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Cicada 3301

An Internet Mystery

Presentation by:
Skand V Gupta

● Cicada 3301 is a nickname given to an organization that on three

occasions has posted a set of puzzles to recruit code breakers/linguists
from the public.

● The stated intent was to recruit "intelligent individuals" by presenting a

series of puzzles which were to be solved.

● The puzzles focused heavily on data security, cryptography, and


● The first internet puzzle started on January 4, 2012 and ran for
approximately one month.

● An unknown user on 4chan posted an image and asked to users to

solve a clue hidden in the image.

● The user went by the pseudonym 3301.

● This led to the most elaborate scavenger hunt internet has ever seen.
The image when opened in text editor led to a link
The link led to another image
At first the image appeared to be a dead end.
But on further investigation it led to a software
The software led to a book and deciphering
clues provided a landline number
When called the number played a pre-recorded message
● The two missing numbers turned out to be dimensions of original

● Then multiplying these numbers along with 3301 and using answer as
web address , the users were led to another website

502 X 509 X 3301 =

The website showed a number of coordinates and
told users to find them
The location contained posters with Cicada symbol on them
with a QR code
The posters led to a book .

The book led to another link

The link led to another website

● But here was a twist , the website only accepted first 20 or so

candidates and refused the others
● Also the selected users were told to maintain privacy

● Exactly, an year after the end of first

puzzle a second puzzle was released
on Twitter.
● The puzzle ended after selecting 5 or
so finalists.

● CICADA 3301 went silent on October 3 , 2014.

● Whether the Cicada 3301 is an organisation or a cult we will never
know. It will forever remain a mystery.
● But it led the world on the most epic scavenger hunt internet has ever