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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Cicada 3301 - The Beginning 2012

Well, much has been written about Cicada 3301 and I'm sure I will reveal nothing else. I just discovered it due to this youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_RPNI-QMIE it is generally about the 4chan message board but the part about Cicada 3301 surfacing is at 12:30. Cicada began with this image posted on the message board:

Through opening this file in a text editor they found another clue which lead folks to a url with this image:

Further investigation lead to seekers using a program named Outguess to uncover another message:

Here is a book code.  To find the book, and more information, 
go to http://www.reddit.com/r/a2e7j6ic78h0j/

1:20, 2:3, 3:5, 4:20, 5:5, 6:53, 7:1, 8:8, 9:2, 10:4, 11:8, 12:4, 
13:13, 14:4, 15:8, 16:4, 17:5, 18:14, 19:7, 20:31, 21:12, 22:36, 
23:2, 24:3, 25:5, 26:65, 27:5, 28:1, 29:2, 30:18, 31:32, 32:10,
 33:3, 34:25, 35:10, 36:7, 37:20, 38:10, 39:32, 40:4, 41:40, 
42:11, 43:9, 44:13, 45:6, 46:3, 47:5, 48:43, 49:17, 50:13, 51:4,
 52:2, 53:18, 54:4, 55:6, 56:4, 57:24, 58:64, 59:5, 60:37, 61:60, 
62:12, 63:6, 64:8, 65:5, 66:18, 67:45, 68:10, 69:2, 70:17, 71:9, 
72:20, 73:2, 74:34, 75:13, 76:21

Good luck.


This subreddit had two images, with two messages found through Outguess again:

Hash: SHA1

- From here on out, we will cryptographically sign all messages with this key.

It is available on the mit keyservers.  Key ID 7A35090F, as posted in a2e7j6ic78h0j.

Patience is a virtue.

Good luck.

Hash: SHA1

The key has always been right in front of your eyes.

This isn't the quest for the Holy Grail.  Stop making 
it more difficult than it is. 

Good luck.


A code in the original message was a book code... this gets a little hazy on my part
but basically people figured out applying this code to a text(I'm not sure if it was
the story found on the reddit page or not) gave them this:

Call us at us tele phone numBer two one four three nine oh nine six oh eight

Which people did phone and did at one point(it is now disconnected) contained a message:

The original image's dimensions were multiplied with 3301 provided searchers with this web address: http://845145127.com (now contains nothing). This website contained a Cicada image and countdown, again the image contained a message:

Hash: SHA1
You have done well to come this far.
Patience is a virtue.
Check back at 17:00 on Monday, 9 January 2012 UTC.
On that date the image was checked again and revealed a new message:
52.216802, 21.018334
48.85057059876962, 2.406892329454422
47.664196,  -122.313301
47.637520, -122.346277
47.622993, -122.312576
37.5196666666667, 126.995
33.966808, -117.650488
29.909098706850486 -89.99312818050384
25.684702, -80.441289
21.584069, -158.104211
- -33.90281, 151.18421
36.0665472222222, -94.1726416666667
37.577070, 126.813122 

Which corresponded with locations across the globe, where these were found: 

This was followed by an e-mail after which all the people who had received the e-mail went silent and no more is known for sure about what happened in 2012.

Here is the public key used to encrypt it. Note that it has a low bit modulus 
and is therefore breakable:


We have now found the individuals we sought. Thus our month-long journey ends.

For now.

Thank you for your dedication and effort. If you were unable to complete the
 test, or did not recieve an email, do not despair.

There will be more opportunities like this one.

Thank you all.


P.S. 1041279065891998535982789873959431895640\
The group then went silent until 2013. I will not summarize that year as it seems things become much more murky. I have summarized most of this information from the Uncovering Cicada Wikia --I wanted to create a record more readable for those of us with a less than perfect understanding of cryptography. I found this article about Cicada pretty interesting for further reading: Meet the Man who Solved the Mysterious Cicada 3301 Puzzle

Check out some other interesting things I have found through the interwebz:

Alvin 'Creepy' Karpis
Rich Kids of Instagram