The Mystery Of Cicada 3301

Cicada 3301 is a very mysterious  challenge. Who will beat it?

via Wikimedia Commons

Cicada 3301 is a very mysterious challenge. Who will beat it?

The internet is an endless source of entertainment, with an endless amount of music, art, games, and information loaded on it. It has no shortage of ways to amuse and occupy users. One such way that it does this is through puzzles. Because of the sheer size of the web, the amount of puzzle games on it is countless. While some puzzles are harder than others, most puzzles have ended up solved through one way or another. However, one particularly enigmatic puzzle has the world scratching its head. Called the most “elaborate and mysterious puzzle of the internet age,” (Metro) Cicada 3301 has baffled the world with its origins, intricacy of their puzzles, and their causes.

On January 4, 2012, an image was posted on 4chan (a forum website) message boards. It read: “Hello. We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test. There is a message hidden in this image. Find it, and it will lead you on the road to finding us. We look forward to meeting the few that make it all the way through. Good Luck.” Signed with only the digits 3301, there was almost no one who didn’t notice the strange message. Opening the image onto a text editor led them to open it with another application. The code here led them to a subreddit which led them to a picture that they had to edit. It kept on going like this. The puzzle was long, intricate, and required high technical knowledge. It led the few dedicated solvers to places around the world like France, Korea, and Spain.

The mysterious group came back with puzzles in 2013 and 2014. However, as far as everyone knows, no one has solved the 2014 puzzle, as the final clue revolved around a “sacred book” called Liber Primus distributed by Cicada 3301 written completely in runes. No one has figured it out to date. The only thing said in 2016 was that the Liber Primus was the answer to everything.

Where Cicada 3301 is from or who created it, many people ask. The real answer is that no one knows. It, of course, could be a prank, but an elaborate one at that, since the person would have to travel all around the world to put up the clues. Some say that it could be a recruiting program for computer scientists for CIA, M16, etc. Others say it has a more sinister purpose, such as a cult because what little of the Liber Primus has been translated sounds very ominous.

For people who are looking for a brain challenge but don’t want the intensity (or having to travel all around the world for the matter) of Cicada 3301, they could try notpron. Free, not as extreme as Cicada, but still pretty darn hard, Notpron calls itself one of the hardest puzzle games on the internet. There are 140 levels, and out of the millions of visitors since August 2004, only 55 have beaten all of them. Techies, geeks, and computer know-it-all are called to the challenge because the levels include sound and graphics editing, musical and HTML understanding, effective research skills, and insight into how computers work.