Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ultimate brain-teaser: crack this code and become a cybersleuth

Code to crack: those smart enough to solve the riddle will be in line for a number of new jobs.

Code to crack: those smart enough to solve the riddle will be in line for a number of new jobs. Photo:

Can you solve the puzzle contained in the image above?

British citizens able to crack the code could begin a new career as a cybersleuth, helping to combat international terrorism.

One of Britain's top intelligence agencies has launched a cryptic online treasure hunt to recruit the next generation of electronic spies.

The riddle, entitled "Can You Find It?", was posted online by the government's top-secret eavesdropping service, The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).


The brain-teaser consists of a grid of 29 blocks of five letters, which candidates have to decipher to provide five answers.

Those answers then lead the applicant to an online "treasure hunt", which hopefuls have six weeks to crack.

Those smart enough to solve the riddle will be in line for a number of new jobs at the Cheltenham-based agency, which famously cracked Hitler's Enigma code during World War II.

A similar cryptic recruitment campaign was carried out last year, and was cracked by just 170 people out of 3.2 million who visited the website.

"The complex codes have been created by a GCHQ team of top mathematicians," a spokeswoman for the agency said.

"They set a high bar for recruiting curious, tenacious and creative candidates who have the intellectual ability, though not necessarily the practical experience or qualifications, to join GCHQ and support the government's national cyber security agenda."

Jane Jones, the head of resourcing at the agency, told The Daily Telegraph in London that the challenge would be critical in finding the right people to help protect Britain.

"The 21st century is confronting us with online threats that are difficult and dangerous, so we want employees who have evolved with the ever-changing digital world and therefore have the right skills to combat these challenges," she said.

"It's a puzzle but it's also a serious test – the jobs on offer here are vital to protecting national security."

Salaries for successful applicants range from £26,000 ($44,000) to £60,000.

How would you go about solving the puzzle? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Fairfax Media
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