[̶U̶P̶D̶A̶T̶E̶:̶ ̶I̶t̶ ̶s̶e̶e̶m̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶G̶o̶o̶g̶l̶e̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶s̶t̶o̶p̶p̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶c̶r̶o̶s̶s̶w̶o̶r̶d̶ ̶e̶n̶t̶r̶y̶]̶
[UPDATE: Everything back up and running now, except the 10 minute timer has been changed to 5]
Back on the 11th of November 2014, Hacker News user mragh noticed something very strange - after a series of searches related to the "python" programming language, Google invited him/ her to "take a test", offering a link to google.com/foobar.
After telling the rest of the community about this peculiar message, many others visited the website, discovering only a blank page, with the words "Been here before?", and a log in button - no option to sign up or register.
It seemed that the only way in to this program was to be invited - leading many intrigued geeks to desperately Googling python related topics.
However, on Tuesday November 25th, a second, interlinked website was revealed. The webpage at the IP address "126.96.36.199" displays a welcome message:
(If you cant read that, it says "Welcome, cryptoanalyst. You clearly pay attention. But are you a Banburist?")
[Note: Banburismum was a cryptanalytic technique developed by WWII legend Alan Turing]
The rest of the page shows a cryptic crossword with a ten minute timer:
These crossword hints consist of a variety of basic types:
-> Base conversions (Converting from binary e.g. 11011000 to decimal e.g 17)
-> Regex (Regular Expressions)
-> Fibonacci sequences
-> General questions about cryptography or Alan Turing's life.
With the help of DuckDuckGo's very helpful Regex dictionary, an online base converter, and Wikipedia, I managed to crack the crossword:
From there, you are presented with a Unix-like command-line interface that allows you to request and complete programming challenges in Python or Java:
Unfortunately for me, there is a two day limit on each task, and once you pass that countdown your invitation expires.
Rumour has it that anyone who gets far enough in the challenges gets an interview to work at Google.