Cicada 3301 is a mysterious organization seeking "highly intelligent individuals"

Wikipedia: "Cicada 3301 is a name given to an enigmatic organization that on three occasions has posted a set of complex puzzles and ARGs to recruit capable cryptanalysts from the public.

"The first Internet puzzle started on January 5, 2012 and ran for approximately one month. A second round began exactly one year later on January 5, 2013, and a third round is ongoing following confirmation of a fresh clue posted on Twitter on 5 January 2014. The stated intent was to recruit "intelligent individuals" by presenting a series of puzzles which were to be solved, each in order, to find the next. The puzzles focused heavily on data security, cryptography, and steganography."

(Via Pickover)

Notable Replies

  1. Jorpho says:

    And if it's not an ARG, I might suspect that the principal activities of this mysterious organization of highly intelligent individuals consist of getting sloshed at the pub twice a month.

  2. It's obvious if you do well on this, Robert Preston will try to recruit you to fight space aliens along with a friendly reptilian navigator. But don't worry about your friends and family -- an android duplicate named Beta will fill your role on Earth while you are gone.

  3. seems like scoop-interview-decide would be much more effective for a government or corporate-funded crypto group. i'd bet on it being an ARG, with a slim possibility of it being a legitimate group of amateurs.

    still, anything that makes the world more interesting is fine by me. i ran into a 20s-ish drifter on the Harvard Bridge once who asked me if i really knew what symbols were. i reluctantly said "yes," and he clarified that he meant "symbols" and not "cymbals." i repeated myself with growing trepidation, and then he told me that he'd made a crypto breakthrough in the (paper) notebook he was carrying, but was afraid that the NSA would steal it again.

    so i know that the odds are overwhelmingly on this guy just having a screw loose, but i still like to imagine that he had actually cracked RSA or whatever, possibly for the hundredth time, except that he keeps forgetting his notebooks at various cafes where they are thrown out.

  4. Or at least sell you some marching band uniforms and instruments. Your town might even get a monorail out of the deal.

  5. The real question is which country or group "disappears" you when you solve it?

    Hurray, you just won a life being forced to crack passwords for the Russian mafia in some dank basement, or even worse, a job at the NSA. frowning This seems like an area where anyone smart enough to have these skills would also be smart enough to not make them known...

Continue the discussion

18 more replies