Against the backdrop of the UK’s new Cyber Security Strategy, published last week (25 November), the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has launched an online code breaker game to recruit new talent.
GCHQ is one of the three UK Intelligence and Security Agencies and a part of the UK's National Intelligence Machinery. It works in partnership with the Security Service (also known as MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6) to protect the UK's national security interests.
Traditionally, cyber specialists enter the organisation as graduates.But with the threats to information and computer technology constantly evolving, it is essential GCHQ allows candidates who may be self taught, but have a keen interest in code breaking and ethical hacking, to enter the recruitment route too.
With its recruitment partners TMP Worldwide, GCHQ has launched an online recruitment campaign. The campaign seeds a message into social media channels, including blogs and forums, to attract people to crack a visual code. They can advocate taking part in the challenge in their online communities. The challenge is anonymous, GCHQ is not named as the source of the challenge, in order that applying for a career in the department is not the primary reason for the participant to engage.
The desired result of the campaign is to reach those people with the right skills and mindset, and to encourage them to find out more about a career with GCHQ. Cracking the code is not an assessment, rather a way to connect potential applicants with GCHQ as an employer. There is a level of difficulty to crack the code, but once the code is cracked, wide dissemination of the solution is anticipated in online communities. The discussion this promotes should raise additional interest in GCHQ as an employer and generate future recruitment enquiries.
Anyone applying who has hacked illegally will not be eligible to continue in the recruitment process.
A GCHQ spokesman said: "The digital arena is fast moving, and from a recruitment perspective we acknowledge the need to engage with prospective candidates in new and innovative ways. With this marketing initiative we hope to reach out to a broader audience, who may not be attracted to traditional advertising methods. We also hope that the code breaking challenge will help increase awareness of GCHQ's mission and the important role it plays in safeguarding the nation."
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