Can you crack the code, spy agency asks

2011-12-02 22:38
London - Can you crack the code? That's the question Britain's electronic listening agency, GCHQ, is asking in an online campaign to find the next generation of cyber specialists.

GCHQ quietly launched a cryptic website last month featuring a box of code made up of numbers and letters. There is no branding on the site, only the phrase "Can you crack it?" and a box to type in an answer.

The agency has now revealed it is behind the campaign, and said on Friday it's trying to reach individuals with "a keen interest in code breaking and ethical hacking" for careers at GCHQ.

"It's to arouse interest in people who perhaps might not be caught by our normal recruitment campaigns," a GCHQ spokesperson said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

GCHQ said the fast-moving pace of the digital arena and cybersecurity means it must find new ways to engage with prospective candidates, who typically have entered the agency as graduates.

"With the threats to information and computer technology constantly evolving, it is essential that GCHQ allows candidates who may be self taught, but have a keen interest in code breaking and ethical hacking, to enter the recruitment route too," it said in a statement.

But career hackers beware: "Anyone applying who has hacked illegally will not be eligible to continue in the recruitment process," GCHQ warned.

The agency said it has been using social media to get the word out and that the site has attracted about 8 000 hits.

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