Spies release Christmas card puzzles to find future codebreakers among British schoolchildren

DO you have what it takes to be a GCHQ codebreaker?

Spies at the government listening post have released their annual Christmas card puzzle – and it’s aimed at teams of schoolchildren to help find the next Alan Turing.

Spies have released a Christmas card puzzle to find code breakers among British school children

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Spies have released a Christmas card puzzle to find code breakers among British school childrenCredit: PA

Turing cracked the Nazi enigma that helped win World War II and is considered the father of modern computing.

A set of “diabolical” Christmas riddles covering languages, engineering, code breaking, analysis, math, coding and cybersecurity – all key skills for GCHQ spooks.

They are included on spy boss Jeremy Fleming’s official Christmas card, sent to partners and allied intelligence agencies around the world.

Fleming said a “mixing of minds” was the key to solving the “seemingly impossible”.

He added, “Our brilliant people have worked together throughout our history to help keep the country safe.”

This year’s GCHQ Christmas Card Challenge provides a glimpse into the skills we need every day as part of our mission.”

The Spooks have played a leading role in defending Ukraine from cyberattacks and helping President Zelenskyy’s forces intercept Russian military intelligence.

Colin, GCHQ’s top puzzler, said half a dozen spooks designed the brainteasers over the past two months.

The secretive cyber warrior said: “We are trying to ensure the next generation has the skills needed to secure the UK going forward.

“We hope that young people will enjoy the puzzles and that the variety should allow children of all kinds of interests to get involved.

“To solve the whole thing you need skills in different areas and once you have the answers you have to put them together to get the final answer.

“If someone manages to solve the whole thing on their own without outside help, then that’s great. When you have a team, it goes faster.”

Once puzzlers have the answers, they must arrange the answers on a coded Christmas tree. The seemingly random words can then be plugged into What3Words – a global mapping service that uses words to locate grid squares – to reveal a “celebratory location”.

Thousands of students from hundreds of schools are expected to solve the puzzles today, he said.

Colin refused to reveal how quickly his colleagues resolved it – in case the public is quicker.

But he said most groups should find the solution in a day. He said, “It’s supposed to be some fun for Christmas.”

GCHQ will publish the answers on Thursday.

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6910395/spies-christmas-puzzle-codebreakers-schoolkids/ Spies release Christmas card puzzles to find future codebreakers among British schoolchildren

DevanCole

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