GCHQ turns to online puzzles to find new recruits

Appeal for self-taught ethical hackers...
Written by Jo Best, Contributor on

Appeal for self-taught ethical hackers...

GCHQ's can you crack it website

GCHQ is trying to find ethical and self-taught hackers with its latest recruitment campaignImage: TMP Worldwide

GCHQ has unveiled a surprising approach to finding the next generation of British intelligence workers: a code-cracking site designed to attract a different breed of techie to the agency.

The site, canyoucrackit.co.uk, features a single-page numerical puzzle, with a field where successful code-breakers are asked to 'enter keyword'.

Rather than the traditional graduates that GCHQ recruits, the agency is hoping to find "candidates who may be self taught, but have a keen interest in code-breaking and ethical hacking" through the campaign.

The site is aimed at finding "those people with the right skills and mindset" to work for GCHQ and to encourage them to consider a career with the agency.

The code-cracking site isn't marked as being associated with the GCHQ, however, in order that " in order that applying for a career in the department is not the primary reason for the participant to engage", the agency said.

GCHQ is also looking to generate interest in the recruitment campaign through social media – the site's single page includes Twitter, Facebook and Google +1 buttons.

"With this marketing initiative we hope to reach out to a broader audience, who may not be attracted to traditional advertising methods. We also hope that the code breaking challenge will help increase awareness of GCHQ’s mission and the important role it plays in safeguarding the nation," a GCHQ spokesperson said in a statement.

Editorial standards