This cybersecurity company sends encrypted hard disks containing Bitcoin to test their applicants

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Those who are successful can use the funds to purchase a ticket to the company’s headquarters.

Researchers wishing to work at New York-based Red Balloon Security must complete a somewhat unusual technical interview as part of their recruitment process: unlocking a hard drive containing Bitcoin.

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According to a news item from Business Insider, Red Balloon sends the hard drives to certain candidates for cyber security research positions in the company. Anyone with „the skills and passion“ to decrypt the disk will be able to claim 0.1337 Bitcoin (BTC), or approximately USD 4,800 at the time of publication of this article. Applicants who are able to access the coins are asked to purchase a ticket to New York City for the next step.

„We are one of the few companies in the world to do this, outside of several intelligence agencies,“ said Ang Cui, CEO of Red Balloon. „We are a small company, we are looking for a very specialized type of security person and we don’t have the enormous amount of human energy to waste reviewing every resume.

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Cui said that the cybersecurity company sent out the test packages to almost everyone interested in the position, but the success rate was approximately 1%. Red Balloon currently has 29 employees, 6 of whom apparently joined last year.

He added:

„If I send 150 to 200 pounds of hard drives [with Bitcoin], I usually get a staff member. It’s a worthwhile investment.

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Founded in 2011, the firm has apparently been taking this peculiar technical interview approach for some time. At least one crypto enthusiast on Twitter claimed to have received similar instructions to recover Bitcoin five years ago, while others noted that Red Balloon had challenged programmers to unlock hard drives with Bitcoin as part of the Defcon hacker conference in 2017:

OK, this Red Ballon challenge is really cool!

Get a hard drive to recover Bitcoin from (firmware) on Saturday by the pool.#defcon
– Mudge (@dotMudge) July 19, 2017

OK, this Red Ballon challenge is really great!

Get a hard drive to recover Bitcoin from (firmware) on Saturday by the pool.

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