It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


GCHQ challenges codebreakers via social networks

page: 1

log in


posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 04:55 AM

GCHQ challenges codebreakers via social networks

UK intelligence agency GCHQ has launched a code-cracking competition to help attract new talent.

The organisation has invited potential applicants to solve a visual code posted at an unbranded standalone website.

The challenge has also be "seeded" to social media sites, blogs and forums.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 04:55 AM
I found it interesting to see a British intelligence agency using social networks in this way.

That's pretty innovative by the standards of the usually rather traditional British civil sevice.

The relevant challenge is at:

I'll embed the code below for anyone interested:
(visit the link for the full news article)

The story is also on various other news websites, including:

It lacks the romance of a furtive meeting in an Oxbridge college quad. But secret service chiefs hope this will be a far more effective method of recruiting the spies of the future.


Players who can crack a code are directed to the GCHQ website and invited to apply for a job.

After following a link to, players are presented with a seemingly meaningless grid of 160 pairs of letters and numbers, and a countdown clock. They are given seven hours to unscramble the numbers and correctly identify a secret word.

The game contains no reference to GCHQ, but those players who get the word right are put on a fast-track to a secret service career.

edit on 1-12-2011 by IsaacKoi because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 05:06 AM

Have you tried yet ?



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 05:14 AM
Hello people,

yes, it's a very interesting task. I've already posted some info that might help in THIS THREAD, which was started by member "definity" around 0730 UTC today -- namely over 3 1/2 hours ago.

In short, you need to extract the two halves of the shellcode from both the .png image and from the "comment" that goes with the image, put the halves together and then find a GET request to obtain a _javascript file.

But as the thread I referred to appears to be the first I'd prefer to continue there.

Best regards,


posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 05:15 AM

Originally posted by PurpleDog UK

Thanks. I did a search based on the BBC news article title, and nothing came up. I don't visit that forum on ATS.

Have you tried yet ?

Just giving it a quick go now.

To save everyone else time, here is a transcription of the hex code I found online:


eb 04 af c2 bf a3 81 ec 00 01 00 00 31 c9 88 0c
0c fe c1 75 f9 31 c0 ba ef be ad de 02 04 0c 00
d0 c1 ca 08 8a 1c 0c 8a 3c 04 88 1c 04 88 3c 0c
fe c1 75 e8 e9 5c 00 00 00 89 e3 81 c3 04 00 00
00 5c 58 3d 41 41 41 41 75 43 58 3d 42 42 42 42
75 3b 5a 89 d1 89 e6 89 df 29 cf f3 a4 89 de 89
d1 89 df 29 cf 31 c0 31 db 31 d2 fe c0 02 1c 06
8a 14 06 8a 34 1e 88 34 06 88 14 1e 00 f2 30 f6
8a 1c 16 8a 17 30 da 88 17 47 49 75 de 31 db 89
d8 fe c0 cd 80 90 90 e8 9d ff ff ff 41 41 41 41

posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 05:20 AM

posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 05:56 AM
erm... one minor flaw that can see with that idea...

What happens if the one who cracks it is from the 'other' side ? Do they still get hired or summarily executed ?

posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 11:30 AM
Probably a stupid question, but couldn't you just brute force guess the pass phrase? Not exactly in the spirit of things but it get's the job done.

posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 02:02 PM

new topics

top topics


log in