The podcast investigating The World’s Hardest Puzzle

In January 2012, a message appeared on 4Chan, an old school online messaging board which had become a playground for hackers and conspiracy theorists. It read:

“Hello. We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test.”

“Good Luck, 3301”

Accompanying the text was the cryptic image pictured – a black-and-white cicada. This message and image was the first step in one of the most complex ongoing puzzles of the internet age – later known as Cicada 3301.

Every time one clue was solved, another would surface. They included riddles, coding and QR codes in the outside world. Theorists suggested it might be the work of recruiters for a US intelligence service.

The puzzles continued for three years, then stopped. The origins, creators and purpose of Cicada 3301 have remained a mystery. Now, over a decade later, Tommie Trelawny, founder of the investigative YouTube channel ‘Hochelaga’  and journalist & podcast producer Nicky Anderson (both picture above) have paired up for the new podcast The World’s Hardest Puzzle to reopen this cold case. This is the second instalment in podcast company Stak‘s Archive investigative documentary series.

The duo spend a year investigating the mystery, speaking with members of the solving community and interviewing Thomas Schoenberger, who claims to be the founder of Cicada 3301. What they find shows both the beauty and sinister side of revealing too much of ourselves online.

All seven episodes of Archive : The World’s Hardest Puzzle are available on Monday 19th February on your favourite podcast platform.

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