Crack the code to get a job with GCHQ in Cheltenham
IT sounds like something from fiction, but the ultimate prize of a new online game could be a job fighting cybercrime and terrorism.
GCHQ has launched a new challenge to find the most skilled mathematicians, code breakers and ethical hackers among Britain's online community.
The competition, "Can You Find It?" is being run on the Cheltenham-based intelligence agency's behalf by recruitment specialists TMP Worldwide.
The challenge, which begins at Canyoufindit , sets people off on a cyber treasure hunt, giving a series of clues which lead the quester around the worldwide web until they find the correct answer.
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Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
Once people have started the challenge, they will have six weeks to find four codes, each of which should be entered into the competition's website to unveil the next clue, until the end is reached.
GCHQ did not say exactly how many new staff will be recruited from the process, but those who succeed will join the hallowed ranks in the agency which famously cracked the Enigma code during the Second World War.
A spokeswoman for TMP said: "The complex codes have been created by a GCHQ team of top mathematicians.
"They set a high bar for recruiting curious, tenacious and creative candidates who have the intellectual ability, though not necessarily the practical experience or qualifications, to join GCHQ and support the Government's national cyber security agenda.
"Today's tough but engaging challenge is aimed at people who love problem solving and computer technology.
"So whether you are an IT specialist bored with corporate life, a skilled amateur seeking a new challenge, or a quick-thinking maths expert who just loves to do maths all day, then there could be a role for you, with a salary between £26,000 and £60,000 depending on your skills and experience."
Those that complete the challenge can enter a prize draw to win a Google Nexus 7 or a Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized computer that plugs into a TV and keyboard.
Can You Find It ? builds on last year's campaign, Can You Crack It? which attracted 3.2 million separate users to its website, with 5,000 applications made to GCHQ with 170 people shortlisted.
Head of resourcing at GCHQ, Jane Jones, said the challenge would be critical in finding the right people to help protect the UK.
"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," she said.
"It's a puzzle but it's also a serious test – the jobs on offer here are vital to protecting national security."