Great Britain's agency of intelligence experts, the GCHQ (or Government Communications Headquarters, the self-described "center for Her Majesty's Government's Signal Intelligence") has come up with a surefire way to recruit the most talented fledgling spies. Challenge them to crack an online code game via the website called "Can you crack it."
Gamers, amateur cryptoanalysts and the downright curious can pore over 160 pairs of numbers and letters to see if they can find the answer to the seemingly random display. There are no clues as to what the site is looking for other than an empty entry box, so players who identify the right combination will most certainly stand out and be invited by GCHQ to apply for a job.
Interested? You'd better hurry: there are roughly nine more days to play.
The game, which has spread virally through Facebook and Twitter, is likely the U.K. government's response to a recent report released from their intelligence and security committee, expressing concern GCHQ was lacking in suitable internet specialists to respond to threats and shore up the nation's cybersecurity.
This call to recruit new spies follows a long trend of looking to the community to solve complex problems. During WWII, the Government Code and Cypher school looked for new recruits by placing a letter in the Daily Telegraph, that challenged users to solve a crossword puzzle in under 12 minutes. Those who did got interviews with the intelligence agency.
The practice of looking for natural problem solvers has evolved with the times. In addition to the GCHQ using the Web to source new talent, scientists have also been reaching out to the online community to complete tasks such as identifying new planets and cracking DNA codes.
No word on whether the GCHQ will ever release the solution to the public after it sources its spies, or whether the answer will remain as secret as the legendary agency itself.