The Search for Sombra continues – who exactly is this mystery Overwatch character?

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Sombra Overwatch mystery

Around a month ago, I wrote a post detailing existing clues around Overwatch’s mysterious new character, Sombra. I, like many, initially thought that she was Ana Amari. Upon the release of the support sniper though, it was obvious that that was not the case. Sombra is a completely separate character, but who she is exactly, remains one hell of a mystery.

There have been many clues released over the past month, yet still, nobody really knows who Sombra is. Let me bring you up to speed quick – here’s a quick overview of what’s been cracked by dedicated fans thus far, and what remains unknown (via Game Detectives).

The clue in Ana’s origin story video

The following codes were spotted in the tale of Ana’s origin

Code-2

Code-one

I’ve already written about this, so I’m going to quote myself here for the sake of convenience:

The codes were processed using a XOR cipher and a constant of 23 to reveal a repeating Spanish phrase that translated to, “she who has the information, has the power”. The last two bits of numbers on each code, when processed, come out as ‘SOMB’ and ‘RA’. Gee, I wonder what that could mean?

The fact that the constant used to make sense of all this, being 23, is also interesting. Why? Simple – because Sombra, if released after Ana, will be the 23rd character added to the Overwatch roster.

The clue at the end of the developer update introducing Ana

In this 12 or so minute video, Overwatch’s Game Director Jeff Kaplan discussed the new hero, along with some of the balance changes at the time. Right at the end of the clip however, in the last second or so, four images flash by. The first, second, and fourth are nothing more than test cards. The third one however, was another clue…

Sombra code

This image was then converted to binary, and then rearranged into a QR code. When scanned, the following message is received:

“Estuvo eso facilito? Ahora que tengo su atencion, dejenme se las pongo mas dificil”

When translated into English, it reads:

“Was that easy? Well, now that I have your attention, allow me to make things much more difficult”

The clues in the Summer Games video

Just last week, Blizzard released a whole lot of content to celebrate the Rio 2016 Olympics. The trailer held yet a host of clues, the first of which was the following…

Tracer clue Overwatch

When Tracer zips off, a code can be seen. Decrypting it left sleuths with a salted message – the password and cipher method of which has still not been cracked.

Salted

I don’t know much about this stuff myself, so I’ll let the pros do the explaining before I make myself look like a fool…

Decrypting the Encryption

The “Salted__” header at the start of the string indicates that the remainder of the text is encoded in an OpenSSL cipher, which requires a key and a known cipher. Salts are added to encrypted data to ensure uniqueness. Since we know the salt, and we know the input data, all we need to decrypt is the password and cipher method. Since OpenSSL has been around for ages, there are many different cipher methods.

A Cipher is a mathematical algorithm to convert data into unreadable binary data. A Password is key to the box, if you know it you can easily decrypt the data.

Narrowing Down Ciphers

The Cipher used has been narrowed down by looking at a Hex Dump of the encrypted string. There are two major types of ciphers, stream ciphers and block ciphers. Stream ciphers encrypt only the data fed into them, whereas block ciphers will always be a set chunk length.

A byte is roughly a single character, but special characters can take up multiple bytes. We know that OpenSSL Salted Encryption uses the first 8 bytes of the output for Salted__ and the next 8 bytes for the actual salt. The rest of the information is the encrypted message.

The immediately interesting thing here is that the encrypted message data stops 3 bytes short of a full chunk. This is a excellent indicator that the cipher used is a stream cipher (or a block cipher in CTR/OFB/CFB mode). This narrows our cipher list down significantly. This also means that the final string that Blizzard encrypted is less than 93 bytes!

Also spotted in the video were several other clues. At certain points (I don’t know how the hell people spotted them to be honest) there are references to directions. When snapped and combined, they form the following image…

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Overwatch_map

What does this compass mean exactly? Nobody knows yet (from what I can tell).

The strange code in the sky on the Dorado map

Seeing as Sombra is clearly Spanish, and has ties to the Dorado map, it makes sense to go there for clues. Somebody did just that, and spotted the following

If you go to Dorado, look at the sky about halfway between the moon and the bright star in the sky, you’ll see a very faint artifacting. After tampering with contrast, it’s beginning to look like some kind of barcode or something else.

Dorado

The sky code has been tackled by many, who are all looking to draw meaning from it in any way possible. One person even went so far as to turning it into a song. It’s all been for nothing it seems, at least according to Sombra, who said as much in the next clue…

The modified Dorado image in Overwatch’s gallery

Over on the official Overwatch website, a strange image surfaced. It’s a snap of Dorado’s attacker starting area, but with a twist (via Polygon).

Original

Dorado screen

Warped

Dorada warped

Naturally, crackers somehow turned the garble into something with meaning. They uncovered the following text:

“Por que estan mirando al cielo? La respuesta no esta sobre sus cabezas, esta detras de ustedes. A veces, necesitan analizar sus logros previos.”

Which means the following in English…

“Why do you look to the sky? The answer is not above your heads, it’s behind you. Sometimes, you need to analyze your previous achievements”

Yeah, it looks like that sky code really was pure speculation. I wonder what Sombra means though in saying that people need to analyze their previous achievements? Do we need to go back to some of the earlier clues?

What next?

Who the hell knows. I think Blizzard are having far too much with Sombra, and truth be told, so are Internet sleuths I think. This is one addictive wild goose chase that I’ve enjoyed following! Who is Sombra? I can’t wait to find out!

Sombra Overwatch

Last Updated: August 10, 2016

Matthew Figueira

Defence of the Ancients? More like Defence of the cabbages! Have you seen my head? I look like a Merino Sheep on pole. NO SHANGE only SHAPPIES! :D

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