Uncovering Cicada Wiki

The Questions

Upon entering their emails into the website, the solvers were given a set of test questions, and requested not to publish them. There were 19 questions in total, with three different types. Here are the screenshots of questions as they were on .onion site: http://imgur.com/a/YFA1a

The first type of question gave a statement and then a multitude of answers, which were:

  • True
  • False
  • Indeterminate
  • Meaningless
  • Self-Referential
  • Game Rule
  • Strange Loop
  • None of the above

These statements were the following:

There is no truth

What you are is more important than what you do

You cannot step into the same river twice

Observation changes the thing being observed

This sentence is false

I am the voice* inside my head (You undoubtedly just thought "I don't have a voice inside my head." That is the voice the question is referring to)

Disregarding color blindness, any arbitrary color looks the same to all people

If A is not true, then it must be:

1 = 0.9 recurring

People who only study material after a test do better than those who do not study at all

Grass is only green due to a relationship between the grass, the light and your mind

All things are true

We get hundreds of millions of sensations coming into our minds at any moment. Our brain cannot process them all so it categorises these signals according to our belief systems. This is why we find evidence to support our beliefs and rarely notice evidence to the contrary.

The second type of question included an input box with a question. These questions were:

What does the word 'it' refer to in this sentence: It is dark outside?

The mathematical operation known as addition is modeled after what?

Explain, in your own words, what mathematical operation is relied upon for the security of Shamir's Secret Sharing Scheme?

Name similarities between the concept and reality of the 'News Feed' on Facebook?

In the programming language of your choice, write a function that returns a function that returns the value 3301.

The final type of question only appeared once, and it had different radio buttons to the first type. This question was:

Two people are standing by a lake. One says, "That's a lovely reflection in the water." The other says "I see no reflection, but it's a fascinating assortment of fish, plants and rocks within the water."

Which one is lying?

The answers to this question were:

  • The one who sees the reflection
  • The one who sees the fish
  • Neither
  • Both

It has been noted that the abstractness of these questions is very similar to the questions that Google supposedly asks its interviewees for serious roles at the company. They can supposedly be used to determine a person's personality and type.

Each question in the test was timed to prevent one from externally researching questions, and the questions chosen were in a random order from the above pool.

This page also saved two cookies on the user's computer, which were:

  • 167=6941f707ff39d259ff71657a79cb6b54c184d2f0455810109c1a960860bde0e6;
  • 761=7bc1e7805ccfa518920f0d94fc4e8f7dbd83287a03b337b89109cd2287befae5;

Note that 167 and 761 are palindromic EMIRPS, primes which appeared earlier in the puzzleset (The Instar Emergence song is 2:47 long, or 167 seconds. Name of the file: 761.mp3.

An emirp (prime spelled backwards) is a prime number that results in a different prime when its digits are reversed.
A palindromic prime (sometimes called a palprime) is a prime number that is also a palindromic number.
A palindromic number or numeral palindrome is a number that remains the same when its digits are reversed.
Palindromic prime used in puzzle was one in twiter account: https://twitter.com/1231507051321

The Servers

After completing the test each solver was sent the following email to the address they had indeed yes inputted. Please note that the GPG signature has been removed, but multiple sources have confirmed that they received this email.

In the programming language of your choice build a TCP server
that implements the protocol below.  The server code must be
written by you and you alone, although you are free to use any
modules or libraries publicly available for the selected
programming language.

Once you have done this, make it accessible as a Tor hidden
service.  Then provide us with the onion address and port
via a GPG-encrypted email to this address.

You have until 0:00 UTC on 3 Feb, 2013.  Any emails received
after that time will be ignored.

Good luck.




   The TCP server MUST listen on an arbitrary port, and send and
   receive plain text with lines separated by <CRLF> (representing
   a carriage return followed by a line feed).  The TCP server MUST
   disregard the case of input.

   In the examples below, lines sent by the server will be preceded
   with "S:" and lines sent by the client will be preceded by "C:"

   Each message sent by the server MUST conform to the format:

       [CODE] [RESPONSE NAME] [RESPONSE (optional)]<CRLF>

   Where [CODE] and [RESPONSE NAME] is one of:

        00     Welcome
        01     Ok
        02     Error
        03     Data
        99     Goodbye


   a. Remote Connection

   Upon receiving a remote connection, the server MUST greet the
   client with a 00 WELCOME message.  The RESPONSE of a welcome
   message MAY contain arbitrary text.  The arbitrary text MUST
   at the very least contain the name of the programming language
   used to implement the server.

   Upon receiving a 00 WELCOME message, the client may begin
   initiating procedures.



   b. RAND [n]
   Upon receiving a "RAND" request by the client, the server will
   first send a 01 OK response, and will then provide the client
   with [n] cryptographically random numbers within the range of
   0-255.  Each number MUST be followed by <CRLF>.  After the last
   number has been sent, the server MUST send a dot (.) on a line
   by itself.


       C: RAND 3<CRLF>
       S: 01 OK<CRLF>
       S: [first random number]<CRLF>
       S: [second random number]<CRLF>
       S: [third random number]<CRLF>
       S: .<CRLF>

   c. QUINE

   Upon receiving a "QUINE" request by the client, the server will
   first send a 01 OK response, and will then provide the client
   with a quine in the programming language used to implement the
   server.  This quine does not have to be original.  After the last
   line of code has been sent, the server MUST send a dot (.) on a
   line by itself.


       C: QUINE<CRLF>
       S: 01 OK<CRLF>
       S: [quine code]<CRLF>
       S: .<CRLF>

   d. BASE29 [n]

   Upon receiving a "BASE29" request by the client, the server will
   send a 01 OK response followed by the number [n] converted into
   its base 29 representation.


       C: BASE29 3301<CRLF>
       S: 01 OK 3QO<CRLF>

   e. CODE

   Upon receiving a "CODE" request by the client, the server will
   send a 01 OK response followed by its own source code.  After the
   last line of code has been sent, the server MUST send a dot(.) on
   a line by itself.  


       C: CODE<CRLF>
       S: 01 OK<CRLF>
       S: [Server Source Code]<CRLF>
       s: .<CRLF>

   f. KOAN

   Upon receiving a "KOAN" request by the client, the server will
   send a 01 OK response followed by a koan.  After the last line of
   the koan, the server MUST send a dot (.) on a line by itself.


       C: KOAN<CRLF>
       S: 01 OK<CRLF>
       S: A master who lived as a hermit on a mountain was asked by a<CRLF>
       S: monk, "What is the Way?<CRLF>
       S: "What a fine mountain this is," the master said in reply<CRLF>
       S: "I am not asking you about the mountain, but about the Way.<CRLF>
       S: "So long as you cannot go beyond the mountain, my son, you<CRLF>
       S: cannot reach the Way," replied the master<CRLF>
       S: .

   g. DH [p]

   Upon receiving a "DH" request by the client, the server will proceed
   to perform a Diffie-Hellman key exchange using [p] as the prime modulus.
   The server will then select a base [b] to use in the protocol, as well as
   its secret integer.  The server will then compute its exponent result [e]
   as specified within the Diffie-Hellman key exchange protocol. 

   The server MUST then respond with a 01 OK response followed by the
   selected base [b] and computed exponent [e] separated by white space.

   The client MUST respond with its exponent result [e2], and the client and
   server will follow the rest of the Diffie-Hellman key exchange protocol.

   The server MUST then compute the resulting secret key, and provide it
   using 03 DATA [k].


       C: DH 23<CRLF>
       S: 01 OK 5 8<CRLF>
       C: 19<CRLF>
       S: 03 DATA 2<CRLF>

   j. NEXT

   Upon receiving a "NEXT" request by the client, the server will respond
   with 01 OK and then listen for text data to be provided by the client. 
   The client will send a dot (.) on a line by itself after the last line
   of text.  The server MUST record this.  This data will be the next set
   of instructions.  Once the data is received the server will respond
   with 01 OK.


       C: NEXT<CRLF>
       S: 01 OK<CRLF>
       C: -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----<CRLF>
       C: .<CRLF>
       S: 01 OK<CRLF>


   Upon receiving a "DH" request by the client, the server MUST respond with
   99 GOODBYE and then gracefully close the connection.


       S: 99 GOODBYE<CRLF>

The solvers began work on their TCP server programs and submitted them by the deadline presented in the email. An example server coded in Go is here, and an example server coded in python is here.

There was no response until two weeks later, when finally the TCP servers were pinged.

A log of one of the server testings is below:

2013/02/25 14:32:01 server is running under address [::]:3307
2013/03/03 10:57:48 got connection from
2013/03/03 10:58:05 executing 'rand 3' for
2013/03/03 10:58:09 executing 'rand 3' for
2013/03/03 10:58:18 executing 'rand 0' for
2013/03/03 10:58:29 executing 'rand 1' for
2013/03/03 10:58:56 executing 'quine' for
2013/03/03 10:59:10 executing 'base29 1033' for
2013/03/03 10:59:14 executing 'koan' for
2013/03/03 10:59:16 executing 'koan' for
2013/03/03 10:59:18 executing 'koan' for
2013/03/03 10:59:21 executing 'koan' for
2013/03/03 10:59:28 executing 'dh 3301' for
2013/03/03 10:59:56 executing 'dh 3301' for
2013/03/03 11:00:29 executing 'dh 3301' for
2013/03/03 11:00:58 executing 'next' for
2013/03/03 11:01:11 executing 'dh' for
2013/03/03 11:01:18 executing 'goodbye' for
2013/03/03 11:01:18 closing connection to

The End?

There were reports that stated they received a message similar to the leaked email from 2012's puzzle. These reports initially could not be confirmed as no email was leaked until much later...

In 2020, a redditor noticed an old pastebin with the same message as The Leaked Email from 2012, but with an intact signature dated to 2013:

PGP-Signed Message
Hash: SHA1


Congratulations.  Your testing has finally come to an end.  We hope you have enjoyed
the "vacation" over the last few weeks.  You will be very busy now should you choose
to join us.

There are two final steps, although there won't be any hidden codes, or secret messages,
or physical treasure hunts.  This first of these is only honesty.  We have always been
honest with you, and we shall continue to be honest with you.  And we expect you to be
honest with us in return.

You have all wondered who we are, and 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.

Please answer the next few questions, and send your encrypted responses to

* Do you believe that every human being has a right to privacy and anonymity, and is within
  their rights to use tools which help obtain and maintain privacy : i.e., cash, strong
  encryption, anonymity software, etc?

* Do you believe that information should be free?

* Do you believe that censorship harms humanity?

We look forward to hearing from you.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.11 (GNU/Linux)


It was after this that everything went silent, again. Until 2014