British intelligence services have created an online game that they hope will identify future spies with the skills to take down (or defend) computer networks though "ethical hacking."
The stark, unbranded website canyoucrackit.co.uk, was first unveiled a couple weeks ago on computer and hacking forums and offered up as a challenge for those who think they can decipher the code posted there. Anyone who figures out the code and enters the hidden "keyword" into the website's form is taken to the recruitment website for the U.K.'s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) which handles signals and information intelligence for the British government. If you've made that if far, congratulations! You've already passed your first interview and are on the way to becoming a nerdy James Bond.
The idea behind the gimmick is that there are plenty of savvy computer and math whizzes out there who have probably never considered intelligence work as a career, but may be intrigued by they brain challenges it provides. Even if no hackers step up to join the spy service, the buzz it creates is still a great advertisement for the GCHQ and may lure others who want to join the field of espionage.
Unfortunately, we can't give you any hints to breaking the code because a) that would be cheating and b) we don't have a clue about how to solve it. Even the "solution" that's been posted online makes no sense to us. It looks like only the truly l33t haxx0rs need apply. (Although you do have to be a British citizen.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.