For the last few weeks, internet gaming forums have been set ablaze with crypto-chatter thanks to the viral marketing site GKNOVA6.com. Clearly a nod to Cold War Numbers Stations, the unusually named website that rattles off music, encoded letters and numbers, and steganographic spectral images has, as of today, revealed its fourth transmission. Shortly after the third transmission was decoded, a user by the name of “Azure” posted a reply to the “Dragonsbreath” message posted by “Nova Six”. Nova Six then replied “New information coming soon”, and now today, the new transmission has arrived, albeit in a far more terse format than the rest:
Azure has the task
Like the previous two messages, additional messages were found encoded into the sound as images revealed by spectral analysis. The apparent message this time:
Napoleon = d
Karl = b
Folks on other forums are already hard at work cracking the latest message. We discovered that Azure has more than just the task – Azure also has a Facebook and Myspace as well. While there are actually a few people calling themselves “Azure Wolf” on either site, searching for the Azure Wolf of interest using the email address used when replying to Nova Six reveals what would appear to be his otherwise unremarkable social networking pages. This is where it gets interesting. Azure has one very special friend. Of his four MySpace friends, one is “Tyler“, short for “Tyler Mills” – ring any bells? The profile for Tyler appears normal on the surface, but her blog features three notable posts.
For a moment I thought I’d uncovered a new GKNOVA6 message, but the posts are all from 2008. This made me wonder if I’d stumbled on to some kind of actual Myspace numbers station. Unfortunately, there is no exciting international conspiracy going on, so my tin foil hat has once again been put away. The “Tyler Mills” profile and the encoded blog posts were – much like GKNOVA6.com – viral marketing for a game. “Tyler Mills” was a character from the web-based alternate reality game (ARG) by GEN247 called Deleted: The Game. The last blog post makes more sense in the context of the game, based on the official trailers for Deleted.
It is quite interesting that Azure Wolf would have the honor of being one of 76 sanctioned friends to the fictional “Tyler Mills”, in addition to having “the task”. The official profile for Deleted: The Game has over 4,000 friends on Myspace, so “Tyler” apparently didn’t make friends indiscriminately, and with good reason – Myspace says: “you must be someone’s friend to make comments about them”, so having strictly limiting who is friends with the profile eliminates the need for ongoing moderation (it is Myspace after all). Considering the content of the original game, the similar encrypted message marketing, this connection to the Azure Wolf with “the task”, and the fact that no other game studios are taking credit for this, it begs the question: is GEN247 the one behind all of the GKNOVA6 buzz?
What do you think GKNOVA6.com is advertising? Who is Azure Wolf, and what – if any – is his connection between Deleted: The Game and GKNOVA6.com?
UPDATE 1 May 2010 18:44 UTC: Azure posted the reply as instructed, linking to a Flickr account created in June 2008. The first letter of each sentence in the message could be assembled into “Treyarch”. Perhaps all this is for Call of Duty: Black Ops after all. Since GKNOVA6.com is made in the style of Cold War numbers stations, it is interesting to note that the melody of last night’s message changed as well. Actual numbers stations have exhibited such behavior after major global events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
UPDATE 4 May 2010 20:58 UTC: Azure has assured me that I am completely wrong in my analysis. So everything you just read was wrong. Apparently “Tyler” from Deleted only accepted friends that were able to decipher a code found while playing the game. My apologies to Azure for spreading the misinformation. This GKNOVA6 website has just been driving me crazy! When I stumbled upon those coded messages in the blog posts, I was sure there was some connection, but alas, the connection seems to be that Azure is just a code-breaking wizard. Look for updates tomorrow after the expected fifth transmission.