Israeli Mossad ad blends clear and cryptic techniques to recruit cyber workers

The Israeli Mossad's new ad for the recruitment of cyber workers. Credit: Israel Hayom.

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to The Mossad wants you—if you can figure out what this says. That is the message of the Israeli spy agency’s latest campaign to recruit cyber workers, launched on the eve of the country’s Independence Day.

The ad, which includes coded text, aims to seek out potential employees for the Mossad’s cyber division and for other special jobs. The ad debuted in Israel Hayom and other Israeli publications on Wednesday and features two parts: one hidden, the other exposed. The exposed section features the Mossad symbol, the menorah, and the verse from Proverbs 11:14 that the agency uses as its motto: “Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.” The ad also features computer code comprising English letters and numbers, along with the English text, “Are you ready for a challenge?”

The part that remains hidden is aimed at programmers and hackers, and tells the story of an agent in trouble who is trying to open the door. The idea behind the ad is that anyone who can read the hidden text should contact the Mossad, thus undergoing a selection exercise even before the formal screening process.

The Mossad is constantly looking for appropriate candidates for its missions, and cyberspace is considered the hottest war zone. Ads such as this one are a less widely accepted recruitment method, but are used by other spy agencies. Other than the Mossad, cyber units operate as part of the Israel Defense Forces, the Shin Bet security agency, and the Israel Police.

Posted on May 13, 2016 .