British intelligence uses code puzzles for recruitment
The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British agency in charge of signals intelligence, has posted an online challenge to attract the interest of potential recruits. A password is allegedly hidden in 20 blocks of 8-byte hex code on the "Can you crack it?" web site, and those who solve it can enter the password into the web site to begin the GCHQ application process. The site does not provide any hints, however.
This strategy is a fairly unconventional way for an intelligence agency to attract attention and potential applicants; links to the page are making their way around social networks. GCHQ recently expressed concerns about finding new staff, especially internet specialists.
However, it's questionable if it is worth putting any effort into the puzzle – according to the Telegraph, many employees at GCHQ earn only £25,000; in the private sector, someone with these skills could easily earn up to £80,000.