back to article UK Ministry of Defence takes recruitment system offline, confirms data leak

The UK Ministry of Defence has suspended online application and support services for the British Army's Capita-run Defence Recruitment System and confirmed to us that digital intruders compromised some data held on would-be soldiers. The army was informed of the break-in on March 14, and "that a group of hackers was going to …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    In the meantime they could always borrow the questionnaire from Ubuntu.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "sources finger Capita-run system"

    Honestly, with so many failures on its CV, how the Hell is it that Capita continues to get contracts ?

    Who's is whose cousin in the upper spheres ? Or is it somebody's wife's son ?

    Because there is absolutely no financial, professional or reputational reason to choose Capita. With its history of delays, overcost and underdelivering, it simply boggles the mind that it keeps getting new contracts - that it regularly fails at.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: "sources finger Capita-run system"

      Apparently, under the Civil Service procurement framework you can't consider the previous track record of a potential supplier before using them, only the price etc.

      Hence why we see so many procurement fuckups; The civil service has institutionally forbidden "once bitten, twice shy".

      1. Halfmad

        Re: "sources finger Capita-run system"

        It's similar in most governmental frameworks or the price is weighted so heavily that other concerns can never be enough to counter balance it.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: "sources finger Capita-run system"

          Except in Scotland, where it turns out that "quality" (sic) was considered enough of an issue to give the contract for two new ferries to Ferguson's, despite their being the highest bidder. Still, a company owned by a pal of the then First Minister wouldn't let us down and I am sure that every is proceeding smoothly.

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            Re: "quality" (sic) was considered enough of an issue to give the the highest bidder.

            I find that in most things if you want better quality then it costs more. A £10 bottle of whiskey vs a £30 one, a £150 phone vs a £500 one, often the more expensive one is the better quality one.

            How do you think it works?

            1. Danny 14

              Re: "quality" (sic) was considered enough of an issue to give the the highest bidder.

              not if the 500 phone has a 450worth kardashian label on it.

              Depends on the 30 whiskey, ive had some bad "local" nolabel and some really good local nolabel stuff.

              beats audio is shite, you pay for the label but is consistently more expensive.

              Dell XPS line has almost the same components as an asus ROG line but is twice as expensive with the same level of basic RTB support (im not talking about adding on the onsite support: apples with apples)

      2. fajensen

        Re: "sources finger Capita-run system"

        Control Fraud: Crapita are the ones with the F1 tickets, posh boarding school grants and fat, fat donations to The Cause. Those are the real selection criteria.

      3. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: "sources finger Capita-run system"

        The civil service has institutionally forbidden "once bitten, twice shy" You mean the government has forbidden them.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: "sources finger Capita-run system"

      Are they still buy up small companies?

      Only reason we had to use them years ago, they purchased several small companies, one relating to our voip system (Can't remember the others). Service then tanked we moved elsewhere.

      Currently only Capita service I don't have issues with is O2 Business.

    3. Ordinary Donkey

      Re: "sources finger Capita-run system"

      They are paid to take the blame. This was a government fuckup and a serious one this time. But people are blaming Capita and ignoring those politicians responsible.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: "sources finger Capita-run system"

        Isn't the company name missing an "r"?

    4. CuChulainn Silver badge

      Re: "sources finger Capita-run system"

      What gets me is how anyone with Capita's track record can even be considered in the first place for so many high-profile contracts.

      Fine, as someone else said, previous track record can't be used when making the final decision - but surely it should be on the list of criteria when choosing initial tenders? As should be the people Capita employs.

      I mean, this is the MoD. Not a high street retail outlet with a need for a customer tech support line (such as I used to work for).

      Our call centre had close to 1,000 staff. Over 95% were male when it worked, since that was the tech demographic involved.

      That was before Capita were handed it and decided to balance things up by making it 50:50 immediately and break it. I don't mean women broke it, of course, but Capita's employment of people who were not technically aware did.

      Over 80% of the staff in any case came from non-UK backgrounds (students, mainly). Nothing of significance to National Security for us, but... the MoD?

      1. Coastal cutie

        Re: "sources finger Capita-run system"

        You can't put previous performance in as part of the requirements anywhere in the procurement process - much to the frustration of many in the public sector IT world. Even if you could, it still doesn't stop behemoths like Crapita et al buying up the decent company you did manage to give the contract to and running it into the ground

  3. Claverhouse Silver badge

    The Crack Of The Whip

    We understand the affected candidates were contacted by the MoD. Britain's data watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office, told us the breach has yet to be reported to it.

    "Organisations must notify the ICO within 72 hours of becoming aware of a personal data breach, unless it does not pose a risk to people's rights and freedoms.

    "If an organisation decides that a breach doesn't need to be reported they should keep their own record of it, and be able to explain why it wasn't reported if necessary."

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: The Crack Of The Whip

      Well done. You managed to copy sections of the article and put it in bold.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Crack Of The Whip

        Enough said ?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Crack Of The Whip

        That is the work of an experienced HPC

      3. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: The Crack Of The Whip

        I always do quotes in bold.

        1. Kane Silver badge

          Re: The Crack Of The Whip

          "I always do quotes in bold."

          Italics for me.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Final straw for the Army/Capita marriage?

    Surely this is the final, final moment that the Army stop throwing good money after bad with Capita? Why aren't the MoD seniors and the Cabinet Office telling the Army that enough is enough? Huge amount of tax payers money being spent on clearly a dated and insecure system from the last decade! Clearly the RAF and Navy did the sensible thing and jump ship while they could!

    1. nematoad Silver badge

      Re: Final straw for the Army/Capita marriage?

      "Clearly the RAF and Navy did the sensible thing and jump ship while they could!"

      Or in the case of the RAF, bail out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Final straw for the Army/Capita marriage?

        Jump jets on a ship, what a capita idea.

      2. RobLang

        Re: Final straw for the Army/Capita marriage?

        Or eject.

        Because is not 1941.

        1. Danny 14

          Re: Final straw for the Army/Capita marriage?

          apparently capita signed off the software on the ejection seat. probably aafer to bail out.

  5. dan 104

    I called the number provided

    and heard this

  6. VoiceOfTruth

    Capita - another of the 'usual suspects'

    The other day it was Serco. Today it is Capita. Who is next?

    These bungling firms keep getting contracts. All they have to do is bid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: These bungling firms keep getting contracts

      Presumably they only bungle the delivery -- but to start with, their pitches and/or bids hit just the right note...

      1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Bronze badge

        Re: These bungling firms keep getting contracts

        Fancy restaurants, you mean? I wonder if they use the same venues that Vodafone & HMRC find so agreeable for tax negotiations.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: These bungling firms keep getting contracts

        just the right notes...but contactless will do.


    2. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Bronze badge

      Re: Capita - another of the 'usual suspects'

      “Who is next?”

      Atos is always available if wants to kill off another few thousand disabled people in addition to the expensive screw-up.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Capita - another of the 'usual suspects'

        Or Fujitsu would pip the to the post

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Capita - another of the 'usual suspects'

      G4S. Next question please.

    4. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: Capita - another of the 'usual suspects'

      Unsurprisingly these guys have well paid departments of inshore experts that are exceedingly good at winning contracts.

      The departments who actually do the work for the contract are stuffed with the cheapest talent they can acquire of variable quality and frequent new hires to cover those who’ve moved on to other accounts or other outsourcers doing the same thing.

      Capita has zero incentive to complete projects on budget and on time. They always get paid more than originally scooped when projects go sideways.

      If you follow the money in the outsourcers it’s the people who bid that get paid the most as they bring in the revenue, that’s the whole incentive of the business.

      The businesses soliciting services from outsourcers have no idea of the technical nuances and therefore have no clue what they are getting into. They perceive it as business to business secured by Ola’s and sla’s with financial penalties that prove to be ineffective.

      Outsourcers always get rewarded for failure.

  7. cantankerous swineherd

    I suspect that paper applications are working perfectly adequately, so why bother with the computer?

    1. Jow Blob

      When I served, the paper system worked just as reliable as an IT system. Missing information and lost files.

      They brought some Unix system in as I was leaving. Talk about slow to adopt. But then, I was about the 1 in 20 that had ever used computers :-)

      One NT4 Server resettlement course later lead me here :)

  8. Mandoscottie

    wonder who it was......

    mibbe it was the claimed 16yr old oxford boy labelled "White"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward



      Is this how you normally talk and spell or are you just showing off with you leet skillz?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cover blown already?

    I do hope they weren't hoping to join the Intelligence Corps.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Interested if you got an answer to one of the last points you made … if/when did the MoD accredit Capita’s multi million pound “enhanced DRS” system ?

  11. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

    To reach its enlistment goals

    Capita will soon start snatching people out of the streets to forcefully enlist them.

    The Iron Duke would have approved...

  12. RobLang

    "Stop hitting yourself!"

    Capita is the big brother that hits the smaller brother in the face with their own fist. "Stop hitting yourself!"

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: "Stop hitting yourself!"

      I doubt they could even do that right.

  13. TRT Silver badge

    I remember the words of one Edmund Blackadder...

    We are not at home to Capita Cock-up.

    Or something along those lines. It was a short, pimply faced chap who told me it.

  14. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If the Army decides to continue using the system, it will have to pay Capita for a licence. However, if the application is not suitable for modification, the Army will need to buy or develop a new recruitment system after the contract with Capita ends."

    What if Capita have completely failed the contract by not only not patching the system, securing the system from outside entrants, resulting in lots of personal GDPR data being compromised?

    It looks as if the contract needs scrutinised and lawyers involved. What Capita has done here is entirely unacceptable. They must pay.

  16. Abominator

    Fucking Crapita…..again.

  17. Jow Blob

    No Joy To Work For

    Did a short stint for them years ago. Team Leader never interviewed me for the role and went out of his way to make me look sh!te (I can do that on my own).

    Purposely only given half information for a job abroad. Flights later and on way home, ridiculed for half a job on client site.

    I walked the following day. Why does this news not surprise me?

  18. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Crapita is our IT defense against Russia

    Or Atos or Sophos or Accenture or Deloitte or...

    We're doomed.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone saw them coming

    Better check your camouflage

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