This paper describes how to determine the parameter values of the chaotic Lorenz system from one of its variables waveform. The geometrical properties of the system are used firstly to reduce the parameter search space. Then, a synchronization-based approach, with the help of the same geometrical properties as coincidence criteria, is implemented to determine the parameter values with the wanted accuracy. The method is not affected by a moderate amount of noise in the waveform. As way of example of its effectiveness, the method is applied to figure out directly from the ciphertext the secret keys of two-channel chaotic cryptosystems using the variable $z$ as a synchronization signal, based on the ultimate state projective chaos synchronization.