Google might offer you a job – if you find hidden puzzles and solve them

in #technology2 years ago

Apple and other tech companies are hiding jobs in plain sight

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Photo: Kartikey Das

Zack Whittaker wasn’t expecting to stumble upon a hidden Apple job post while working – but that’s exactly what happened.

Whittaker, a cybersecurity reporter, was using a traffic analyzer to intercept data and see what kind of personal data was sent to advertisers via iPhone apps.

“Among the stream of connections to analytics sites and advertisers used to track a user’s app consumption, there were several outbound connections to one of Apple’s “blobstore” servers, which the company uses to host iCloud data, such as customer photos and videos. I entered the web address into a browser, and there you have it.”
ZDNET SECURITY EDITOR ZACK WHITTAKER

It was posted on a hidden yet publicly accessible server, itself storing data on millions of Apple customers’ across the American east coast. According to Business Insider “us-east-1” refers to an Amazon Web Services region, and the page showed up even if you swapped it out for “us-west-1”.

The role described isn’t Whittaker’s cup of tea though – he clarified that while it takes little proficiency to find the page, Apple was in need of someone more qualified to “develop a critical infrastructure component” for servers numbering in the tens of thousands.

The secret search seems to have ended with no discernible result – Whittaker’s discovery was widely reported and the page has since been taken down.

Google’s similar puzzle two years ago though had a much happier ending – Max Rosett documented on The Hustle how his simple search for a programming term changed his life.

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Photo: The Hustle

He stumbled upon a hidden page resembling a UNIX interface, and followed the instructions to access a series of programming challenges. His code was tested against five other hidden test cases each time – he had to pass all of them to get to the next one, completing a total of eleven challenges in the process.

Rosett was then prompted to enter his contact information, but did not expect to hear back. As a management consultant transitioning into computer science, his chance discovery of the foo.bar page didn’t seem like anything serious.

Three months later he was starting at Google, and well on his way to becoming a respected engineer.

”Foo.bar is a brilliant recruiting tactic. Google used it to identify me before I had even applied anywhere else, and they made me feel important while doing so.“
MAX ROSETT

Whittaker and Rosett might have lucked out finding work with the best companies in the world, but it’s very likely there are more secret jobs out there for those learning how to code – or just plain curious.