Monday, December 8, 2014

Cicada 3301

Cicada 3301  logo
Cicada 3301 – An Enigmatic Organization

Cicada 3301 is a name which is given to an enigmatic organization which on three occasions posted a set of complex puzzles in order to recruit capable public cryptanalysts, the first of which began on January 5, 2012 and went on for around one month.

The January 2012 puzzle comprised of an image which had a message stating that the poster was looking for intelligent people, inviting the users to get a hidden message in the image which would lead them on the road to begin their way across the internet.

This was the first puzzle in the series. The image had been reposted by several other people to other sites and boards which increased the internet interest in the puzzle with many making attempts to solve the puzzles by grouping together on the mibbit as well as the n0v4 IRC networks together with splinter groups making use of private IRC channels, Skype groups and forums.

Another puzzle came up one year later on January 5, 2013 followed by a third on-going following confirmation of fresh clue posted on Twitter on January 2014. It was intended to recruit `intelligent individuals’ through a series of puzzles that were to be solved each in a certain order and find the next and the puzzle was aimed on data security, steganography and cryptography.

Most Elaborate & Mysterious Puzzle 

The image has been known as `the most elaborate and mysterious puzzle of the internet age and has also been listed as one of the `top five most unsolved mysteries of the internet by The Washington Post. Several are speculating that it could be a recruitment tool for the NSA, CIA, M16 or a cyber-mercenary group. There are others who think that it could be an Alternate Reality Game – ARG though no company or individual have taken credit or even tried to monetize it.

Another fact is that those who had solved the puzzle never ever came forward leading some to belief that it does not exist while still others claim that it could be run by bank working on crypto currency. The message gave way to a series of puzzles; each became more complicated from the last.

While a few were solvable by some individual working alone, with little more than mild coding ability and wordplay to get along though other participants got deeper into it and the references got less obvious. There was one clue which involved a poem from a collection of medieval Welsh manuscript while another was a quote from William Gibson book that was released on 3.5 inch floppies.

Highly Complex & Individualized

The final outcome of the three round of series of Cicada 3301 recruiting still seems to be a mystery and the known puzzles were both highly complex as well as individualized as the puzzle unravelled. Anonymous people who claimed to have won, had no verification made from the organization with no forthcoming claims and information made by the individuals.

It was reported that an emails was sent to individuals who had completed the 2012 puzzle, indicating that those who had solved the puzzle successfully would be given a personality assessment and those who crossed that stage would be reportedly admitted in the organization though nothing more was known further than this.

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