Cicada 3301: An Internet Mystery

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In this video we explore an elaborate cryptographic internet puzzle orchestrated by a mysterious individual or group known as Cicada 3301.

Cicada 3301 is a nickname given to an organization that on three occasions has posted a set of puzzles to possibly recruit codebreakers/linguists from the public.[1] The first internet puzzle started on January 4, 2012, and ran for approximately one month. A second round began one year later on January 4, 2013, and a third round following the confirmation of a fresh clue posted on Twitter on January 4, 2014.[2][3] The stated intent was to recruit “intelligent individuals” by presenting a series of puzzles which were to be solved. No new puzzles were published on January 4, 2015. However, a new clue was posted on Twitter on January 5, 2016.[4][5] In April 2017 a verified PGP-signed message was found: Beware false paths. Always verify PGP signature from 7A35090F.[6] That message explicitly denies the validity of any unsigned puzzle, as recently as April 2017.

It has been called “the most elaborate and mysterious puzzle of the internet age”[11] and is listed as one of the “top 5 eeriest, unsolved mysteries of the internet”,[12] and much speculation exists as to its function. Many have speculated that the puzzles are a recruitment tool for the NSA, CIA, MI6, a “Masonic conspiracy”[13] or a cyber mercenary group.[1][8] Others have claimed Cicada 3301 is an alternate reality game. No company or individual has taken credit for it or attempted to monetize it, however.[11]

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Jan jones

Thanks for your great work.

You’re very welcome! It’s because of support like yours is why we exist. ~Tony