“Malicious” Magic Squares

June 11, 2013 in Hackme/crackme, Others, Silly


Found one more 🙂

   L   I   S   T   A   S
   I   M   P   O   R   T
   S   P   U   L   E   R
   T   O   L   O   S   E
   A   R   E   S   E   S
   S   T   R   E   S   S

Old post
As a kid I loved to solve cross-words, I also published my own (together with various riddles).

I was very fond especially of magic squares e.g. a classic one:

S     A     T     O     R
A     R     E     P     O
T     E     N     E     T
O     P     E     R     A
R     O     T     A     S

and palindromes e.g.


and anything that would be a bit unusual (e.g. 7-letter words with 4 As, partially overlapping words, etc.).

When I learned programming I wrote various cross-word generators including one for magic squares.

Finding magic squares is very easy for 3-, 4-, 5- letters. It gets a bit more challenging with 6-, but it’s still quite easy and it gets really tough with 7-, 8-, 9- letters.

Having nothing else to do, today I tried to see how my old code would perform taking a small database of malware-related keywords as a base. To my surprise, it actually found a few magic squares for 6 characters!

Here they are:

G   A   G   G   L   E
A   P   R   O   O   L
G   R   O   O   V   E
G   O   O   B   E   R
L   O   V   E   N   A
E   L   E   R   A   D

H   A   L   E   S   S
A   T   O   M   I   C
L   O   O   P   E   R
E   M   P   I   R   E
S   I   E   R   R   A
S   C   R   E   A   M

I   S   T   B   A   R
S   P   A   R   S   E
T   A   R   A   P   A
B   R   A   B   A   N
A   S   P   A   D   E
R   E   A   N   E   T

If you google these words, you will find out that all of them are actual names of a malware.


How often do you see a code like this nowadays? Addressing via seg:ofs was a real pain in a 16-bit real-mode 😉

               xor dx,dx
               mov ax,word ptr fs:[si]
               add ax,ax
               adc dx,0
               add ax,ax
               adc dx,0
               shl dx,12
               add dx,CS:DSegm0
               mov es,dx
               mov bx,ax

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