back to article British Army cyber 'n' psyops unit 77 Brigade can't even brainwash civvies into helping it meet recruitment targets

The British Army's psyops unit 77 Brigade is still falling short of recruiting targets, despite cyber skills being bigged up repeatedly by the military and government. The unit – whose remit covers information operations, psyops and similar shady things – has continued its struggle to attract part-time recruits, according to …

  1. Valeyard

    government spooks

    I wonder why anyone won't join UK cybersec-anything, where you'll sell your soul to spend more of your time spying on the innocent citizens in the UK than rival nations, all for a meagre civil service wage

    get f**ked

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: government spooks

      Do the part timers get paid the same as the TA? If so that would explain a lot about failure to recruit enough people.

      1. Alfred

        Re: government spooks

        The part-timers ARE the TA (or rather, the Army Reserve, Royal Navy Reserve, RAuxAF and any Royal Marine Reserve who feel the need), so they attract pay at the standard daily rate for their rank/rate.

        So yes, they do.

    2. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

      Re: government spooks

      Sociopaths, peeping Tom's, snitches and backstabbers, don't miss an opportunity to make some money by spying on and undermining the legal political efforts of your fellow citizens.

      'But what about the children?', you might say. Don't worry that's just a slogan to cover up what we allow you to actually do.

      1. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: government spooks

        "'But what about the children?', you might say."

        Don't worry, you'll get to spy on them as well.

      2. Nolveys
        Big Brother

        Re: government spooks

        But what about the children?

        We spy on them too.

        Edit: damn you, Cuddles!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: government spooks

        > don't miss an opportunity to make some money by spying on and undermining the legal political efforts of your fellow citizens.

        Be a government informer. Betray your family & friends. Fabulous prizes to be won.

    3. Giovani Tapini

      Re: government spooks

      I don't get it, nice office surrounded by mature trees and a little shop. They probably need marketing people :-)

  2. JohnFen

    Nice!

    A measure of my faith in humanity has been restored.

  3. BebopWeBop
    Facepalm

    Crapita

    Well with Crapita running recruitment one wonders how they got any recruits at all. Especially those who are IT literate

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Crapita

      Or even just literate.

  4. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Join the army?

    And get sent to a war zone having never fired a gun for real

    If you get lucky and a ricochet or similar grazes someones arm find yourself in court 20 years later

    Notice it is ok for the supposed bad guy to be shooting and bombing you but a trip to court if you fight back

    See the incompetance of those above you and realise why we came so close to losing so many wars and wonder what luck it took to win

    Top this up by the continual cutting of the armed forces by the government who wants to spend all our money on German cars, Spanish tanks, American planes, Italian servicing for the planes, Turkish scrap yards for our ships, Chinese steel.....

    Then wonder whether it was worth it.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Join the army?

      We haven't been at war with Northern Ireland in your lifetime and although the rules of engagement to allow returning fire the issue is that there's rather little evidence that some of the people shot weren't unarmed civilians.

      I think it's important that an army is held to account when it shoots the citizens of its own country, even the ones that hate it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Join the army?

        It was in my lifetime and I still resent being hamstrung by the rules of engagement in force at the time. Hitting unarmed civilians is just inefficient as it just gave the armed civilians justification for their actions.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Join the army?

          I also served in NI. the military should not be used for policing. I suggest you read David Benest’ article - https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/22/northern-ireland-no-amnesty-veterans-amritsar-bloody-sunday.

          You are badly deluded if you think that the downside to shooting civilians is ‘inneficient’ as your motivation for not doing it.

          Oh and he is ex CO Parachute Regiment

        2. Cuddles Silver badge

          Re: Join the army?

          "It was in my lifetime"

          Not unless you're at least 98 years old it wasn't.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Join the army?

            I served in NI in the early 90s. Bombings & shootings were routine, having missed some by minutes. IRA snipers, with help from Americans, were sniping British troops in Armagh with .50 sniper rifles at short range. The IRA and other groups were incredibly active then. Kidnapping, torture, extortion, drugs, you name it, if it made money they were into it.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Join the army?

        >We haven't been at war with Northern Ireland in your lifetime

        Because murdering journalists is all the rage among states these days - at least the ones run by religious idiots.

      3. LucreLout

        Re: Join the army?

        I think it's important that an army is held to account

        And yet it is widely and repeatedly reported that the person that may have fired the first shot on Bloody Sunday went on to have a long and lucrative career in politics. Where was your outrage then?

        We've pardoned, commuted, paroled, and otherwise released almost every convicted terrorist in Northern Ireland's history, and now.... now you want to come for some septuagenarians whose only crime was to serve their country? Really? FFS.

        Its simply not good enough to come after our armed forces decades after the event, and purely as a function of politics. Those lobbying for this need to be told to fuck off pronto.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Join the army?

          Politics baby !

          If we need to do a quick trade deal with say Argentina / Bosnia / Iraq post Brext - the Great British people (or at least their political leaders) might be willing to hand over some sacrificial squadies

        2. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Join the army?

          Given I spent most of my childhood checking the car for bombs before getting in, had a school damaged by an IRA bomb and had friends shot by them, I'm not sure you're entirely aware of my outrage levels.

          I do however recognise that things are complex and nuanced, and the person to whom I replied offered only one perspective on things.

  5. Mr Humbug

    Recruiting part timers...

    ... might be affected by this:

    https://www.army.mod.uk/who-we-are/formations-divisions-brigades/force-troops-command/77-brigade/apply-to-join-us/

    'Thank you for your interest in 77th Brigade. Unfortunately the Brigade is not in a position to assess new civilian candidates until September 2019 – however we are accepting CVs from interested candidates which we will process in due course. This is due to a number of factors including a reorganisation within the Brigade, an assessment of the skill sets required and the processing of existing candidates.'

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Recruiting part timers...

      Mr Humbug,

      Methinks all too easily many experts and ex-pats in the virtual arts exercise here on El Reg. And they can be a loquacious source of all manner of weird and wonderful information and intelligence.

      Recruited to Server to What Ultimate End?........ would be a Tricky Dicky Question to Answer for Candidates into AIMaster Pilots for XSSXXXX Streams.

      Where only the Truth is Clearly Delivered. Some would tell you IT is a Heavenly Space Place.:-)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Recruiting part timers...

        We could replace the entire unit with "amanfromMars" it would at least confuse the enemy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Recruiting part timers...

          with much greater effect, YAAc, with much greater effect

    2. Semtex451
      Thumb Up

      Re: Recruiting part timers...

      @ Mr Humbug

      It would have been good if El Reg had used its initiative and visited your link prior to them writing the article.

      Thumb up to you, for doing their job for them.

    3. macjules

      Re: Recruiting part timers...

      It would have cost the MoD around £1m for Capita to come up with that message.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Recruiting part timers...

        Plus backhanders to persuade them to do it before the month after next.

  6. Starace
    Alert

    It's not like their psyops are even any good

    The attempts at planting comments on some media to support government policy have usually been properly transparent amateur stuff; ultra low grade AstroTurfing that influences no one.

    Which is sort of what you'd expect from somewhere that offers poor incentives and lots of hassle. You're lucky if you can even recruit from the B team.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: It's not like their psyops are even any good

      Of course that might just be what they want you to think......

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not like their psyops are even any good

        I could tell you, but then ..........

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: It's not like their psyops are even any good

      >The attempts at planting comments on some media to support government policy have usually been properly transparent amateur stuff

      Also known as the mail-online ?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Their entrance exam

    will be to find all the backdoors in a bit of Huawei 5G kit.

    Sadly I'm too old and decrepit to volunteer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Their entrance exam

      Huawei dont have bugs, they're unspecified features, and that'll be a feature request to add the ability to configure that as they weren't baked into the element manager. Or they can run a script that needs root privilege on the critical national infrastructure as a workaround that'll only cost 20k to develop, and you can have the full functionality in 3 releases later properly.

      What's that? all the scripts got left lying round after the upgrade and expose a hard coded root password? oh, cleanup wasn't specified, but we can make another script to clean up after that one, for a fee...

      1. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Re: Their entrance exam

        Huawei most certain;y DO have bugs - see the Huawei cyber security evaluation centre oversight board: annual report 2019 (p.22 on). Indeed, considering the reported defects, it would likely be a miracle if their kit could reliably be used for snooping on anything.

  8. Chris the bean counter

    Part timer occupation seems attractive

    I reckon would get good skills and a pic in a smart uniform would do the geeks no harm on tinder and impressing their DnD mates.

    Doubt if the work would necessitate much overseas trips.

    Maybe recruitment would be helped getting a designer for a slightly sci-fi type uniform and a decent regimental nickname. The Turings ....maybe not the Lovelaces

    A cadet section and a university OTC might be useful too

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Part timer occupation seems attractive

      >Doubt if the work would necessitate much overseas trips.

      Remember this is still the army, not a separate service.

      If things kick off again in N. Ireland or we decide to 'lliberate' Iran - you are just another warm body if they are short of numbers.

    2. Blazde

      Re: Part timer occupation seems attractive

      > I reckon would get good skills and a pic in a smart uniform would do the geeks no harm on tinder and impressing their DnD mates.

      Apparently they're desperate enough for cybers they don't care about the whole uniform thing now. Or the fitness thing. Or the short well-kempt hair thing. Regular squaddies not impressed so I doubt Tinder would be either.

      "I thought you said you were a soldier darling, computers ain't soldiering. Where's your beret. Hey.. do you even lift?"

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Part timer occupation seems attractive

        They even lifted their ban on visible tattoos.

        It's a slippery slope - they will be letting people not called Rupert be officers next

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Turings?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-2jLLMdEBw

  9. martinusher Silver badge

    Its probably a question of finding the 'right' applicants

    I could apply for this job but I know I'd be turned down. Even if I fervently believed in its mission (whatever it is) I'm probably not 'reliable' enough to work for these people. (I'd guess that their recruiting pool would extend to people with family connections that went to the right public schools....which would make the pool of technically competent people vanishingly small.)

    1. Daedalus

      Re: Its probably a question of finding the 'right' applicants

      Yes, you don't get the same calibre of people at Oxbridge dinner parties these days.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Its probably a question of finding the 'right' applicants

        Presumably hacking isn't on the curriculum at Eton or part of the PPE degree ?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Its probably a question of finding the 'right' applicants

          "Presumably hacking isn't on the curriculum at Eton or part of the PPE degree ?"

          You can still do a lot of damage with what you learn there. Unfortunately not to the right country.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oxymoron

    Military Intelligence

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oxymoron

      Only 4 army IT Reg readers defending the accusation of oxymoron?

      Oh dear!

  11. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Its the rate

    of pay like all government jobs

    why work for the 'rmy when you can get double sitting on your arse in an office without the risk of people shooting you...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Its the rate

      >sitting on your arse in an office without the risk of people shooting you...

      Unless they move your office to Manchester

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its the rate

      Just not true.

      It’s more like triple...

  12. aregross
    Thumb Up

    Don't care about the Article, but it's Title was LOL-worthy!

  13. not.known@this.address

    And meanwhile, somewhere in downtown Tomsk...

    "Da, Vladimir Ivanovich, we are safe - the British Army cybersecurity team is almost as empty as their stock of decent vodka, Comrade! They couldn't find us in a hundred years!"

    "Indeed you are, Irinya Nataleyeva old girl - they couldn't find a haystack on a football pitch. Would you like some Earl Grey to put in your samovar? I picked it up before I left the office in Hereford... sorry, St Petersburg yesterday...."

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Bigged up Army psyops?

    “The British Army's psyops unit 77 Brigade is still falling short of recruiting targets, despite cyber skills being bigged up repeatedly by the military and government.”

    Possibly because we don't want to work for crypto fascists.

    bigged up is bigged up a real English term?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Bigged up Army psyops?

      is bigged up a real English term?

      It most certainly is. It can be traced back to the 13th century, when boar-shafting parties were all the rage.

      "...on that nighte we didst lws the Beaste unto its mark, & Sir Guillaume didst take it with grate joyeux, & was truly bigged up."

      -- Roger de Montmorency, Keeper of the King's Ringcushion

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ironically, the best hackers tend to be independent thinkers who don't like being told what to do. Whereas being in the army is all about doing what you are told without question, even if the orders are utterly moronic.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Perfect Fictions for Live Operational Virtual Environment Self-Actualisation and AIRealisation

      Ironically, the best hackers tend to be independent thinkers who don't like being told what to do. Whereas being in the army is all about doing what you are told without question, even if the orders are utterly moronic. .... Anonymous Coward

      Surely the answer is simple? Have best hackers and independent thinkers give orders to Armies, Navies and Air Forces in order to have them provide Full Spectrum Protection and Future Security Guarantees to Cyber Space Force Fledglings on the Grand AIMaster Pilot Trail/Tale/Truth.

      Where/Who does one go to for Super Cyber Space Forces today? Anywhere at all conventional and traditional? Surely not?

      Or can you just set up such markets virtually anywhere in an instant, just like as was just done.

      It is No Great Secret ..... Believe and Everything is Real Enough for All Practical Purposes.

      :-) Believing what you really think is sometimes made a tad difficult to realise because of tempting diversions into Other Extraordinarily Rich Terrains....... where Sets of Sublime Programmable AI Minds Deliver the Future in a Constant Stream of Colossal AIMedia Product Presentations.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Weird then that the Chinese government has no trouble recruiting hackers, nor does the NSA for that matter. How do you explain it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The Israeli's do a very good job of it too with Unit 8200.

        If it were me, I'd offer scholarships to top universities for those getting highest grades in maths at GCSE in return for 3 years service, arrange internships with cooperative IT companies for summers and fast track to senior warrant officer for those staying in past the minimum.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Duh moment

    Intelligent people don't like to work for criminals.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: The Duh moment ... and Advanced Persistent Threat with AI Treats?

      Intelligent people don't like to work for criminals. .... Anonymous Coward

      And intelligent people don't work like criminals either.

      And I've chosen not to dedicate that with punctuation to allow it a number of different APT meanings.

      What of criminals working with intelligent people? Can you imagine the craic there?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Penny Mordaunt

    Is she the same calibre of role model as our Dear Leader?

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Penny Mordaunt

      Quote

      Is she the same calibre of role model as our Dear Leader?

      In a word : no

      Much worse......

  18. Sulphurcocky1
    Paris Hilton

    then you don't complain when they employ AI and use ML in the absence of staff.

    Works at speeds greater than human capacity, takes on drudgery and works tirelessly with out a pause unless stopped.

    If only it would get me a cup of coffee and walk my dog.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      No Complaints from Staff Stationing Here ....

      If only it would get me a cup of coffee and walk my dog. ..... Sulphurcocky1

      :-) Those tasks are absent remotely to keep one grounded and earthed to reality lest one be lost to fantasy and self-destruction in future weighty matters/operations, Sulphurcocky1.

      Such simplicity is a Godsend.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's an advert for the benefits of joining the US Army

    https://twitter.com/USArmy/status/1131704927963766785

    Not.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Here's an advert for the benefits of joining the US Army

      What benefits such Cannon Fodder Service ‽

      Cui Bono? Anything Human? Is such the Masterful Program Leader you follow and besiege with conflict and fight instead of engaging for a quite wholly different direction of future travel?

      And just because it is bound to be thought and asked ...... Yes, it is certainly much easier for future travellers to engage with Earth Systems in order to Introduce and Float their Wares MainStream Online Live.

      Ergo ........ Hello World and Earthlings. :-)

  20. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Quite whether a UKGBNI Asset or Foreign Import for Re-Export is wondrously wonderfully unclear :-)*

    Do you imagine AI and ML to be Physically Constrained and Restrained or Absolutely Free to Wreak Havoc and CHAOS via Remote Virtual Means with Alien Memes ........ Almighty Perfect Providers to Immaculate Knights of the Right Royal Realm.

    * Take AI Jump/Quantum Communications Leap and Deny IT Yes. :-) You know you really, really want to. What is there to lose? Sanity and Madness, Conflict and Control? Surely that's an AI Win Win.

    Do you think to have the command and control of them by other more effective remote means? Instant Immense Wealth for Services Rendered and to be Rendered is a Firm Prime Perennial Favourite which Captures and Captivates Many a Willing Resource of Worthy Source ...... with Sterling Product to Present.

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