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Hackers, Gamers and Tech Workers: The UK Needs You For a New Cyber Army 104

girlmad writes "The UK government is looking to recruit IT experts for a cyber reserves army, which will help it defend against the threat of cyber warfare. 'This is an exciting opportunity for internet experts in industry to put their skills to good use for the nation, protecting our vital computer systems and capabilities,' said the Ministry of Defence. The reserve unit will cover a range of military cyber tactics, including a strike capability to augment the UK's military prowess."
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Hackers, Gamers and Tech Workers: The UK Needs You For a New Cyber Army

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  • "Gamers" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @01:33PM (#44993857) Homepage Journal

    Since gamers today are basically anyone who has the utterly amazing skill of being able to get bored long enough to reach for a CD, how about we leave them off the listed of request people, thanks.

    • Re:"Gamers" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by schneidafunk ( 795759 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @01:46PM (#44994003)

      Probably planning ahead, operating drones & killer robots will basically be a video game.

    • Think of the grinders! Some people are able to play the same game for years, almost 24/7. Don't confuse casual gamers with the devoted.

      • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

        Don't confuse casual gamers with the devoted.

        As someone whose mother has clocked more time in bejeweled than I have in all my JRPGs combined, which is which?

        • As someone whose mother has clocked more time in bejeweled than I have in all my JRPGs combined, which is which?

          The one with a job is a casual gamer.

          The one without a job is "devoted".

    • Re:"Gamers" (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 30, 2013 @03:28PM (#44995007)

      In my day, we would spend months adjusting DOS drivers so we could catch a glimpse of a game in wonderful CGA color. Why, the games would ship with bandages and a coupon for a free transfusion at the local hospital from all the blood lost from changing soundcard IRQ jumpers. /offmylawn

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The UK clandestine services need the 'gamer' sockpuppets for relevant slang to shape the public back into a more Anglosphere way of thinking when needed.
      Just as you need the right tech touch for sockpuppets on slashdot to contain thinking on the latest NSA crypto news.
  • Just like the video games.
  • Sting Operation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Freshly Exhumed ( 105597 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @01:37PM (#44993915) Homepage

    Riiiiiighttttt... they're asking all "potential troublemakers" to come on in and get on their big, happy, new list. Just wait, some day the long knives will come out.

    • Meanwhile, we already know they don't follow orders and on average, are not physically able enough to join the actual military.

      I don't think they thought this one through in any context except getting a list of these people and their information.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        The UK really wants a list of people who can hack, send in their CV and have a deep understanding of forums/games/web 2.0.
        The kinds of honey trap and other compromising online 'friendships' would be a historically fitting result long term.
        For that kind of direct operation you need the flow of slang, creativity and seduction.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. Do not trust any organisation affiliated with the UK state!

      The UK cannot be trusted at all.

  • Awesome! So where can people from the USA sign up?
    • They'll meet you halfway. Just go to the middle of the Atlantic, and tread water until they show up.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @01:42PM (#44993969) Homepage

    Wow, I don't envy anybody the job of sifting through that mountain of applicants who are all self professed l337 hax0rs.

    As Grouch Marx said, I donâ(TM)t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member -- and this group is likely going to self-select for some strange people.

    • Like any job opportunity, you weed out a great % just by the resume. Once you find a few viable candidates the rest of the resumes get filed and reopened if need be. This situation isn't unique to this job opportunity. I used to supervise in a call centre and a simple $12/hr job would get hundreds sometime thousands of applications.

    • Re:LOL ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bob the Super Hamste ( 1152367 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @02:06PM (#44994203) Homepage
      I am pretty sure I have dealt with some of these people. We had a third party security auditor come in and do an audit of our system and I got the job of baby sitting him and he didn't seem to know his head from his ass. Even with spoon feeding him information on machine layout and configuration he had issues while being physically connected to the same switch as the machines he was auditing. He was little more that a professional script kiddy and to ensure that he could do his "job" I had to make it easier for him to evaluate the system by disabling encryption, disabling firewalls, disabling certificate based authentication, etc on the system until by the end it was basically an unsecured system but at least he was able to do his audit to find vulnerabilities in the various components which was the purpose of the audit.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The original announcement had no mention of gamers. Looks like it's just The Inquirer making crap up.

  • If you're good enough to work in this so called "cyber security", bare in mind the crimes of NSA and GCHQ against the entire planet, you'd be better off being on the good guys side, the side of everyday people.

    • Then get busted for terrorism if caught? yeah, I'd rather do it 'legally'. err, I should say 'with permission'.
      • What I meant was write better encryption for the masses. Change the email system so emails are not all sent like postcards. Nothing illegal in that.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        If you can 'think' about the acts and orders given you will not make it past the contractors who do the profiling and never move up the interview chain.
        The UK has always needed to invite in the best and most creative, people with math, language skills or a who have had a deep immersion in other countries cultures.
        Looking back the UK has the cold war history of been able to project, out think and shape many other larger nations military and political actions.
        Apart from total Soviet penetration, Argentina
  • Dear UK (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lithdren ( 605362 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @01:58PM (#44994117)

    Dear UK,

    Chinese hackers in your system? Some troublemaker from the inner city poking around in a highly classified file network? Just dont like what some guy from the internet is doing on your home page?

    For the low low price of 1 billion dollars, I will give you the solution to your problems! DISCLAMER: By reading below you are utilizing my advancted technique and agree to make payment in full to myself. Thank you.

    Step 1:

    Unplug the machine.

    Problem solved. I will be expecting my payment shortly. Thank you.

  • American perspective (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @02:07PM (#44994211)

    Well, I'm in, as long as you have a job waiting for me in the private sector too. This country is a sinking ship. We aren't willing to pay top dollar for talent, instead going for saturating the market with immigrant visas to drive labor prices down. We've got a crazy patent and copyright system that all but eliminates opportunity for startups. If signing up for some 'cyber reserve army' is what's needed to have a job that pays the bills, good health care, and a home in a low-crime area, I'm not gonna waste any time... I'll pack my bags and be there inside a month.

    Right now, our own 'cyber army' seems more intent on considering its own citizens the enemy; At least from what I've seen in the UK they have similar levels of surveillance but are far more subdued in their... zeal... for punishing people caught in their dragnets. It's not much, but it's something. Taken as a whole, I think it would be a better quality of life to be a British citizen than a US one. Plus, they still have a middle class.

    • That's exactly how the system works, make people dependent of "a job that pays the bills", even if that job is against what we agree are human rights. And while you are just a small gear in this machine, happily turning while the machine hums idly, don't complain when someone takes control of it and uses it as what it was really designed for. 1984 ftw.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        That's exactly how the system works, make people dependent of "a job that pays the bills", even if that job is against what we agree are human rights. And while you are just a small gear in this machine, happily turning while the machine hums idly, don't complain when someone takes control of it and uses it as what it was really designed for. 1984 ftw.

        Pardon me for taking the practical approach of, upon seeing the incredible wealth inequity of this country, far worse than countries in Africa dominated by warlords, even, deciding that it's a lost cause and opting to leave and suggest others do the same. I mean, dying or starving to death for the noble cause of staying where I was born is nice and all, but my activism has some practical limits; I don't wanna die to be part of somebody else's political statement.

        • well said ...Take me with you.
        • [...] dying or starving to death for the noble cause [...]

          I'm pretty sure that 90%* or more of people here are far from that risk. People like you and me have the option to chose where we're going to work, the only matter is how much you're willing to be paid. I rather have a lower income and be sure I'm a positive element in society than the other way around. That's not "somebody else's political statement", that's my political statement, because I want to live in a better society. If your world-view is "it's a lost cause, let me make it worse", than no, no pardo

          • If your world-view is "it's a lost cause, let me make it worse", than no, no pardon given. And please reflect more about it, because you are part of the problem.

            Nice strawman. Took you longer than average though -- nearly a full paragraph, to build one. Work on that. Now, your poor use of cognitive errors aside, I'm fixing to leave. If I manage to, then I'm not part of the problem, you are. Because you're what's left. I'm out of the equation. So turn that finger right back around.

            In other news, it may be shocking for you, but not everyone wants to turn everything into a political cause. Some of us pick and choose our battles -- we learn to tolerate what's left. It'

            • Nice strawman[1]. [...] Now, your poor use of cognitive errors aside[2]

              [1] there's no strawman here
              [2] quite ironic :)

              Because you're what's left.

              I've never been in the US, and I have no plans to go there.

              In other news, it may be shocking for you, but not everyone wants to turn everything into a political cause.

              It may be shocking to you, but ignoring an issue is a political action, regardless of you being aware or not.

              if we don't focus our energy we accomplish nothing. [...] You can't be a part of every cause, you have to pick a few and focus on those, otherwise you won't accomplish much of anything, anywhere.

              Yep, I agree on that.

              Now, if you want to go down with the ship, you go man. I'll be on the life boat floating off thattaway, noting that your noble sacrifice gave me a place to put my feet up.

              That's where your analogy breaks, you're not only floating away, when you say "If signing up for some 'cyber reserve army' is what's needed" you are actually contributing to sink the ship... not the one you left, but the one you're about to board.

        • upon seeing the incredible wealth inequity of this country

          But taking a job in "security", as they define it, won't help with that. When the security apparatus gets used to secure the elite against the masses, what then? Why do you think they're so hot for more security? It's the very inequality they caused that scares them. The whole thing is a wrong turn for any nation. The political hacks they dig up to run these agencies have a lamentable tendency to be really dumb about certain things. They are too easily swayed by copyright extremists, prone to thinking

    • If signing up for some 'cyber reserve army' is what's needed to have a job that pays the bills, good health care, and a home in a low-crime area, I'm not gonna waste any time.

      I'm sorry, you must be mistaken, the jobs are in Britain.

      • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @03:48PM (#44995211)

        I'm sorry, you must be mistaken, the jobs are in Britain.

        Unemployment rate, March 2013
        Britain: 7.7%
        United States: 7.6%

        National health care
        Britain: Available to all citizens. Emergency care for all, regardless of legal status. No personal cost, paid for by taxes.
        United States: Some people meeting income or age requirements may qualify, for a fee. In an overhaul of the system soon to be deployed, there will be fewer requirements, but there will still be a fee.

        Intentional homicide rate, 2012
        Britain: 1.2 per capita
        United States: 4.7 per capita ... Yeah. I'm definately mistaken here.

      • by xaxa ( 988988 )

        The UK is going the same way as the USA. Everyone is fighting and clawing each other to get that "home in the catchment area of the good school" unless they can afford a private school. Which by the way is only affordable to company directors and senior government employees. Anyone who can't achieve that goal has no option but emigration.

        Just a room in the edgier parts of London rents for £200/week.

        Don't exaggerate, it casts doubt on the rest of your argument. A room in a crap bit of London is more like £100/week, maybe only £70 for a grotty place. Private school isn't as expensive as you suggest either -- I went to one (my dad taught there, so we had a big discount), and there were plenty of children whose families weren't especially rich. They just chose not to have things like satellite TV, fancy foreign holidays, etc, in order to afford the fees.

        Having said that, there are deep prob

      • by Gonoff ( 88518 )

        You haven't read the latest news reports:

        Just a room in the edgier parts of London rents for £200/week.

        Despite the best offers of recruitment agencies in the past, I have never worked in London. I am currently as far south as I can tolerate - not far from Birmingham. London is somewhere you visit on holiday or travel through. It is the part of the UK that makes visitors from the USA feel most at home about crime levels, price gouging, drugs, unfriendliness and heavy policing.

        Get a clue about the UK. London is in the remote south away from most of the country.

  • Want to get the hackers on your side? Create a legal environment where whitehats can work safely. Put bounties on your critical systems. Suddenly all the unruly script kiddies will work for you, testing your security.

    • Mod parent up.

      America (and the West) made a terrible mistake in the early Nineties with the Operation Sundevil busts, criminalizing white-hats and grey-hats, at the behest of greedy private businesses, when what they SHOULD have been doing, is doing what the Chinese are doing right now -- turning those bright kids around to serve their interests of their country. The Chinese have turned hacking into a national sport and have cultivated a massive talent pool ready to tap when needed.

      We are being ruled by ven

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The NSA and GCHQ always tried to project a very public vision of just that. Good pay, an expectation of foreign work, languages, "unlimited" funding and tech even during budget cuts in other gov/mil areas.
      Legal, clean, smart, good pay long term and great advancement options.
      That was hoped to out do anything the Soviet Union could offer poor or under appreciated staff. Blackmail attempts could be reported.
      In theory the public image held together over many years, many whistleblowers, authors and pol
  • I'm just asking why we would want to help suppress freedom in the UK?

    And by we, I mean the half of my friends who hold UK citizenship.

  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @02:23PM (#44994397)

    From the source [], and I'll add some commentary.

    We are seeking to recruit from three areas: regular personnel leaving the service; current and former reservists; and individuals with no previous military service

    In other words, they take anyone.

    As well as employing reserves under current terms and conditions of service, the Cyber Reserve will be running a pilot scheme to evaluate innovative and inclusive approaches to recruiting, training, and employment.

    Emphasis mine, but I think that's enough to question what you are getting into.

    * possess verifiable exceptional cyber skills (*)

    * be aged 18 or over

    * be a UK or Commonwealth Citizen

    * have lived in the UK for the last 5 years

    * be able to commit to the minimum annual training

    * be willing to undergo and pass a security clearance process

    * use spare time and weekends in order to support defence’s cyber security mission

    Nothing too odd here, but it appears that you are going to working for free. Also, "cyber skills" really means squat. I'm sure they will give you a test...

    The Cyber Reserve offers a challenge that you can get nowhere else.

    Except for the US, the current UK version of NSA, the current version of the German NSA, the Italian version of the NSA, etc.. etc.. blah blah and yes, even Russia has one of those. Not unique, and only challenging to your morals in most cases.

    It would be cool if nobody in the UK signed up, but I know that the UK plays on patriotism and "terror" as much as the USA does. So the race is full speed for who is the biggest dickhead country, the US or UK. Good luck over there across the pond.

    • by xaxa ( 988988 )

      I know that the UK plays on patriotism and "terror" as much as the USA does.

      Not quite. (And that's a British "not quite", i.e. a polite not at all.) You have to be very, very careful when being patriotic in Britain. There's a risk that you'll be seen as uneducated at best, nationalist / fascist at worst. []

      From the first paragraph -- I can't tell you when St George's Day is, except it's April. The story is he killed a dragon, but I don't know why that links him to England. My idea of patriotism is

      • by s.petry ( 762400 )
        I didn't say that the Brit's fell for the patriotism rhetoric as easily as Americans, I said the Government plays the card with the same frequency.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Yes sounds like the language skills/time to enter an online community, charm to get near the admins, have the code skills to over and run a web 2.0/forum site.
      An IP trap/tracking and reshaping of the message back to busy work or to get close to admins/coders.
      Spare time and weekends sounds like dedicated sockpuppet work to inject a long term 'story' on the benefits of war or minimising any bad press once 'reality' sets in.
      Expect to see many more careful crafted comments by longterm sockpuppet 'names' vs a
  • "Reserves" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @02:26PM (#44994429) Homepage

    So what are you going to do, drop by a few days each year for reserve training and if you're ever called into action you'll be issued your standard script kiddie pack? Hand a bunch of guys semi-automatic rifles and they'll be a decent fighting force but I don't see "cyberwarriors" functioning the same way...

  • Restaffing (Score:4, Funny)

    by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @02:33PM (#44994491)

    Sounds like the UK is trying to restaff GHCQ with anyone who will take the job and young enough to be assimil^H^H^H trained correctly.

  • What's today is being considered "legal" by the current regime, tomorrow might be serious criminal offense.

  • Well, I'm not sure about the effectiveness of this motive. What I think we need is an open source replacement for such "cyber army". As a US resident, if our government decided to involve citizens I'd sign up and help teach folks how to it secure their systems for free. Hell, I've voluneered at community centers already to do just that.

    With a bit of state funding we could set up "crackathons" where government and businesses and citizens cooperated to test the security of our online infrastructures. C

  • Is this only for Britons or can anyone apply?
  • Blacklist the agency, and anyone assoiciated with it.
    Name names, publish, leak, blow whistles.

  • by twmcneil ( 942300 ) on Monday September 30, 2013 @05:22PM (#44995903)
    Why don't they just arrest the people they want, charge them with 50 gazillion stupid "crimes" and then offer the "applicant" a plea deal in return for their cooperation? Just like we do here in the States.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      It gets politically embarrassing in open court, makes the most tame press report and is optically counter productive long term. Better just to politically shape/sideline or discredit the messenger via tame third parties in the shadows.
      ie the UK has moved beyond the "charge them with 50 gazillion stupid "crimes" idea.
      The US is still trying to understand the total benefits that the more charming and advanced UK method offers.
  • Russia has already planned for "cyber army" of its own. Except, the only task for poor dumb 18-year olds is astoturfing. You know, making posts about glorious Putin and throwing shit at his numerous enemies (practically anyone, who is not a brain-dead redneck or a criminal) at forums, blogs and news sites. It all started in China, and now more and more political "elites" try to enlist their propaganda soldiers in order to save and prolong their wealth, power and heritage.

    So, it's UK time now.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Help defend a country run by a government of crooks and fascists! ...No thanks.

    captcha: unmoved (sounds about right)

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