Biggest Internet Mystery Cicada 3301?

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Cicada 3301 has been called the most elaborate and mysterious puzzle of the internet age. It's an internet user on an eerie mystery combining the digital world with the real one. And we still have no clue who's behind it, or why. Some say it's a secret intelligence recruitment operation, or something, say it's nothing more than a cult. What we do know, however, is that one man was able to solve that original mystery of how to do it. And where did this wild ride taking?

It's time to decipher that once and for all, when an image first popped up on Reddit on January 4 of 2012, people were both confused and intrigued. Little did they know, however, that the simple picture of white text on a black background would be the start of the greatest and most difficult internet puzzle in history. The message was straightforward enough and read. Hello, we are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them. We have devised a test. There's a message hidden in the image, find it and it will lead you on the road to finding us. We look forward to meeting the few of you who make it all the way through. Good luck, signed by the anonymous 3301. With that mysterious opening keen puzzle breakers, hackers and cryptographers were sent on a never before seen journey full of obscure clues.

The treasure hunt, so to speak, was actually the first of three, with 3301, releasing two more installments in 2013 and 2014. So what made this particular puzzle different from anything we've ever seen before? Well, first of all, cicada 3301 leaped out of the digital world and crossed into the tangible world around us. If somebody wanted to solve the mystery, it was impossible to do it from a desk. On top of all that the complexity of the mystery was just on another level to anything experts had ever seen before to have a shot at solving it. codebreakers would need experience and training in a range of fields including cryptography, which is the art of creating and solving codes steganography, which is revolving around data hidden within data, even basic poetry and literary knowledge plus, course, a plethora of patience and analytical thinking. So not just anyone with a love for jigsaw puzzles could decipher this code.

One man with a resume that gave him half a chance to do so though with Swedish tech guru Joel Ericsson, who is Joel compared to the rest of the eager puzzle breakers swarming cicada Ericsson had an added advantage. See as a crypto-security researcher and developer back in Uppsala, Sweden, Ericsson had both its background and the theoretical codebreaking background, which was a much-needed combination for a puzzle like this one. Aside from his understanding of steganography and cryptography, he was also well-read on ancient Mayan numerology and cyberpunk fiction, which is a sci-fi sub-genre revolving around technology. When he was interviewed following his miraculous attempt at solving cicada Erickson said that in a lot of cases, I felt that cicada 3301 and I seemed to have a very similar way of thinking that was critical.

How did he actually end up solving the puzzle and what kind of challenges did he face along the way? Well, the first image, or rather, the first clue that Erickson had to decipher was this image, the text on the black background. Now on the surface, there's nothing much to see. However, Erickson knew to investigate deeper with software for an encryption technique called the shift cipher one which switches letters to other letters to find hidden messages, Erickson was able to take a line of text from the metadata and scramble it to discover a hidden URL. When he typed that URL, and it was browser, it brought him to another relatively simple image, this one of a duck.

While it seems like a roadblock, at first glance, with a message that red looks like you can't guess how to get the message out, you can bet that there was more here than met VI. Those cutting enough could notice the words out and guess in the sentence, which combined to form outguess, which is the name of a steganography program. After running the duck image through the software, another clue was found. This time it was a book code, combined with a series of two numbers separated by colons. That book code took him back to Reddit where he was faced with a series of ancient Mayan numerals and the header after managing to decode that successfully.

The next clues to the surface were a series of hidden messages that pointed to the mind numbers actually being a key to crack something else. What was that something else was another code. And another clue of course, as you can expect, Ericsson managed to figure it out, then discovering the secret messages required him to call a phone number in Texas. It was so far so good for Ericsson, when the voicemail answered a voice said, very good. work done well. Then pointed him back to the original image to find hidden prime numbers, multiply them together, and add to the end of it, and then he'd get his next clue.

That website provided him with a series of GPS coordinates. Here's the thing though, the coordinates weren't for just one place. They were for a number of them. They led to 14 different spots around the world, including Warsaw, Paris, Seattle, Seoul, Arizona, California, New Orleans, Miami, Hawaii, and Sydney. See all of these places had telephone poles the health physical posters with a cicada image and a QR code.

Now even though he took time off of work to crack the case, venturing all over the world, it was just out of his grasp, so he had to get in contact with other people on the cicada 3301 Trail. live closer to these poles. The QR codes revealed of all things a poem called a gripper by William Gibson, and then what? Well, Joel was directed to an online address on the anonymous Tor network, and that's a gateway to the dark web. Unfortunately, he arrived there, just a little too late. cicada had put up a message stating their disappointment to those who formed the groups to solve the puzzle.

Still, in less than three weeks, this tech genius had managed to solve every step of the world's most mystifying internet quest. It wasn't all for nothing though. In the years following cicada, Erickson has been able to take what he learned in this unique journey and put it to good use out in the real world and he has been a very busy man, that's for sure. Since he left the cicada escapades behind he became a regular speaker at secretive computer security conferences, known as Black Hat briefings hear hackers teamed up with government agencies and corporations, and it often results in talent scouting, the intelligence agencies would much rather have minds like Erickson's on their side than on the enemies. He's been sharing his wealth of knowledge at DEF CON, the world's largest and most notable annual hackers convention in Las Vegas, as well as the RSA cryptography conference.

Aside from all the guest appearances, attacks, and security conferences, he's also been working hard as the Chief Technology Officer to secure a company that offers all kinds of research and development services within the IT security field. He's admitted to also participating in competitions that test a range of IT security-related skills. We know the story of Joel Erickson by now like the back of our hand. However, there are actually others out there who have claimed to solve this arcade of mystery as well. Marcus winner who is just a skinny 15-year-old kid at the time was one of those people who allegedly mark is managed to get past the server that Joe Erickson came to a screeching halt at however Marcus had been working as a team with a group of internet acquaintances via private chat room. While Erickson had been riding solo all along. Then the following year in 2013, a man named Vox Pauli claimed to have completed the second installment of the cicada puzzle. Although not the original mystery, it was still no easy feat, and Knox had happily shared his journey online for others to see, the question still remains the who's behind this whole thing. Ever since the mystery started again, when that's what everyone's been wondering, who do you think it could be?

Well, little has been confirmed who lenti of theories have been floated around? Many people are of the opinion that the whole ordeal was nothing more than an elaborate recruitment process organized by an agency like the FBI or the CIA, it wouldn't have been the first time either. They've done something similar with the Can you crack a challenge, but we'll touch on that in a second. Then there's those who think that it's all a little more sinister and that the puzzle could have been a lure for a cult. The solvers didn't know what they were headed toward, but we know that they were being dragged into the dark web. Finally, although less likely, there are theories out there that claim that Qaeda was a means for global banks to set up new digital currencies or mal intention hacker groups wanting only the best of the best drawn to their teams to cause havoc. Joel Ericsson on the other hand thinks that we'll never truly find out the conspirator's identities. cicada hasn't been the only absurd puzzle, the sweep the digital world, just one of the most famous.

Can you crack it? The recruitment tool that we just mentioned, was released by the Government Communications Headquarters in the UK, it was a three-stage challenge said to technically be more complex than cicada 3301 and focused on cybersecurity skills relevant to the intelligence agency. Then there was the United States Navy's recruitment campaign, called Project aka teeth is designed as an alternate reality game that requires a cryptologist character to sneak aboard the enemy submarine and send a series of cryptic notes the first 10 people to submit the right answers were identified by the Navy as the next generation of cryptologists. Similarly, in 2017, the National Security Agency, the NSA unveiled their very own codebreaker challenge, a game that involves participants playing the role of an NSA employee and flexing their coding muscles. That's all for Mr. Joel Eriksson and his quest to solve cicada 3301.

Who do you think created the puzzle? Let us know in the comment section down below.

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