Scope Creep: The Broadening of Arcana Labs

Last Updated: 2024-04-07 00:00:00 -0500

This post is a long time in coming, but march was a bit of a trip. Things are changing and moving around in my personal and professional life, and that means the Lab’s nature is changing to. Welcome to reality, everyone - the only constant is change.

The Story Until Now

The transition from the former name (“Kensho Security Labs”) to the current name (“Arcana Labs of Frederiction”) was spurred along as much by the need to put some distance between business and religion as it was by a broadening of horizons. No more would the focus of my site be merely amateur security research and related topics - general technological tinkering would now be the norm. It is, after all, my site - my ball, my game, and my goalposts to move at my will.

I’m very pleased to announce another round of a similar broadening trend. Up until now, Arcana Labs has largely focused on one of a few small things:

  • Technical gizmos, most significantly PETI, which vaguely approximate the idea of “fun thing with some mystery in it, that involves electronics”.
  • Other technical gizmos and gadgets that were either designed to help support the function of the lab (like Piminder) or software of a similar purpose (like the PETI Helper Repo).
  • Supporting legacy Kensho Security Labs offerings like Tapestery.

With very little exception, that’s it. That’s all that “Arcana Labs” has done over the last two or three years. It’s not, however, all that I myself have done, or even all that I’ve done that would be arguably related to the general mission of the labs.

A New Chapter

I’m expanding the mission of the labs over the coming weeks and months to cover more or less everything I’ve done or am doing that involves in some way mystery, magic, or puzzles, regardless of the technical elements. That doesn’t mean the electronics and software projects are going away, it’s just going to be more things that I can talk about or post to the site directly.

As part of this, sometime between now and high summer (it is hoped), I will be launching a re-imagining of our former Illuminated Arcana Initiative. For folks who don’t remember that short-lived program, Illuminated Arcana was intended as a permanent CTFd instance which was going to track progress for various users who downloaded and attacked VirtualBox VMs designed to act as hacking challenges. As it turns out, CTFd is also ideal for running puzzle challenges of various kinds. When we launch, I’ll re-release the original Illuminated Arcana crackme VM (Rokkekei), as well as announce other puzzles as they become available - including some that will be on physical media.

This is related to an initiative through our Patreon - members of the Cabal Patron tier recieve monthly puzzle-postcard mailings which will constitute flags of the new Illuminated Arcana system.


I’m doing this to broaden the labs to include more of what I actually want to spend my time on, as well as to disabuse myself of the notion of trying to create an actual business out of the labs. This should be a place for me to come and relax and tinker - tinkering freely at that. If somehow it becomes the primary bill payer in this house, I would absolutely reconsider and think about taking a more focused and businesslike approach on the lab, but for now, this is my hobby. The very last thing I need is to take my hobbies and poison them with Side Hustle. I’m barely holding things together as it is.

If you wanted to show your support financially for Arcana Labs projects like PETI, but don’t need a virtual pet development kit, your best avenue is through the pathways detailed on our support page.


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