x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Observing Life: How to become a spy online

The British intelligence agency MI5 posted an online quiz to offer a peek inside their world.

So, the British intelligence agency MI5 is recruiting. To tap into the interests of would-be spooks, it recently posted an online quiz (as you do) to offer a little taste of what it would be like to work for "the agency".

They could not have chosen a better time, for this year marks the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film series, and the 23rd instalment Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig, is due for release in November. The 15-minute online investigative challenge offers a scenario similar to what intelligence officers are often faced with. If you score high, MI5 will invite you to apply for the job. Exciting stuff.

Britain's coolest spy undoubtedly has the swagger but let's face it, the Bond girls are just as smooth. Their toughness is mixed with a perfect blend of femininity and while seemingly dangerous, Bond just can't seem to keep away. With this in mind, I clicked on the link to begin the test, purely for my own entertainment, of course.

The challenge begins with an introduction stating they are testing how you use your analytical skills and if you would enjoy working as an intelligence officer. It takes roughly 15 minutes in total with the first 10 minutes devoted to going through the instructions to understand what is required and then reading over documents carefully, acting as you would on the job. Files include a case report, agent profiles and a newspaper article, regarding the suspicious activity of known foreign spies operating in London who have to suddenly return to their home country.

A set of multiple choice questions is then presented related to this scenario and a couple of seconds later, your score is revealed.

This week, the British press reported that the security services have been targeting more female recruits and that the violence on related TV shows should not put them off - that it is more about intelligence gathering - something they have been actively trying to do over the past few years.

Everyone knows that part of what has made Ian Fleming's Bond so fascinating for the past 50 years, are the gadgets, fast cars, exotic destinations and his impeccable taste in clothes. However, some say the salary at the intelligence agency can barely cover basic living expenses and no one wants to be a shabby copy of the man with a "licence to kill". So unless MI5 bumps up its salaries, it looks like it will have to continue with campaign after campaign to generate maximum interest.

In the meantime, why not test your analytical skills? It could just be For Your Eyes Only ...

Visit www.mi5.gov.uk/careers/investigative-challenge-quiz.aspx.

melshoush@thenational.ae

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