The biggest mystery of the internet CICADA 3301
Hope all of you have played puzzle games in you childhood even now you play such games in your mobile phones and in your colleges also.But do you know which is the most complex and the hardest puzzles ever uploaded into the internet.It is the Cicada 3301.It is one of the most hardest and the most complicated puzzles ever uploaded to the internet.It is also considered as one of the most mysterious puzzles on the internet.
Till now Cicada has uploaded 3 questions out of which 2 are solved and the third one is still unsolved.Today we will do an indepth exploration of all the three puzzles and the answer which are found already.
Question no 1
On 5th January 2012 on an image sharing and networking site called as 4chan an anonymous user posted an image which says we are hiring some highly intelligent individuals and to find them we have devised a test.Also is gave another hint that a message is hidden in this image and the person who finds the message will be selected.Just have a look at it.
At first no one understood but when the image was opened in a text editor there was a message in the ceaser cipher code at the last line of the image.Ceaser cipher is method of encrypting the text so that no one else can read it.
Deciphering the hidden message revealed a link which onclicked took to an image which at first sight looked normal.
The image does not give any information about the clue at the glance but if you look at the 2 words present there that is out and guess you can think what to do next.Outguess is an application a stegnographic application which aims to hide an entire file into an image.After outguessing the image we get a link and some quotes.Have a look below.
Lets leave the quotes first and focus on the link present there.The link was of a subreddit post.The post was of a random user in which he uploaded not just one but 128 random text paragraphs.Neither the post had many images nor it contain any meaningful title nor any comments.So what was it.In the last posts there are 2 images which look simple but on outguessing those images we get huge lists.The list does not contain any hint but it contained warnings by CICADA.
The warning was that due to the popularity of the cicada many fake sites and images were also uploading so to stop them cicada embedded some hidden pgp signatures on the files received after outguessing those images which on verification confirms that it is directly from cicada and is not fake.So lets get back to the reddit post but nothing was found there for days until someone just noticed mayan numeral on the header of the post using which all the posts on the reddit post was solved.Those posts when combined gave a whole page which is directly taken from book 'THE MABINOGION' Remember the quotes you found earlier by out guessing the images are nothing but the characters at a particular line.After finding all the characters it is converted to a sentence.Have a look below.
After calling at that number the thing relied was
YOU HAVE DONE WELL
THERE ARE THREE PRIME NUMBERS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ORIGINAL FINAL .JPEG IMAGE
3301 IS ONE OF THEM.
YOU WILL HAVE TO FIND THE OTHER TWO.
MULTIPLY ALL THREE NUMBERS TOGETHER AND ADD A .COM AT THE END TO FIND THE NEXT STEP
So we have got all the three numbers and after multiplying we get 845145127 as the result and after adding a .com to it we get www.845145127.com.
Clicking on the link the people were redirected to a site where there is a countdown going on but nothing happened as it was finished.Also there was a logo of cicada there which on outguessing gives coordinates of 14 different locations across the earth.These locations were across whole earth and people had to moveout to find the locations and clue. All the location yeild a logo of cicada with a QR code on it. All the 14 codes when scanned has a poem and some quotes written on it which was common in all the posts.
The poem leads us to a book and the quotes gives us a complete link.The link was of dark web with an extension of .onion .The first few peoples who went to site were selected in the cicada group and after that the site was shut down with a message
"WE WANT THE BEST NOT THE FOLLOWERS"
After that CICADA uploaded an image that confirms that it has got those highly intelligent people and also there will be more quests like this in future. But no one knows what happened to the people who got selected for this one.
Question no 2
Once again on the same day 5th January 2013 Cicada uploaded their second quest which started with a photo stating that the search for the intelligent people again starts.Check the image below.
Outguessing the image leads us to a poem and some quotes.The poems leads to an book and the quotes help in finding the characters in those books. Arranging those characters from the quote gives us a meaningful url of dropbox which on clicking downloads some file and in those files there is also an music file the The Instar Emergence. Some analysts experimented on the music and converted it into an image which on outguessing.But this time the outguessed file had a large white space along with the hidden pgp signature.Detailed analysis found that the empty space was created using the space bar and tab bar.Converting those code into binary and then to alphbets leads us to a link.
That link leads us to a dark web page where the coordinates of 14 different locations were given. At all those 14 locations there were qr codes like the question no. 1 which on scanning leads to a dark web's website.Again the first few people to reach there are selected and then the site shuts down with a similar messsage as in first case.
Question no 3
After round one and two now it is time for round 3.On 6th of January 2013 the third puzzle was released bu cicada.Have a look at it
Outguessing those images gave a poem and quotes whch lead to a book and with the quotes gives a link of dark web.As we progress we get a total of 5 dark web links. These web links constitutes a total of 74 pages with some rule language which are of book Liber Primus.Decoding rule language is very hard as it is highly cryptic and complicated.
Due to this complexcity out of 74 pages 58 pages are still unsolved.
Since the third puzzle was never solved so the CICADA didnt uploaded the next puzzle.In 2016 it released another photo saying that after you solve the third puzzle you will get a way to next puzzle.Since then it was never solved.After some years of solving also many people gave up and now no one solves the question.