Can you solve the black box riddle to stop the Chinese stealing aerospace secrets?

6 November 2018

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Most of us will imagine we’ve attended some pretty tough job interviews. As a Glasgow recruitment agency we've noticed a growing trend for employers to set potential recruits exacting physical and mental tasks for even the most junior of roles.

Now Lockheed Martin, the US aerospace defence company, has devised perhaps the world’s toughest job interview in a bid to find what it believes to be a great wealth of untapped engineering potential.

Job applicants are locked in a 14ft high black box and the only way to get out is to solve one of the world’s most complex aerospace equations. Unless you’re a physics and mathematical genius, lunch could be a long time away.

The company has teamed up with  McCann NY  to tour some of America’s top engineering colleges, starting at Virginia Tech.

Cameras capture students going into the darkened metal room that has a large screen broadcasting an equation which Lockheed Martin engineers had to solve for a real-world, satellite mission.

Those able to solve it, as well as being let out, are rewarded with a kaleidoscopic view of the universe, as captured by Lockheed Martin.

The unusual recruitment process is part of a campaign to improve the country’s output of home-grown engineers amid a mood of national paranoia.

This week, the Department of Justice brought new charges against 10 Chinese intelligence officers and hackers who, it says, were responsible for a year-long campaign to steal trade secrets from US aerospace companies.

It’s the third time in recent weeks that government officials have charged suspected intelligence spies.

Earlier this month the Department of Justice enjoyed one of its biggest coups when it extradited an alleged Chinese intelligence officer from Europe, who will now face trial in the US.

It was the first time the US has prosecuted an officer of China's Ministry of State Security. Officials believe the suspect, Yanjun Xu, spent years cultivating a person he thought was a potential asset inside GE Aviation, which makes closely held jet engine technology.

Chinese espionage against the US has emerged as one of the most widespread and potentially damaging national security threats facing the country.

While high-profile cases against suspected Russian agents have grabbed the headlines, China’s spying efforts have been more prevalent and arguably more successful.

In a 28-month period that a notorious Russian spy ring unraveled in 2010, US officials charged and prosecuted more than 40 Chinese espionage cases, according to a Justice Department report.

One thing is for sure, it’ll take more than a black box riddle to solve these diplomatic issues.

 

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