Want to work for one of the arms of the UK’s intelligence services? Are you adept at cracking codes? Well, free up a chunk of your day – there’s a puzzle that requires your expertise.
GCHQ, the intelligence agency that works alongside MI5 and MI6 to protect the UK’s security interests, is looking to recruit new intelligence agents in a new way – through an online code cracking game that is spreading through social media channels.
If you visit the site canyoucrackit, you’ll be presented with the puzzle above. To me and anyone not in the business of deciphering cryptic sequences, it will look like gibberish. To those who possess the talent and inclination, it could be their path to a job.
Nothing about the site signifies that it has anything to do with GCHQ, but those who have already solved the puzzle have reported that they are directed to a recruitment site for the agency. Apparently, this is your first step in becoming a British spy.
Plus, a GCHQ spokesperson has spoken to The Telegraph. “Code cracking skills are vital to secure the very best talent and to support the GCHQ mission in its fight against cyber threats. Our target audience is not typically attracted to traditional advertising methods and may be unaware that we are recruiting for these kinds of roles.”
Apparently, the GCHQ plans to hire about 35 people over the course of the next few months. According to the ticker on the canyoucrackit site, the game will stay open until December 12th.
The GCHQ wants the puzzle to spread via social media, as the only other thing the canyoucrackit site provides other than the puzzle are social media buttons. It seems to be working, as there is plenty of Twitter activity surrounding the cipher.
Everyone can attempt to crack the code, but you must be a British citizen in order to qualify for the job.
Spy recruitment for the age of social media: Ian Fleming would be so proud.