Cicada 3301: an Enduring Mystery Over the Years

    Cicada 3301, 4chan is a dam forum, house to may mysteries that sweep the internet by storm. So, let’s dive into one of the mysteries that are yet to be solved and is creepy but intriguing.

    On January 4, 2012, a 4chan user posted this image on Cicada 3301

    cicada 3301 2012 post

    And when opened in a notepad, it had a hidden message in its code.

    hidden message

    which led to a URL

    cicada 3301 url

    and then on to a program to solve it.

    cicada program

    and after successfully solving more clues, this was the final screen

    cicada puzzle

    After an elaborate attempt, people were given coordinates in several places across 14 countries in a poster with a qr code.

    Well, the search stopped there with a good message

    On 5th of January 2013, the notorious begun again with the new image and hidden message.

    Cicada 3301 2013

    Again outguess was used and it led to a book cipher. The book was  Liber AL vel Legis by Aleister Crowley, known as “The Book of Law”. This led to a hyperlink which led to a music file and which led to a Twitter account and which led to an image of the rune table.

     gematria primus

    After three onion puzzles, they found the coordinates around the globe and the poster had a phone number.

    That was the end of second phase of the puzzle.

    January 6th, 2014 was the start of the third phase. The Twitter account for the 3301 was once again active with the following image.

    Again, the six onion puzzles and use of RSA and outguess led to a book named Liber Primus, which means the first books written in Latin by Cicada 3301. The runic alphabets of 2013 were the language in which Boom was written. With the layers of encryption, only a small amount has been translated.

    After a year again, the Twitter account went active with this image.

    cicada 3301 post
    Image credit: CNN Türk

    This image was crucial in decrypting certain pages of the Libur Primus. And even after three years, we have no message from Cicada 3301.

    Who were these people and what was their motive?

    Some take it as an elaborate prank or activity of an intelligence group or corporation such as from British GCHQ and Google billboards. In an email received by the participates, we got some insight.

    They talk about privacy as an inalienable right and the language feels like it has several run-on sentences.

    What about the winners?

    People like Mark Wanner and Nox Populi along with several others were told to work on a website which was later taken down and the contact ceased. Since then, Cicada is nothing but a mystery until another puzzle pops up.

    Also read: Why did black helicopters exist?


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