GCHQ launches code-breaking challenge for hopeful cyber recruits

The ‘Can You Find It?' competition requires solving a series of clues across the Web

GCHQ, the UK's communications centre, has launched an online challenge for hopeful cyber spies to solve a series of complex codes across the web with the aim of securing a job with the agency.

The 'Can You Find It?' competition is being run on behalf of GCHQ by resourcing specialist TMP Worldwide and is designed to test the most skilled mathematicians, code breakers and ethical hackers in the UK.

Those taking part will embark on a 'cyber treasure hunt' by answering a series of clues, leading participants to a number of different places around the Web, which will ultimately unlock the final answer.

GCHQ launched a similar competition last year, which saw participants attempting to crack codes across a series of social networks.

A Home Affairs Select Committee recently stated that the UK is losing the war on cyber-crime and that more needs to be done to stop organised online gangs from targeting both individuals and businesses.

GCHQ hopes that the challenge will help it recruit candidates that have the skills to tackle these growing threats.

"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," said GCHQ's head of resourcing, Jane Jones.

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

The online challenge, which has launched this week, was created by a GCHQ team of top mathematicians that have set a high bar for candidates that may have the intellectual ability, but not necessarily the practical experience or qualifications to join GCHQ and support the government's national cyber security agenda.

If successful, recruits could be joining GCHQ on a starting salary between £26,000 and £60,000 depending on skills and experience.

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