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Director GCHQ's Christmas card puzzle: How did you do?

News article - 04 Feb 2016
No one among the 600,000 entries managed to get 100% of all the possible answers right, but three people came extremely close.
Find out more, along with the answers and worked explanations from our puzzle-setters.

Who we are

GCHQ is an intelligence and security organisation, working to keep Britain safe and secure in the challenging environment of modern communications.


What we do

UK citizens today conduct much of their lives over the internet, as do the Government, the Armed Services, Law Enforcement and industry.

For the UK to be safe and successful, the cyber connections and infrastructure we use need to be safe and secure. GCHQ plays a major role in making that a reality using our expertise and experience.

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How we work

GCHQ strives to ensure that life in the UK isn't compromised through cyber attack or on-line serious crime, employing some of the world's leading experts on Information Security.

Everything we do is governed by law, and overseen by the Foreign Secretary and other Ministers.


Latest news


28 Jan 2016 - Is anyone close to cracking the Christmas Puzzle?
Director GCHQ, Robert Hannigan's Christmas puzzle is nearing its closing date of 31 January 2016, find out what the reaction has been and if the puzzle has been completed!
25 Jan 2016 -  Bletchley Park veteran receives Commemorative Badge from British Ambassador
98 year old Leslie Greer is the latest recipient of the badge which marks the wartime work undertaken at Bletchley Park. Ms Greer, who now lives in Dublin, was a German linguist at Bletchley Park. Her badge was presented by HMA Dominick Chilcott.
31 Dec 2015 - Sir Brian Tovey - obituary 
We have learned with deep sadness of the death of Sir Brian Tovey, Director GCHQ from 1978 to 1983, at the age of 89. Sir Brian was the first Director of GCHQ not to have served at Bletchley Park.
17 Dec 2015 - The Cyber Stars of the Future 
GCHQ is always looking for new talent to help us keep the UK safe and secure in the cyber age.  We’re not the only organisation that is looking for cyber talent, as a rapidly growing field the UK faces a severe skills shortage.
07 Dec 2015 - A Christmas card with a cryptographic twist for charity
GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan uses his annual Christmas greetings to set a seasonal challenge for charity.
The Rt Hon George Osborne MP visited GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham today and announced measures for better national cyber defence.
10 Nov 2015 - IA15: Robert Hannigan's keynote speech - as delivered
Director GCHQ shares his strategy for supporting UK IA and Cyber Security at IA15, HM Government’s primary platform for briefing the UK’s information security leaders. 

Press Releases

10 Feb 2016 - CESG announces its first cyber security consultancy companies
CESG is pleased to announce the first group of companies to be certified under its new Certified Cyber Security Consultancy scheme. This is an approach to provide government and industry with expert advice.
19 Nov 2015 - GCHQ’s Future Leaders Programme - a family-friendly, flexible approach to protecting the nation
GCHQ has launched a programme to identify, train and develop tomorrow’s leaders.
09 Nov 2015 - £6.5 million CyberInvest scheme to boost world-class UK cyber security research
GCHQ and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have launched CyberInvest, a new £6.5m industry and Government scheme to support cutting edge cyber security research and protect the UK in cyber space.
06 Nov 2015 - GCHQ and NCA join forces to ensure no hiding place online for criminals
The Director of GCHQ and the Director General of the National Crime Agency (NCA) have today officially opened a co-located Joint Operations Cell (JOC), which will focus initially on tackling online child sexual exploitation.
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

Foreign Secretary welcomes Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruling

News article - 12 Feb 2016
The Tribunal has ruled that the legal regime under which GCHQ carries out Equipment Interference is and always has been fully compatible with human rights law.
Glowing laptop representing a cyber theme

Cyber Summer Schools applications open

Press release - 18 Jan 2016
GCHQ launches Cyber Summer Schools in Cheltenham, Scarborough, the Manchester area, and South West London.
Now in its second year, the Summer Schools programme offers successful applicants a chance to develop their own cyber skills, learn how GCHQ protects the UK against cyber threats and meet other people with similar interests.

Our journey

History and the Cryptoy app

Cryptoy is a fun, free, educational app about cryptography, designed by GCHQ for use by secondary school students and their teachers.
The app enables users to understand basic encryption techniques, learn about their history and then have a go at creating their own encoded messages. These can then be shared with friends via social media or more traditional means and the recipients can use the app to try to decipher the messages.
Director GCHQ, Robert Hannigan

Director GCHQ writes an opinion piece for the Financial Times

News article - 04 Nov 2014
In his first public statement, the new Director GCHQ Robert Hannigan discusses terrorist use of the Internet and how the security and intelligence agencies need greater support from technology companies to tackle this challenge.

Want to know more about GCHQ's work to protect the UK?

News article - 09 Jun 2015
Our Counter Terrorism and Serious Crime teams tackle some of the most difficult challenges facing the UK.
To show the work that we do in these areas, we have published accounts from our analysts and linguists talking about their jobs.