Saturday, December 3, 2011

Intelligence agency recruits spies with online code

British intelligence agency, The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), hopes to recruit the next generation of code-crackers by challenging computer hackers to solve a mysterious puzzle on an unmarked website. The site has been online since 3 November and discussed on a variety of blogs and forums, but it is only today that GCHQ revealed its involvement.
The puzzle appears to be an image of a list of hexadecimal values disguising a keyword that would-be spies must enter to solve the puzzle, but the actual solution may be more complex.
One proposed answer indicates that the values actually convert into computer code that reveals further information, and even the image itself may contain more than is immediately obvious.
Anyone who does manage to crack the code will be offered the chance to apply for a job at GCHQ. "The digital arena is fast moving, and from a recruitment perspective we acknowledge the need to engage with prospective candidates in new and innovative ways," said a spokesman for GCHQ. "With this marketing initiative we hope to reach out to a broader audience, who may not be attracted to traditional advertising methods."
GCHQ isn't the only government agency using competitions to harness the skills of online hackers. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is currently running a challenge that tasks people to piece together shredded documents - find out more by reading our article on the race to crack the world's hardest puzzle.

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