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It’s almost out of a John le Carré novel.
On a quiet street called Wellington Street West, in Ottawa, Canada, there lies a door.
A rather small door, tucked between a tailor shop and a mattress shop.
If you aren’t looking for that small door, ten to one you won’t notice it at all.
That’s where Escape Manor is located.
Walk into Escape Manor, and ask to see the leaderboard of their game The Recruit, and you’ll be refused.
Well, The Recruit is a pretty tough escape game to crack, rumors are only one person has ever cracked it.
But, ask them who that person is, and you’ll receive a ‘not at liberty to disclose’ reply. Doesn’t matter if you’re a reporter with The Huffington Post, they still won’t tell you.
Curiouser, and curiouser…
The leaderboard is a pretty standard part of any escape room.
People compete to have their name put on the leaderboard.
Some escape rooms even offer prizes to whomever can get their name on the leaderboard.
So, why does this particular escape room not have one?
And, what escape room could possibly be so difficult that only one person (allegedly) has managed to crack it?
Have you heard of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE)?
It’s a part of Canada’s security services. Their mission is to defend the Canadian government’s computer systems against foreign attacks.
As they put it, they’re competing with the likes of Microsoft, Apple and Google for talent.
And, they’re the ones who came up with this ingenious idea.
Create an escape room called The Recruit that simulates an attack on the Canada government’s computer systems.
Include a cryptographic puzzle within that escape room which is kind of like their entrance exam.
If you manage to crack it, Escape Manor will ask you if you want the CSE to give you a call.
This was right on the bull’s eye!
The escape room putting players at the heart of an attack on Canada’s cyber systems, designed obviously with expert input from the professionals, is by itself a marketing campaign for a career with the Communications Security Establishment.
And the puzzle at the end, the one that’s the hardest to crack, that’s your entrance exam.
Setting this whole thing up cost the CSE less than $25,000.
And it just keeps attracting people, stimulating interest in a career with a government agency working on national security.
Read the entire HuffPo report here.
Having read the report, you may also want to check out the top escape room in Chicago.