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UK Recruiting Codebreakers Via Social Networks

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the mysterious-stranger-list dept.

Advertising 85

Demerara writes in with a story about a unique codebreaking competition sponsored by the UK government. "UK intelligence agency GCHQ has launched a code-cracking competition to help attract new talent. The organization has invited potential applicants to solve a visual code posted at an unbranded standalone website. The challenge has also been 'seeded' to social media sites, blogs and forums. A spokesman said the campaign aimed to raise the profile of GCHQ to an audience that would otherwise be difficult to reach. '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,' the spokesman said."

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Break it - but don't take the job (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38235634)

that'll piss 'em right off!

Re:Break it - but don't take the job (3, Insightful)

hairyfish (1653411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235808)

Even better... crack it then publish the answer so that a bunch of kiddies can apply and screw up the recruitment process. That is a hack all on its own :)

Re:Break it - but don't take the job (4, Informative)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235888)

so you did it? [canyoucrackit.co.uk]

You seem to be assuming that people would want to work at GCHQ? I grew up next door to the place, and as someone who was training to be a programmer, GCHQ was that added bit of motivation to do well at university. It was always a case of "work hard, get a good degree, otherwise you'll have to apply to GCHQ.....". I certainly never got the impression it was an inspiring place to work.....

Re:Break it - but don't take the job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38236304)

So they are trying to recruit top talent, yet you can get to the "so you did it" page without even solving the puzzle? That would destroy any interest I had if I had bothered trying to solve it.

Re:Break it - but don't take the job (2)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236600)

It doesn't take top talent to break a code - that's maths, and that's why we have calculators.

The talent comes in thinking out of the box. When you think out of the box, you think to yourself, has this been done before or can anything that has already been done be used to arrive at an answer?

Application of a relevant tool (Google) can and often does reveal precisely the answer one is looking for, complete with working proof. See? I didn't even have to TOUCH my Hex editor.

Re:Break it - but don't take the job (1)

qualityassurancedept (2469696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38237006)

OK: ME9H96KBF3 Anyway, it's clearly a honeypot to attract "hackers"

Re:Break it - but don't take the job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38241086)

Already did. Hint: Step1: Load the code into memory, execute it (on x86), proceed to decoding memory. ...
The pay was 23K?!? Fuck that, I can make that at McDonalds!

Can I download it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38235644)

The hex looks like x86 executable. Is it available as a file? I'm not going to key this into DEBUG.

Re:Can I download it? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38235700)

Slight spoilers:

Yes, it is x86 machine code. However, if you key in the hex values and look/step through the code in a debugger you'll see that it is missing an important part.

Hint: You are not supposed to figure out this part on your own (you can probably figure out 7 of the missing bytes, but you will not be able to guess the rest). You can however find the remaining part on the canyoucrackit website if you are clever...

Re:Can I download it? (1)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235712)

A GUI?

Re:Can I download it? (3, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235716)

Oh is that all it is?
I'd got as far as pulling apart the code into sections, and found the other bit....

Not exactly tricky then. 'File' will tell you what it is, and the other bit's not hard with another two simple unix commands.

Re:Can I download it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38236242)

Some more slight spoilers:

Well, the x86 machine code is only the first part of the challenge. There is at least another part which seemed pretty fun to solve, but I haven't actually had time to solve it yet.

(It seems perfect for solving in Verilog, even though they seem to recommend Javascript for solving it...)

Re:Can I download it? (3, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235732)

You can however find the remaining part on the canyoucrackit website if you are clever...

additionally, if you are smart, you'll probably choose to find yourself a better job/salary in the industry instead of picking a govt position during time of austerity.

Re:Can I download it? (0, Troll)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235970)

additionally, if you are smart, you'll probably choose to find yourself a better job/salary in the industry instead of picking a govt position during time of austerity.

Almost every part of industry is going to be vulnerable when the Chinese decide it's time to go independent and finally pull the plug on the dollar. However, you do know what GCHQ does? Don't you? It's primary job is to spy on Americans (for legal reasons the NSA isn't allowed do, so they spy on Europeans, Ozzies and the rest of the world in return for GCHQ spying on Americans). The more the US economy collapses; the more movements like Occupy start demanding money goes out of US politics, the more work there is going to be for GCHQ.

It is not a coincidence that just now, as the US crash is coming, as the UK is having it's most brutal public service cuts in years, is the first time you have heard of GCHQ which can usually recruit directly from top universities having to have a public recruiting campaign. This may well be the only place where you will be able to have a state pension and negotiate to keep it with reasonable terms. This is certainly the place which the US will keep paying for even when they stop paying for every other part of their own army. Especially when they stop paying for every other part of their own army.

Re:Can I download it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38236234)

It's primary job is to spy on Americans (for legal reasons the NSA isn't allowed do, so they spy on Europeans, Ozzies and the rest of the world in return for GCHQ spying on Americans).

That is absurd. The agreement known as the UKUSA agreement (or "Five Eyes") prohibits this; each member nations absides by the other nations laws in respect to their citizens. It is pure childish conspiracy to think that this is the logic. GCHQ requires the same warrants NSA does to collect on US citizens which, coincidentally, are rather easy for NSA to obtain if they have justification (i.e., find me a FISA warrant that has been denied).

Re:Can I download it? (0)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236512)

UKUSA agreement (or "Five Eyes") prohibits this?
NZ and Australia came in under the UK ~ in 1946 via the UK-USA Technical Conference, Canada via agreements, letters and memoranda of understanding was finally entered in 1953.
Most of the deal was to collect foreign signals via the residual British empire (e.g. Iraq, Egypt, Cyprus, Ceylon) as a "swap" for US tech and massive long term funding.
"respect to their citizens" seems very distant from on the needs of the day i.e. a complete interchange of communications intelligence.
Canada and Australia both tried to hold back early on for different reasons, but both got pulled into line.
Intelsat and Morwenstow/GCHQ Bude showed what "respect" was in reality - British numbers (P-numbers) where lost in the domestic and international call mix - interception was everything and covered all calls.
"Respect" was for the budgets and new hardware.

Re:Can I download it? (1)

19061969 (939279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236098)

Yes, it's much better to work in the private sector where things are booming...

Re:Can I download it? (0)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236140)

Maybe, though figures tend to indicate these days that the UK public sector is paid roughly equally to the private sector, and still (even with proposed changes) gives access to far better pensions.

One of the reasons I have no sympathy with those going on strike.

Re:Can I download it? (3, Insightful)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38237712)

Maybe, though figures tend to indicate these days that the UK public sector is paid roughly equally to the private sector, and still (even with proposed changes) gives access to far better pensions.

One of the reasons I have no sympathy with those going on strike.

I went on strike, and I certainly get paid less than in the private sector. I like contributing to the country (science research), but there's a limit.

With the current offer I'll essentially lose about £1000 pa (increased pension contributions), and that's after 24 months of flat pay.

The problem is private pensions are shit, and we shouldn't have a race to the bottom. We should improve private pensions.

Re:Can I download it? (0)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38239670)

Shame the last government didn't do anything about that when they had the chance really, puportedly the party of the working man, they looked on cheerily as the private sector destroyed its pension arrangements, and even layered some tax on top.

Re:Can I download it? (1)

cancerIFA (2032298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38270438)

We should improve private pensions? How please? This means using a lot of computing power to find the best stocks or funds and trying to beat the market. Professionals have tried this for years and it doesn't work. I have spent much of my life in the City BTW and am an IFA/broker. The great argument in investment management at the moment is active management (stock picking) versus passive (try and follow the market). Both have their points so some fund managers now use a hybrid approach. Warren Buffett gets it wrong occasionally but does do lots of research. Improving private pensions essentially means predicting the future and as we are basically free to invest/save/spend/live go where we want, we are going to be wrong sometimes. PM me if you wish george@cancerifa.com

Re:Can I download it? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38238900)

And did you try to raise public sector to private sector levels when it wasn't in a recession? No? Then FUCK OFF. I'm tired of this "I made the money myself!" when things are good and "We're all in it together" when times are bad bullshit.

Equally qualified people always made far less in the public sector, but got better pensions. Now fuckheads like you want to take that away.

Re:Can I download it? (0)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38239626)

"And did you try to raise public sector to private sector levels when it wasn't in a recession? No? Then FUCK OFF."

They were raised above the private sector before the recession. This situation is not new.

I'm tired of this "I made the money myself!" when things are good and "We're all in it together" when times are bad bullshit.

Who said anything about all being in it together? I've never said we're all in anything together. Hell, I'm not even in the UK any more.

Equally qualified people always made far less in the public sector, but got better pensions. Now fuckheads like you want to take that away.

That hasn't been true for some time, there are more people emplyed in the public sector than need to be, they are paid an equivalent amount and they get an amazing pension deal on top of that. The fact that there's no more money to pay for this seems lost on people. Frankly I'd see mass redundancy as well.

But then all of this crap is part of the reason I live on the other side of the world now, in a country where the government usually runs a surplus and there's currently a huge resource-related boom.

Re:Can I download it? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38261120)

Welcome to the lucky country, hope you like Vegemite but... beware of dropbears ;)

Re:Can I download it? (1)

Bigos (857389) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236072)

Is it the austDay?

I've broken it! (3, Funny)

Buchenskjoll (762354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235646)

It's "passw0rd"

Re:I've broken it! (-1, Offtopic)

Buchenskjoll (762354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235652)

And that was my first first post ever!

Re:I've broken it! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38235742)

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.canyoucrackit.co.uk
and show ommitted results....
They google indexed it..

Re:I've broken it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38237788)

No, it's:

Pr0t3ct!on#cyber_security@12*12.2011+

Simple, use the hacker's favourite tool... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235658)

...call them up and ask the phone drone...

Re:Simple, use the hacker's favourite tool... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235812)

I know, I know, bad form etc., but...

I simply went through Google. Computer security isn't all Hex editors, there's a certain amount (well, 90%) of social engineering involved. I used my social engineering skills (AKA Google-Fu) to locate the solution in about a minute.

Bad news for GCHQ, I have no desire to work for the Government. I don't care what the renumeration package is.

Re:Simple, use the hacker's favourite tool... (4, Funny)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235822)

Bad news for GCHQ, I have no desire to work for the Government. I don't care what the renumeration package is.

Not even if they offer free full IPv6 renumbering for life?

Re:Simple, use the hacker's favourite tool... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235838)

If I don't know what that is, I don't need it.

I don't know what that is.

Re:Simple, use the hacker's favourite tool... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236394)

No, it's not renumbering we're talking about, it's renumeration. That's where the UK government says they'll pay you £80.000 but actually pays you £30.000 due to a typographical error.

Social engineers & Googlers are wanted too (3, Insightful)

evilandi (2800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236070)

> I simply went through Google ... bad news for GCHQ

You seem to think they are recruiting solely for codebreakers.

They may be recruiting for analysts - people who search for information. Let's say you have an agent in the field, whose cover story is being questioned by the enemy. You want an analyst to tell the agent how to correctly answer the enemy's questions so that the agent's cover is maintained.

It's quite possible that many of the "correct" answers published are actually incorrect misinformation. A good analyst would use his skills to weigh up which of the supposedly "correct" answers was the most reliable.

Sometimes the problem at the doughnut is not obtaining the data, but sifting through the massive amount of data to find the information you actually need.

Like any person living near Cheltenham, I have several friends who work there, and whilst it's entirely possible they're all secret maths geniuses, I doubt it. Codebreaking isn't the be-all and end-all of GCHQ's work, they have to sift and analyse the intel after they've got it.

Re:Social engineers & Googlers are wanted too (1)

cancerIFA (2032298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38270520)

GCHQ certainly want linguists but they don't seem very well paid. Pakistani guy I knew applied for a job there but stopped when he saw how pathetic the wages were. He now works happily for P&G. He also told an amusing an amusing story about being a student in the US. When his fellow students found out he was from Pakistan, some asked if he rode a camel! After he was asked this for the third time, he started saying that he kept one in the parking lot behind his apartment.

There's a reason they're recruiting them... (5, Funny)

Bottles (1672000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235672)

There's a reason they're recruiting them. And it's perfectly innocent. Honestly. http://earth101.net/?wc [earth101.net]

Re:There's a reason they're recruiting them... (4, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235740)

There's a reason they're recruiting them. And it's perfectly innocent. Honestly. http://earth101.net/?wc [earth101.net]

Actually, no, we don't kill them... we offer them a govt salary (25k)... they'll commit suicide.

Re:There's a reason they're recruiting them... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235908)

25k a month doesn't sound that bad...

Re:There's a reason they're recruiting them... (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236310)

No, that's 25k, one time fee... for x many years until you commit suicide.

Re:There's a reason they're recruiting them... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38245554)

Hah! I'll grab the money and instantly kill myself!

That's gonna show them!

no, they aren't (0)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235674)

This isn't a recruitment exercise. It's a behaviour observation exercise.

Any submitted solution is likely to be collaborative and/or copied from the guy who first posts it.

My experience is that the British intelligence services tend to hand pick people starting with informal chats at the elite universities. If you've spent the last decade awake and seeing how the government uses the services for particular special interests subsumed in politics then you'd have to be lacking completely in moral fibre to pursue.

Re:no, they aren't (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235720)

My experience is that the British intelligence services tend to hand pick people starting with informal chats at the elite universities.

Your experience? Oh do tell!

What are the modern Philbies, Macleans, Burgesses and Blunts up to these days?

Re:no, they aren't (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235780)

My experience begins and ends with observing that exercise. Otherwise I wouldn't be here making the criticism.

I can't say the same for some of my ex-schoolchums. :-(

Re:no, they aren't (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235892)

Very cryptic stuff: are you sure They didn't get to you too?

If you want to be taken even remotely seriously, provide names, dates, observed methods and supporting evidence. Go on, amaze us.

Re:no, they aren't (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235944)

Look, it's an open secret. Even college newspapers routinely cover it [varsity.co.uk] .

If you think some stranger on the Internet is going to provide exclusive "evidence" of people who were taken on or had some hand in recruiting then you're a fool.

Re:no, they aren't (3, Interesting)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235940)

You are talking about the wrong department. This is G.C.H.Q. we are talking about, not Mi5 / Mi6. They are effectively nothing more than the poorly paid secretary to Mi5. Good programming graduates would go on to have interesting and fulfilling career in the software industry. Those that fail to do that, become teachers. Those that fail to do that, go to G.C.H.Q......

yup they are dangling cheese for the rats (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236044)

good description of whats going on here.

Oh the irony (2)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235678)

Oh the irony - if you're really serious about espionage work, and you've got a Facebook account, then just forget it. There's already too much information about you out there for you to be of any real value.

Re:Oh the irony (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235724)

Oh the idiocy! How utterly irrelevant that is to a job as a codebreaker!

Sure, James bond probably wouldn't have a facebook page, but an entirely office-based crypto geek? Who cares so long as they're not posting state secrets, or pictures of themselves on holiday in Iran visiting that nice man Ahmedinejad....

Re:Oh the irony (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38235772)

The more information about you there is available, the more likely that you can be influenced by pressure by other government / coporate agents.

Blackmail, OBVIOUSLY.

Re:Oh the irony (2)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235798)

Never heard of misinformation? And it would also show just what the candidate is capable of (i.e. keeping up one identity which is false, which may be useful to someone intercepting communications).

And if foreign governments can NAME our cryptographers, I'd be more worried about that in itself, rather than anything else they could find out about them.

Re:Oh the irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38236352)

What, "Give us state secrets or we'll tell your employer just how blind drunk you were on Friday night" kind of thing? If their employer isn't monitoring everything they write on their Facebook for any exploitable weaknesses then we're probably already in trouble.

Re:Oh the irony (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38237834)

Blackmail, OBVIOUSLY.

They account for this already.

They don't care if you have three octogenarian boyfriends that you go to BDSM nights with, so long as you don't care if people know, i.e. can't be blackmailed with the information.

Re:Oh the irony (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235912)

And if you have a "correctly set up" Facebook account, the mail will go to the wrong person.

Oh, the ironing.

Facebook accounts and spies... (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236238)

So, you're a foreign intelligence agency, and a "student named "bob wabernacky" is entering your country...

Which of these two things is more suspicious for someone under the age of 30:

(1) He has a facebook account under that name
(2) He *doesn't* have a facebook account under that name? ...of course if you are stupid enough to have posted pixel identical pictures to both your real and cover profiles, and they've been indexed by image, I guess you lose...

-- Terry

Re:Oh the irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38238348)

Oh the irony - if you're really serious about espionage work, and you've got a Facebook account, then just forget it. There's already too much information about you out there for you to be of any real value.

On the contrary, You may rise to the very top, like John Sawers!

http://articles.cnn.com/2009-07-05/world/uk.spy.chief.facebook_1_british-intelligence-secret-intelligence-service-stella-rimington?_s=PM:WORLD

filthy wankers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38235738)

Oh dear young pair of eyeballs, come crack this wireless message so we can crush the protesters/revolution/civilwar, sell your soul to the cult of Rothschild, the club of MI6, The UN, the IMF, backstab your honest law abiding neighbors, punish your enemies who tried to expose you, torture, kill, rape, steal, lie, fuck the law, you are the law now, go forth and feed the tree chipper with innocent people who work with al queda, and the IRA. I dub thee Prince Scum Wanker.

After all look at how the IRA has stolen trillions from the British people's bank accounts, look at how many robo-signed mortgages al queda has done.

Image only (2)

revelation60 (2036940) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235754)

Why on earth would they post that code as an image...

Re:Image only (2)

ajack (1697388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235768)

Part of the job requirement is clearly monotonous transcription. I'm in!

Re:Image only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38235782)

Maybe the answer is in the image... check the image headers.

Try emailing... (0)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235800)

...the "support" email address hidden on the website. You'll have a nice surprise.

Google has the answer... (1)

lexa1979 (2020026) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235806)

Re:Google has the answer... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235918)

Well, whether it's very MI6 depends on what you expect from the MI6...

Some government agencies lose a lot of their mystery and scariness once you've seen them from the inside. I don't doubt that it's the same for the MI6.

Re:Google has the answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38235984)

MI6 is indeed a dump on the inside. Foyer's quite nice. The rest of it looks shit.

You're wrong (4, Funny)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236046)

Once you get past the deliberately downbeat entrance and get to the management suite, it's all naked Russian whores, Jacuzzis, champagne fountains, all-you-can-eat Michelin starred restaurants, and cash machines that don't need a card, they just pay out on the secret budget.

Of course, once you take the job and sign the Official Secrets Act, it's forty years of standing in freezing bus shelters waiting to make contact with a pissed-off FSB clerk in her 50s in the hope of finding out where Putin's going on holiday next month. Unless you went to Eton and Oxford, in which case it's back to the management suite for the rest of your career.

Re:You're wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38242682)

Wait, how does the Michelin guidebook get into the all-you-can-eat spy agency management buffet to rate it?

(Captcha: Occlude)

solution (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38235816)

Pr0t3ct!on#cyber_security@12*12.2011+

Had a job interview at GCHQ... (4, Interesting)

Bazzargh (39195) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235826)

20 odd years ago...I had been doing the usual round of physics graduate interviews, GCHQ's was a little different. After getting the security pass to get in and being escorted to the interview room, they told me that I wouldn't be able to ask any questions about the job (except pay). Or rather, that I could ask if I liked, but they weren't going to answer. Weird.

The point I guess, is that GCHQ don't recruit clandestinely like spooks, even if the interview process is odd. They're part of the civil service, they advertise in the paper, and recruit graduates in the milk round.

Re:Had a job interview at GCHQ... (5, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235856)

They've been advertising on plain Facebook ads for months, if not years.

Strange that highly qualified computing/maths graduates don't want to snoop on foreign governments (and their own people) when their potential employers are publishing news stories that they can't even intercept Skype calls, are offering zero information on exactly what you're expected to do and how much you'll be paid for it (which is pretty pitiful when they do tell you), etc.

I'm a maths & computing graduate, with a love and special interest for cryptography. I've seen dozens of adverts by both GCHQ and even MI5 for similar positions in papers, online and everywhere you'd normally advertise jobs over the years. They're obviously desperate for recruits (and seeing the dross that passes for university degrees these days, I'm not shocked).

But they don't give you even basic information and the only time GCHQ hits the news is when they want more and more control over your communications despite being less and less relevant since public-key encryption started to become the norm (ironically killed, pretty much, by their own invention).

I think it would be against my principles to actually WORK for them, even if I admire their historical efforts, support the cause to save Bletchley Park, think Turing deserves a little more recognition and respect for his work etc. Nowadays, I just get the impression that GCHQ want to blanket-snoop on my own people for no reason, catch the low-hanging fruit of people too stupid to use encryption (despite the fact that there's not a single recorded instance of someone "breaking" PKE encryption and using the results in a court case, even for terrorism where we've had to let people go or imprison them because we *THINK* they might have something incriminating in the encrypted data), and/or "justify" their existence / funding by creating the occasional terrorist scare story.

I don't think the bulk of the brains want to work for them because of what they've creeped into, it's as simple as that.

Re:Had a job interview at GCHQ... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236184)

I don't think the bulk of the brains want to work for them because of what they've creeped into, it's as simple as that.

I hope you're right. Thanks for your comment, and sentiment.

Re:Had a job interview at GCHQ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38236286)

What makes you think that they can't snoop on skype call? The japanese and the germans thought that their investment in security was good too.

Re:Had a job interview at GCHQ... (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236452)

I don't think they can't (if they really needed to) - I think it's one of their excuses for further funding and to blanket-control everything that enters or leaves the UK electronically:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/12/nsa_offers_billions_for_skype_pwnage/ [theregister.co.uk]

But they have used it as one of the reasons that they need "more power" because they "can't even listen in on Skype". At that point, you have to wonder if they are worth having at all, not give them sympathy, funds and have them employ people at civil-service-wages.

Re:Had a job interview at GCHQ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38248052)

"Welcome to the interview. Be advised that we cannot answer any questions."

"Why?"

*glower*

Result? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38235904)

One gets hired, the rest gets under close surveillance.

Honey pot for personality disorders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38235956)

All this recruitment tool will do is attract aspies.

And do we really want aspies with responsibility for national security?

Definitely. (1)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236270)

All this recruitment tool will do is attract aspies.

And do we really want aspies with responsibility for national security?

Definitely. definitely.
I'm an excellent driver.
Uh oh, fifteen minutes to Judge Wapner.

-- Terry

Why people are leaving / recruiting is hard (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38235964)

I had my first graduate job there, and I was pretty much exactly what they're looking for. Started programming at a young age, maths degree from a top university, CS masters from the same place. I interned there, got a great appraisal and was offered a job. I started working there and I became disenchanted fairly swiftly. Cheltenham is an incredibly boring place to be 23 - the average age at GCHQ is probably mid thirties and most people had families and were settled. We went for after work drinks twice in my year there. Having said that, my job was fascinating. Extremely difficult, but fascinating. However, everything else was awful. Pay was ok - 25k for a grad starter isn't bad (although my university peers were generally on more), but it became clear very quickly that my pay rises were non existent. If I wanted to stay technical, then I might get to around 40k when I was 40. And that's might with a capital M. It's not really enough to comfortably raise a family and own a home.

When I told my boss I was resigning, he told me that he was resigning too because otherwise he was going to have to sell his house to cover his debts. He wasn't living an extravagant life - granted he had three young children though. His wife was working 3 jobs, and they were stressed. The only people happy at GCHQ are those who have chosen not to have kids, and often have their spouse working there too.

I left for a tech startup in London, and after 4 months here I'll be on 50% more than I was at GCHQ, and they'll continue paying me what I'm worth.

2 other guys left my team (around 10 people who were doing some of the most hard-core deep technical work in computing there) in the neighbouring months when I left. GCHQ cannot recruit and retain good people whilst the pay is so low - which is exactly what was said in the ISC report: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/14/gchq_microsoft_google/

code breakers = hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38236078)

yet what they do...extradite one of there best....thats how you recruit

A whopping $35-40k a year!? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38236220)

What a great gig! I just solved it and it took me to a position description:
https://apply.gchq-careers.co.uk/fe/tpl_gchq01ssl.asp?newms=jj&id=35874

The starting salary for the GC10 position is £25,446.
The starting salary for the GC9 position is £31,152.

Ha!

Re:A whopping $35-40k a year!? (1)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236758)

The starting salary for the GC10 position is £25,446. The starting salary for the GC9 position is £31,152.

Ha!

$35-40k? With maths like that, sincerely doubt that 'you solved it':
£25,446 = $39,963
£31,152 = $48,924

(Using current exchange rates). Or are you one of those people who finds it easier to just lie and make up figures to prove a point and hope that no-one checks the facts themselves?

Outsource it (1)

jirikivaari (2468926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236468)

Some clever programmer could outsource it, pay the hacker, and take the job. :)

Re:Outsource it (1)

agentgonzo (1026204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236770)

If you outsourced it to India then the guys who did the work wouldn't be able to apply anyway as you need to be a British citizen to get the clearance for those jobs.

spon6e (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38239982)

chr0nic abuse of are t4ere? Let's
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