hands on - Nagscreens Galore
+ Lesson 9.4 How to Crack Windows (4) Hands on
+ Lesson A.1 Advanced cracking (1) Internet Cracking (Unix)
- Lesson A.2 Advanced cracking (Internet-DOS)
- Lesson B.1 Zen cracking (basic)
- Lesson B.2 Zen cracking (exercises)
+ Lesson C.1 Cracking as an art (1)
+ Lesson C.2 Cracking as an art (2)
+ Lesson C.3 Cracking as an art (3)
- Appendix 1 How to crack all Microsoft programs on the planet
- Appendix 2 How to modify Softice & Winice for our purposes
- Appendix 3 A good wincracking tool: +ORC's visualcoder, with source code

Final News +ORC

My thanks go to disavowed for this.
When browsing your old pages, it is clear that you seem to have had a special "connection" to +ORC. +ORC seems to be like a ghost. Does +ORC really exist or is it just a myth/fake like the JRR Tolkien photo created by you?

+ORC is dead. Died in Egypt. RIP.

There is still the myth that there are some "missing +ORC lessons" existing. Do they really exist?

Dunno. I have seen only one in all these years. Those that got them were bound not to publish them on the web, guess they are no more important now, anyway"