Thursday, December 1, 2011

Want a Job as a Spy? Start with a Code Cracking Quiz! (UPDATED)

UK - No longer content with simply approaching the brightest from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, intelligence agency GCHQ has launched a code-cracking competition to attract new talent.

Knowing what this is might help.
The electronic surveillance organisation, the UK Government Communications Headquarters, is asking potential applicants to solve a code posted on a website.

It will direct potential candidates to the competition, hosted on an anonymous website, via sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

If the layers of code it has set are cracked, applicants will be presented with a keyword to enter into a form field. They will then be re-directed to the GCHQ website, where hopefuls will find details of the types of roles which could reflect their skills.

The aim is to attract candidates who might not apply through more conventional channels. (more)

A simple Google search unlocks the supposedly secret completion page to GCHQ's code-cracking competition.

The signals snooping agency launched a codebreaking competition this week, promoted via social networks, that aimed to find would be code breakers that conventional recruitment efforts might miss. The challenge involved making sense of a 16x10 grid of 8-bit hexadecimal numbers to figure out a password, and then developing a virtual machine to execute code that would lead to the final page.

Puzzle-solvers had 10 days to crack the codes. However instead of solving this puzzle, which was not trivial to conquer, at least if some of the emails we've received are any guide, the completion page could be reached via a simple Google search.


"All it takes to find the page is to use the site: command in Google, as the 'Can You Crack It?' webmaster seemingly didn't hide the success page from search engines," Graham Cluley of net security firm Sophos explains. (more)