Covert Online Operators Ref. 1814

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Operational and Surveillance
£28,804 - £32,349 (includes a concessionary payment)
GCHQ helps to safeguard the UK from threats to national security. By taking on the UK’s adversaries online, we seek to safeguard Britain’s people, interests and businesses from serious threats. Think cyber-attacks, espionage, terrorism and organised crime. You simply will not find more challenging, varied and meaningful work anywhere.

From social media sites to messaging apps, the internet has drastically changed the way we connect, communicate and behave. In fact, the previously two separate online and offline worlds are now one and the same. But for all the good, there are still people across the world who use the internet to threaten our values and safety.

To combat this, we are recruiting for covert online operators that can play a part in disrupting, diverting and frustrating our adversaries. Are you interested in tackling criminal activity on the web in order to protect children from the darker side of the internet, preventing cyber-attacks, or frustrating groups attempting to radicalise individuals. What about working online to report on, and attempt to disrupt terrorist threats? Perhaps using internet technologies and a knowledge of human behaviour in order to prevent conflict and save lives? If any of these things interest you, read on!

We are looking to recruit individuals who can contribute to a step change in the UK’s ability to project cyber power against our adversaries, in order to keep the UK safe. You will be at the forefront of the nation’s covert online capability. We want people who can help support and run operations that disrupt and degrade our adversaries’ ability to do us harm, and contest malign activity in cyber space.


There isn’t really a typical Covert Online Operator. They come from all walks of life.

What we’re really looking for is people who are passionate about the online world and are dedicated to using it in order to achieve real world results. Online operators will typically take responsibility for the full end-to-end delivery of covert online operations against our adversaries, with a particular real-world outcome and operational problem to solve, from scoping options for an operation, working with behavioural scientists to evaluate different methodology and ways to achieve the operational objectives. You may be working online with technologists on the design and development of a technical solution, or an active role in live online operations, potentially interacting with targets (either working with language specialists, or perhaps even with your own foreign language skills), or using online data to disrupt or degrade. All this varied activity will be conducted within a clear legal framework, and in pursuit of the UK’s national security objectives: you will be responsible for making sure that our operations are not just compliant but remain within the spirit of the law at all times.

These roles are suitable for a range of different flexible working patterns.  

Wherever possible, we accommodate reduced hours or job share options, balanced against business needs.


3 A Levels at Grade C or above (or equivalent) with a minimum of 2 years work experience OR a University Degree in any subject at 2:2 or above

Working with others and effective communication
Builds strong relationships with others, demonstrating confident communication skills, and works well as part of a team.

Intrigue, creativity and analytical thinking
Is a logical thinker, but also curious and open-minded. Adapts and flexes approach, as required, to solve problems and relishes the opportunity to take on new challenges and do things differently.

Detail focus
Spots things others would miss. Remembers important details and ensures tasks are completed carefully and accurately.

Never gives up easily, is determined to achieve a positive outcome. Is self-aware and emotionally resilient, remaining calm under pressure.

Understanding others (emotional intelligence)
Is naturally curious about people and has a good understanding of how others behave.

Is driven by the organisational mission. Has a passion for technology, people and learning new things.

If you’re excited about working with us and think you have some of what we’re looking for but aren’t sure if you’re 100% there yet… why not just give it a go!


At GCHQ we’re proud of our inclusive and supportive working environment that’s designed to encourage open minds and attitudes. As an organisation that values and nurtures talent, we’re committed to helping you fulfil your potential, providing mentoring support from the start of your career. With comprehensive training and development opportunities, tailored to your needs and the requirements of your work, we’ll enable you to flourish in your role and perform to the very best of your abilities.


Salary of £28,804 - £32,349 (includes a concessionary payment)


Scarborough with opportunities in Manchester in the future.


To apply for this position, you must meet our nationality, residency and security requirements. You’ll find more details here: Recruitment Process.

As users of the disability confident scheme, we also guarantee to interview all disabled candidates who meet the minimum criteria for our roles.

Be prepared to dedicate 60-90 minutes to completing your application. We’re conscious this might be more time than you expected, so our system will allow you to save your application at any time and come back to it later. But remember to submit your full application before the closing date.

Once we’ve established that you meet our eligibility criteria, the next steps of this selection process are:

- Application Form
- Online Aptitude test
- Assessment Centre*
- Drug test

*Assessment Centres will be held in Gloucester and Scarborough in October/November 2019
If you successfully complete these stages, you’ll receive a job offer, conditional upon you completing our developed vetting (DV) process which enables you to obtain the level of security clearance required to perform this vital role.

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.