Welcome to WHISPER – the Worldwide Headquarters for Information Security Protocols, Espionage and Reconnaissance. Your first mission is to generate your own personal codename. You have forty minutes in which to achieve your objective. Your time starts now.
The Trainee Agents are given a piece of Python code and some Code Comprehension questions asking them to predict what will happen when the script is run. The code basically asks the user to input their name. It then takes the initial letter of the first name and picks a word from a List that begins with that letter. It then does the same for the first letter of their surname but picks from a second List.
Chris Leach = Crimson Leopard
After they have successfully got the code to work they then have to answer a few more Code Comprehension questions before having the opportunity to improve the security of the Codename Generator (It is too easy to identify an individual from their codename)
The Trainee Agents embark on their cryptography training by encoding a message using a Caesar Cipher. They then have to decode someone else’s message.
The Trainee Agents continue their cryptography training by using Frequency Analysis to decode a message encrypted using a Substitution Cipher.
The Trainee Agents explore the ASCII system and how letters are represented in binary. They then create a visual representation of a codeword in Minecraft using TNT to represent a 1 and any other block to represent a 0. These coded messages can then be set to self-destruct using Redstone.
The Trainee Agents are set the challenge to work in pairs in order to devise a binary method of communication in which all 26 letters of the alphabet are represented by only using two different gestures. They are encouraged to devise the most efficient system possible by combining those gestures – will they think about Frequency Analysis from an earlier mission? They then have to test their system by transmitting a codeword to each other.
A set of passwords belonging to the enemy, SHADOW (Secret Headquarters for Achieving Domination Of the World), have been found hidden within a crossword where every clue is encoded using a system of dots and dashes (Morse Code). The Trainee Agents have to decipher the clues in order to discover the enemy’s passwords. They then use Minevcraft to create a visual representation of a message encoded using Morse Code (1 block = dot, three blocks = dash).
The Trainee Agents can now have a break from their training but when they return to WHISPER they will discover that amongst their number are some undercover SHADOW agents who have been brainwashed so that they don’t even realise they have been working for the enemy.