What on Earth is Cicada 3301?
Cicada 3301 is the name of either the internet puzzles, beginning in January of 2012, 2013, and 2014, or the name of its' organizers. The puzzles themselves can be followed along from their respective articles on the Main Page in the "What Happened" section. They involve cryptographic and steganographic techniques with a theme of esoteric readings. As to the question of who's organizing and publishing these puzzles...
We don't know. All we have are two documents that allegedly came from fellowship members and 3301. We have no evidence for or against their authenticity.
Leaked email (sent in 2012)
An excerpt from the warning pastebin in 2013:
you have wondered who we are so we shall now tell you we are an international group we have no name we have no symbol we have no membership rosters we do not have a public website and we do not advertise ourselves we are a group of individuals who have proven ourselves much like you have by completing this recruitment contest and we are drawn together by common beliefs a careful reading of the texts used in the contest would have revealed some of these beliefs that tyranny and oppression of any kind must end that censorship is wrong and that privacy is an inalienable right. We are not a *hacker* group nor are we a *warez* group we do not engage in illegal activity nor do our members if you are engaged in illegal activity we ask that you cease any and all illegal activities or decline membership at this time we will not ask questions if you decline however if you lie to us we will find out. You are undoubtedly wondering what it is that we do. We are much like a *think tank*; in that our primary focus is on researching and developing techniques to aid the ideas. We advocate liberty privacy security. You have undoubtedly heard of a few of our past projects and if you choose to accept membership we are happy to have you on-board to help with future projects.
there's also this unverified Warning found on pastebin (written in 2013), though it's up to each of us to decide if this has any worth at all.
Is 3301: Is 3301 the NSA, Bitcoin, Google, Facebook, QAnon, ...?
There are dozens of theories and people convinced that their theory is correct, and who desperately try to prove their suspect is the person or group behind Cicada 3301. Keep in mind that when you look into something for too long you start to see patterns and connections that aren't there or are purely coincidental.
No connection has been confirmed in any way.
3301 offered insight into their group in the leaked email. Keep in mind that they are a group centered around privacy, so they are likely not going to reveal much about themselves. This invalidates many theories that tie 3301 to a named individual or group of individuals.
Is the 3301 puzzle over?
We don't know. All we can do is wait for the next round.
Previously, there were three recruitment rounds. The first started on the 5th of January in 2012, the second on the 5th January of 2013, and the third on the 5th of January in 2014.
You can look for information about former puzzles here:
What happens if you win?
People who solved all puzzles in 2012 leaked some (too much?) information on what happened next. "Winners" got an invitation to a secret group made up of everyone who had succeeded that far. In that group they were advised by "3301 mentors" with the ultimate goal of creating a security application. Some believe it to be a final test, others say they had already been given entry, but the consensus is 3301 did not reveal themselves to any of the mentors. Rumour has it that group was disbanded due to inactivity and lack of motivation.
In 2013 some people claimed that they got a similar invitation but that their email was never answered. It is unknown whether they are lying or if 3301 simply disappeared.
Note that 2014 puzzles were not finished (or we know nothing about anyone finishing it.)
I want to chase 3301 in the current year!
Your best option is to continually check the Uncovering Cicada Wiki as it is commonly updated.
If you want to follow more closely, you can monitor the IRC at #cicadasolvers on freenode: http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=cicadasolvers
What is the IRC channel and Uncovering Cicada Wiki?
The IRC channel was formed when 2013 puzzle was found. Our intention was to attract all puzzle solvers, work as a group and share our knowledge. We accept all different opinions and we publicly share our discoveries. No one is left behind or excluded.
This Wikia page is product of that cooperation, we used it during puzzle solving to keep track of the game, now it serves as historical chronicle and an archive of information. The channel remained active long after the 2013 puzzle was finished. You are welcome to join (if your question is not answered wait few minutes, IRC is an idle party sometimes). The main channel has been updated to #cicadasolvers.
As of 2019-2020 the primary solving efforts are now directed towards this discord server.
People editing this Wikia and Managing IRC channels are NOT CICADA 3301. We are chasing it, just as you, the reader of this article are. We are just putting our best effort to document progress of solvers in our IRC channels. We believe in power of Hive Mind and in importance of sharing information.
Our only motivation are common beliefs among ourselves and with Cicada 3301 :
common beliefs that tyranny and oppression of any kind must end that censorship is wrong and that privacy is an inalienable right.
Source: leaked email
Last but not least:
For Every Thing That Lives Is Holy
Our purpose is not to dox (find real world identity) Cicada 3301. We respect it. We respect privacy. If Cicada 3301 wants to remain anonymous, neither we nor you have any right to identify the people behind it. Such acts are showing disrespect, and it shows that you don't really believe that every entity has the right to remain anonymous.
Besides, if Cicada really is recruiting teams for development of encryption, security or anonymization software, which is illegal in many countries and will be illegal in many others in following years, it is most important that the identity of people behind it, members, supporters and even chasers, remain hidden from the public eye.
Not all mysteries are solvable, but prize comes in the pursuit.
Don't be afraid. Stand up for your beliefs. Choose your side and act accordingly.
More in-depth information is in the What happened articles
For more details check old unedited articles in Old menu or use search in top right corner of this page.