A global internet puzzle that requires advanced computer skills to solve has reopened online.
It is the third year running that the mysterious Cicada 3301 has appeared, with no clues as to who is behind the puzzle.
Some believe it is a recruitment process for a government spy agency, while others believe it could be the work of a bank.
The puzzle takes people on a treasure trail around the so-called dark net.
This year’s competition was announced via a Twitter account to which was attached an image file with the following message: “Hello. Epiphany is upon you. Your pilgrimage has begun. Enlightenment awaits. Good luck. 3301.”
Thousands of fans have been drawn into the competition and have eagerly awaited its relaunch.
This year’s iteration already appears to be fiendishly difficult, requiring understanding of OutGuess, a complex steganography tool.
Steganography hides data inside images, and is often used for nefarious purposes by terrorists and paedophiles.Anglo-Saxon runes
Computer scientist Prof Alan Woodward is one of those who has previously taken part in the competition.
“The puzzles are very complicated and require knowledge of steganography, cryptography as well as obscure existential texts,” he told the BBC.
Previous competitions have taken people on both a mental and physical journey, encompassing cyber-punk literature, Anglo-Saxon runes and the work of occultist and magician Aleister Crowley.
Last year, part of the treasure trail also required people to travel to physical locations to decode QR codes posted on telegraph poles dotted around the US.
Now that the competition is widely known about there has been a spate of fakes but for those with the necessary knowledge it is easy to spot the real thing.
“The group uses a PGP signature and put up a key signed with this,” explained Prof Woodward.
Speculation about who is behind the puzzle has been gaining momentum as the competition attracts more publicity.
“It could be a criminal organisation looking for recruits or it could be a start-up looking to set up a new crypto-currency, possibly even a bank,” said Prof Woodward.
“Lots of people think it could be a government agency and that looks reasonably likely as whoever is being recruited isn’t telling anybody afterwards,” he added.
The Latest on: Steganography
via Google News
The Latest on: Steganography
- Shakespeare In A Zip In A RAR, Hidden In An Image On Twitteron November 21, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Steganography involves hiding data in something else — for example, encoding data in a picture. [David Buchanan] used polyglot files not to hide data, but to send a large amount of data in a sin ...
- Cheating AI Caught Hiding Data Using Steganographyon November 21, 2020 at 4:00 pm
AI today is like a super fast kid going through school whose teachers need to be smarter than if not as quick. In an astonishing turn of events, a (satelite)image-to-(map)image conversion ...
- Researcher gets NSF grant to study hidden messages in digital imageson November 16, 2020 at 9:16 pm
BINGHAMTON, NY -- For more than 25 years, Binghamton University Distinguished Professor Jessica Fridrich has studied digital-image steganography -- the science of hiding messages inside ordinary ...
- Hidden messages in digital images are Binghamton professor’s research passionon November 11, 2020 at 4:00 pm
For more than 25 years, Distinguished Professor Jessica Fridrich has studied digital-image steganography — the science of hiding messages inside ordinary-looking photos. Just as technology has evolved ...
- Cybercriminals get creative with old and new techniques in Q3: Reporton November 10, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Some bad actors leveraged steganography through a new method abusing the Authenticode-signed Windows Defender binary. It is “an integral and approved program for the Windows Defender security ...
- Steganography Application Fingerprint Database (SAFDB) Version 3.7on October 7, 2020 at 5:01 pm
Backbone Security released Version 3.7 of the Steganography Application Fingerprint Database (SAFDB) which now contains more than 875 steganography applications. Developed in Backbone's ...
- First use of steganographyon June 8, 2019 at 10:45 pm
Dating back to the 5th century BC, steganography is one of the oldest methods of concealing secret information. According to the classical author Herodotus, it was first used by the tyrant Histiaeus, ...
- Steganography on Android Based Smart Phoneson March 18, 2019 at 12:03 pm
Steganography is an old technique to hide data into resources. In this paper, the authors have explained how this technique can be used in android based smart phone. The paper includes basics of ...
- Steganography with Data Integrityon March 18, 2019 at 11:18 am
Steganography is the technique of hiding private or sensitive information within something that appears to be nothing out of the usual. Steganography is often confused with cryptology because the ...
- social steganographyon February 26, 2019 at 3:23 am
See steganography. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction requires permission.
via Bing News