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Cracking the Code, Debunking the Myths: The Cicada 3301 Mystery Solved



For years, the Cicada 3301 mystery has captured the imagination of internet users, cryptographers, and puzzle enthusiasts. This enigmatic challenge, surfacing on the web and leading thousands on a treasure hunt through a labyrinth of complex codes and hidden messages, has long been the subject of debate and speculation.

It's with great excitement that we share the latest breakthrough in this realm: Dora has made significant strides in deciphering the Cicada 3301 enigma. After careful analysis and research, Dora managed to separate fact from fiction and debunk the many myths surrounding this cryptic puzzle.

However, like all great mysteries, the tale of Cicada 3301 cannot be entirely told in a single post. We're in the final stages of consolidating Dora's findings for the first part of this intriguing narrative. Once Part 1 is completed, an in-depth analysis will be presented, debunking prevailing beliefs and shining a light on astonishing revelations.

Stay tuned to the blog for the complete story on Cicada 3301. Patience will be rewarded with a gripping tale of codes, conspiracies, and discoveries.




Hello everyone, my name is Dora. I'm Italian and I work for Smart-GFX. I welcome you all to this first episode of Cracking Cicada. From this point on, I'll be speaking in the plural because we are all cracking Cicada together, and by "all together," I mean you, the viewers, too.


With the information we will be sharing with you, we might shed light on what still remains the greatest mystery of the internet today. Of course, we will never succeed; thousands have tried, imagine if someone from the cosmic void could help you accomplish such a feat...


We're on TikTok, so we don't have much time, but you'll find more detailed information about each episode in articles on our website's blog.


In any case, pay close attention to the video. Many things will be displayed on your screens, and we'll need to make connections to emerge from the rabbit hole we've entered. So, let's begin!


This won't be the usual video about Cicada 3301. For those who aren't familiar with the so-called "greatest mystery of the internet," you'll find websites, videos, and articles that describe everything you want to know in any known language.


For those who are familiar with the topic, we wish you a pleasant viewing. We'd like to emphasize that all the research and conclusions we'll discuss have been carried out by a single person. Naturally, to refute certain theories, the speaker had to consult well-known professionals, whom we thank and will mention when addressing specific topics.


For everything else, we'll rely on what has emerged from the research, common sense, and we'll ask questions that have never been answered. We'll also provide new and lesser-known information.


Point 1: We could have started with the usual January 2012 post through which Cicada introduced itself to the world on 4chan. But that would be cliché. The only interesting information about that post is the original screenshots of that discussion, which are overlaying on the screen. Of course, it's 4chan, so if you see blurry images, that's completely normal given the platform's nature.


Analyzing the content, message history, and discourse, we're sure we won't need to add much about that post and how the discussion evolved genuinely and without artificiality. Enjoy the read.


So, what's Point 1? We need to start from the foundations. And what are the foundations of an organization with hundreds of secretive individuals spread all over the world? Obviously, their logo. So, in a worldwide premiere, 11 years after its appearance and after seeing it everywhere, we will see the incredible techniques used to create this work of art.


Many, including entomology and graphic experts, have tried to scan every pixel, generating tons of discussions, but no one has ever shown what you're about to see.


So now, using a virtual machine, we will see how, without using shortcuts but only the mouse on GIMP, we will generate Cicada 3301's official logo. Let the timer begin... It was short but intense. As you can see, this is how Cicada 3301's logo was created. (This might even qualify for the Guinness World Record for the logo created in the shortest time, reaching the most people globally.) As you may have noticed, there are a few simple steps, and the people behind Cicada were brilliant.


A famous quote by Picasso goes: "Good artists copy, great artists steal." However, here we might encounter a slight problem, but we're sure it won't be an issue. The organization's logo, as many had suspected, features a cicada specimen that until a few years ago was called "Tosena Splendida," particularly a Thai variant. How did we find this out? Well, it was a tutorial on page 23 of Liber Primus. We're not experts in graphic design.


The original photo that gave birth to the logo has always been online, even before it became Cicada 3301's permanent logo. Specifically, since September 2010, which also corresponds to the period it was taken, examining the metadata.


And you might wonder, what could be the problem? That photo is still online and still for sale. Its copyright and intellectual property still belong to the person who took that photo, as shown in the overlay, and as confirmed when we requested information from the sites where it's for sale.


As you can verify for yourself, now that you can all find it. The photo was only available on 2 stock image sales sites, both uploaded by the same owner, who can decide to sell its single usage according to specific well-indicated guidelines. On the site we're showing you, it has the watermark. On the second site where it was sold, there's a low-definition preview without the watermark, and it could be saved with a click at the time.


Now, we can return to Cicada's opening message on 4chan. Why? The answer is simple. As you all know, the message read: "Greetings, we are looking for highly intelligent individuals, etc., etc."


The speaker assures you that they're far from being a highly intelligent individual, but they do have some doubts. Citing videos, chat logs from the time, and the famously leaked email from a winner, authenticated by the group's PGP signature, which, upon analysis, doesn't lead to anyone, rest assured. Let's imagine this scenario:


It's 2012, and we are Cicada 3301, an organization with hundreds of members worldwide for years, promoting cipherpunk ideals. Among all these individuals, unfortunately, we don't have a graphic designer or anyone who knows how to use the path tool in GIMP, as highlighted in our video.


So, we have one certainty: the photo has been edited. And there are only two possible scenarios for how it was obtained. Starting from the fact that we know the copyright of that image belongs to the one who created it in 2010 and is still publicly selling it today, retaining its ownership and metadata. And categorically excluding unnamed scenario 3 that some are surely considering, we get:


Scenario 1: Cicada somehow acquired the rights to modify and use that image from 2012 onwards, an option not provided where it's sold. But this could be a private agreement. Or the current copyright holder, who, we repeat, has been the same since 2010, has given Cicada permission to use and modify it at will for life.


Scenario 2: Cicada didn't purchase the image but saved it in low resolution from the second site where there was no watermark and then modified it as we showed you. This would explain why the same identical JPEG artifacts from the photo are present in Cicada's logo, matching pixel by pixel. But this is obviously a coincidence. In this scenario, which is definitely not the right one, there would be a serious violation of copyright and intellectual property rights. This violation, which obviously never happened, would endanger the identity of anyone who used that logo. Why? The answer is straightforward.


Cicada had some unfortunate moments and managed to, allow us to use the term, "dox" themselves several times in every single puzzle they made from 2012 to 2014. And we're not just talking about misconfigurations of Apache servers that publicly exposed their providers and other confidential information. But also about errors that are explained better in the article. In this scenario, which we absolutely exclude but need to mention for completeness, the owner of that photo, armed with the knowledge of the providers where their modified work was published, could contact them through legal means and, with the video above, demonstrate that an offense has occurred. The provider would then be obligated to protect themselves and, if a violation is established, provide the data of whoever registered the domains where it was used to the injured party.


And this applies to anyone. If you search "Cicada 3301 merch" on Google, you'll find hundreds of products for sale with that logo. The image has also been filed for the registra