Cicada 3301 is a nickname given to an organization that on three occasions has posted a set of puzzles to recruit codebreakers/linguists from the public. The first internet puzzle started on January 4, 2012 on 4chan.com and ran for approximately one month. A second round began one year later on January 4, 2013, and a third round following the confirmation of a fresh clue posted on Twitter on January 4, 2014.
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, steganography, internet anonymity, and surveillance, and to this date, the puzzles ultimate aim remains unsolved.
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sources/ further reading: https://medium.com/@sanudatta11/cicada-3301-the-internet-mystery-d61367c4ad77 https://www.reddit.com/r/a2e7j6ic78h0j/ https://sciencenode.org/feature/a-brief-history-of-the-internet-.php https://www.ranker.com/list/cicada-3301-puzzle-facts/jodi-smith https://listverse.com/2019/02/11/10-things-we-know-about-cicada-3301/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicada_3301