Code-breaking scavenger hunt has the Internet mystified

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by HS Cult Leader, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. HS Cult Leader

    HS Cult Leader Elite Member Gold

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    Cicada 3301: Code-breaking scavenger hunt has the Internet mystified


    ByChenda Ngak CBS News

    January 3, 2014, 4: 11 PM



    [​IMG]
    A screenshot of a Cicada 3301 clue from a website. net-netz-blog.de


    Is there a secret society attempting to recruit the best coder breakers in the world, using clues that spans across the globe and Internet? That’s what some people believe the case is with the elusive Cicada 3301 online puzzle, which, if history repeats itself, will make a return within days.
    Tekk Nolagi, a teenager from the San Francisco Bay Area who asked not to be identified by his real name, says he was sitting in a high school robotics lab in 2012 with his friends when the photo first appeared on the image message board 4chan.org.
    “It was posted on the paranormal activity thread or something like that.” Tekk told CBS News over the phone. “A bunch of people said, ‘wow, that’s creepy’ and didn’t say anything else.”
    It was an image of white text against a black background that said:
    “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 will make it all the way through. Good luck. 3301.”
    And with that image, a scavenger hunt began that involved online images, cryptography, number theory, physical clues, phone calls, QR codes and websites on the “darknet.”
    Some of the theories about who is behind the puzzle include the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency or a secret society. Some have speculated that the puzzle is a recruitment program or an alternate reality game, where players collect clues, interact with other players and solve puzzles in real life.
    According to the participants online, when the image was opened in a text editing program, a cryptic message appeared that was interpreted as a Web address. Those who were trying to solve the mystery were led to a website, which in turn led to a Reddit.com forum called "a2e7j6ic78h0j" that revealed a series of symbols and coded messages.
    Several more clues were uncovered -- including hidden messages that suggested the key to breaking the code was already posted on the a2e7j6ic78h0j forum. Once decoded, a U.S. phone number was revealed.
    The number, which has since been disconnected, had a message for callers that was yet another clue. This time, a riddle led to a website that had a picture of a cicada and what appeared to be geographic coordinates.
    According to online reports, posters were found at some of the locations around the world, including Paris, Warsaw, Seoul and Miami. Each poster had an image of a cicada and a QR code that, when scanned, revealed a message.
    Tekk says he worked with a group of nine active participants and several additional helpers to solve the breadcrumb trail of clues left by the game’s creators. One of the people working with him sent his brother out to see one of the posters, which was located in Australia, in real life. It was a physical piece of the worldwide puzzle that they could confirm existed.
    “I was in awe and frightened because I didn’t know exactly what the reach of these people were. Imagining they have access to all these different places around the world at the same time kind of blew all our minds. We started getting a little bit nervous in the chat room,” he said.
    After a series of increasingly intricate clues, a final message was discovered on the Reddit forum with the symbols and coded text that read:
    “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 receive an email, do not despair. There will be more opportunities like this one.”
    Soon after, the trail went cold and no new clues were release until a year later on Jan. 4, 2013, when a new image appeared on 4chan.
    Tekk chose not to continue chasing the clues the following year, saying, “I stopped after my first year because it was too time consuming.”
    Just like the previous year, a similar trail of clues was revealed after the initial image appeared on 4chan, including a sequence of prime numbers, an audio file and a mysterious Twitter account tweeting coded messages.
    One of the clues post on Wikia led to a bizarre test that was reportedly emailed to participants asked multiple-choice questions like: “I am the voice* inside my head” and “Observation changes the thing being observed.” The choices in answers included: true, false, indeterminate, meaningless, self-referential, game rule, strange loop and none of the above.
    One of the final pieces of the 2013 puzzle is an email that was reportedly sent to those who passed the test. There hasn’t been much activity since that time, and much of the community following Cicada 3301 anxiously waits for Jan. 4, 2014 to arrive, when a new clue might be posted online.
    What little information is known about Cicada 3301 has been posted on websites like Wikia and Github, but no one seems to know who is behind the puzzle and what their motives may be for creating such an elaborate trail of clues.
    Tekk has some theories of what the group’s end game may be, which he says was revealed to him when he found himself in a chat room, of sorts, with people claiming to the organizers the Cicada 3301 puzzle.
    “It seems like their end goal would be to have some kind of free and open cryptography and anonymity software released to the public, but that’s just a small facet of what they’re trying to do. I don’t think anybody actually knows what they’re going to do from there,” he said.
     
  2. FlaFlaFlunkie

    FlaFlaFlunkie Fabulous!

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  3. Limo Wreck

    Limo Wreck Aboard the great mothership Staff Member

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  4. crazypreacher

    crazypreacher Hey yo

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    That's pretty dang cool.
     
  5. zerokarma

    zerokarma Well-Known Member

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    I was reading about this a few months ago, there is a blog where one guy detailed how far he got with it, he managed to get fairly far along before getting stuck at one of the steps. Fairly interesting stuff, there is more info on it on Reddit as well.

    Most people seem to think it is a recruiting method for the NSA or CIA.
     
  6. stripes

    stripes Active Member Banned User

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    mr plum did it in the kitchen with a lead pipe. next:coffee:
     
  7. vaginapoosie

    vaginapoosie black magic woman VIP

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    that shit is either some fantasy "chasing your tail" mind bender, or it's for really underground illegal activity.

    anyway, it reminded me of TREASURE: THE SEARCH FOR THE GOLDEN HORSE. anyone ever see that?

    [video=youtube;ymec2dg4O8A]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymec2dg4O8A[/video]

    that shit used to mess with my mind so much.
     
  8. zerokarma

    zerokarma Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it is a joke or some fantasy thing, there is some serious purpose behind it.

    The reason why a lot of people think it is is a NSA/CIA recruiting tool is due to the high sophistication of it all, this isn't some amateur challenge, both of them were highly organized and specifically targeted. It's not a single person orchestrating it either, the message on the telephone poles were posted all over the world at the same time, most of the spots were in the U.S. though and a Texas phone number was also setup for another step. Only an agency like the NSA or CIA would be likely to do something like this challenge, could it be a private organization? possibly but this is the internet after all and nobody can keep secrets or keep their mouths shut, all the details would have been leaked if it was a hacker group or some sort of hoax.

    All the questions in the steps is way beyond what I could figure out but I do find the whole thing pretty interesting.
     
  9. datchguy

    datchguy New Member Banned User

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    Let's reverse the clock to 2010 and let's finally, as Dawgshed, crack the aes256 algorithm guarding the file: insurance.aes256!
     
  10. Jon Mendelsohn

    Jon Mendelsohn New Member Banned User

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    It's going to be a huge downer when this turns out to be "viral advertising" for the new Avengers movie or whatever.
     
  11. greyt

    greyt Well-Known Member

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    pretty cool, but i'd bet money it's just a game or trick set up by some dudes on the internet. these days it's not hard at all to coordinate a group of people to put those posters up at different points around the globe.
     
  12. nicksgt

    nicksgt Well-Known Member

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    Be be sure to drink your Ovaltine.
     
  13. ScottBaiosPenis

    ScottBaiosPenis Well-Known Member

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    the nsa and cia are goverend by us law funny as it sounds even tho they recruit ppl all jobs have to be openly posted somewhere a lot end up in the economist and intelligdence industry pubs,sadly they are just not that cool to do something like this

    only in the movies
     
  14. Jon Mendelsohn

    Jon Mendelsohn New Member Banned User

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    DAMN! Now they are dropping code on Dawgshed!
     
  15. datchguy

    datchguy New Member Banned User

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    :coffee:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  16. HS Cult Leader

    HS Cult Leader Elite Member Gold

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Beth143nacho

    Beth143nacho Well-Known Member VIP

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    Greeting star fighter, you have been recruited by the star league to defend the frontier from Zul and the kodan armada! We've chosen to recruit you through this low-budget video game that you played while your friends visited the beach and someone banged your girlfried
     
  18. Winst

    Winst Well-Known Member VIP

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    Not even close.

    That "secret" is already well known and is sumwhat widely "dispersed".



    [video=youtube;p8-pP4VboBk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8-pP4VboBk[/video] .... :bigthink
     
  19. zerokarma

    zerokarma Well-Known Member

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  20. WillyBest

    WillyBest Achiever Gold

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