British intelligence agency GCHQ (UK Government Communications Headquarters) today launched a viral campaign on Facebook and Twitter to uncover a new generation of spies. The campaign links to a website merely entitled ‘Can You Crack It?.'

With little indication of the website’s true purpose – there is no sign of GCHQ’s involvement anywhere – users are then presented with a grid made up of 160 seemingly randomised double-digit combinations of numbers and letters. Successful code-breakers will be directly referred by GCHQ to apply for a job with the organisation. 

A GCHQ spokesman said, “The target audience for this particular campaign is one that may not typically be attracted to traditional advertising methods and may be unaware that GCHQ is recruiting for these kinds of roles. Their skills may be ideally suited to our work and yet they may not understand how they could apply them to a working environment, particularly one where they have the opportunity to contribute so much.”

The drive to recruit the next-generation of spies comes in response to the unsettling findings published as part of the Intelligence and Security Committee’s annual report. GCHQ chief Iain Lobham has warned that cyber crime was at “disturbing levels”, while Foreign Secretary William Hague confessed to The Times, “countries that can not maintain cyber security of their banking system, of the intellectual property of their companies, will be at a serious disadvantage in the world”.

It has been reported by the agency that a select few had solved the sequence by midday today. We expect they’ll be awaiting their Martini’s. Remember: shaken, not stirred.

Press release

I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.