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GCHQ launches recruitment challenge

Warwick Ashford

Government communications intelligence agency GCHQ has launched an online code-cracking competition with the aim of finding talented recruits.

According to GCHQ, the ‘Can You Find It?’ competition, which is being run by resourcing specialist TMP Worldwide, will challenge experienced and self-taught cryptic code crackers.

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With job roles worth up to £60,000 up for grabs, the competition is aimed at professional and amateur mathematicians, code breakers, ethical hackers, and IT technicians in the UK.

As well as testing if they have the right skills for a national intelligence and security agency, competitors who complete the challenge can enter a prize draw to win a Google Nexus 7 or a Raspberry Pi .

Breaking the codes will unlock a series of clues leading competitors to a number of different places on the worldwide web which will ultimately unlock the final answer.

Those with the practical ability to complete the competition could win the opportunity to join GCHQ to support the government’s national cyber security agenda.

From 11 September 2013, entrants will have six weeks to hunt down codes, which when used on the competition website will reveal the next clue.

The ‘Can You Find It?’ competition builds on last year’s ‘Can You Crack It?’ campaign, which attracted in excess of 95 million hits to its website from more than 3.2 million unique users. 

From around 5,000 applications, 170 were taken forward.

GCHQ’s head of resourcing, Jane Jones, said: “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.

“It’s a puzzle, but it’s also a serious test – the jobs on offer here are vital to protecting national security,” she said.


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