back to article Bored bloke takes control of British Army 'psyops' unit's Twitter

A crafty joker seized control of the British Army's "influence and outreach" Twitter account – and labelled the military unit "fun sponges" when they tried to get it back. 77 Brigade is the Army's social media influence unit. Rather than posting branded Instagram selfies and the like, they carry out information operations and …

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  1. Killfalcon Silver badge

    Norman? That's basically French.

    Can't have them snooping around the military, which for most of British history was "those guys we pay to fight France (and assorted others but mostly France)".

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Norman? That's basically French.

      Mais non, mon ami.

      Normandy was invaded and settled by Vikings (the NORthMEN) - hence the succession arguments over the English throne between the Norwegians and the Normans. Yes, there was some French blood there, I'm sure, but really the Normans were about as French as the folc of North-folk are basically Welsh (in other words, quite a bit!)

      From the fury of the Northmen deliver us, O Lord

      Or, to put it another way,

      From the driving skills of the Frenchmen deliver us, O Lord

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Yes, there was some French blood there"

        Yes, it looks they went there without women, so they got the local ones once settled - which is also an explanation why they soon started to speak French instead of some Nordic language - as children spend more time with their mothers....

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: "Yes, there was some French blood there"

          as children spend more time with their mothers

          Especially once their dads started trading with the Bretons for cider.

          1. bpfh Silver badge

            Re: "Yes, there was some French blood there"

            And that explains the driving on the south side of La Manche !

      2. Citizen99

        If Harold hadn't had to deal with two invasions at once (Norwegians up t'North) the result at Hastings might have been different.

      3. raygdunn

        I only discovered the Viking lineage on Danny Dyer's Ancestry program.

        Something feels basically wrong about finding out that way...

        Viking lineage certainly explains a lot about the bellicose nature of the Normans and the weak link to the French king.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I only discovered the Viking lineage on Danny Dyer's Ancestry program."

          IIRC another program about distribution of ancestry in the UK never explained how/if they distinguished their assignment of Viking or Norman genetic inheritance to people in different parts of the country.

          After about 200 years any population has a thoroughly mixed gene pool. The biblical prophecy "of David's line" apparently could have been applied to anyone in that later local population.

          My own patriarchal Norman and matriarchal Viking family names were concentrated in certain areas of England until the 20th century. My relatively uncommon UK blood group is "East of the Caucasus".

      4. JohnG

        "Normandy was invaded and settled by Vikings"

        Technically, the Normans were gifted Normandy. In 911, in the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte between King Charles III of West Francia and Rollo (the Viking leader). It was basically, stop doing all these raids, become Christian and offer military assistance to me and you can have this chunk of land and my daughter.

  2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Should change its name

    to 99 Brigade, as it's obviously a bit flakey.

    1. thegreatrandolph

      Re: Should change its name

      Or maybe F Troop

    2. msknight

      Re: Should change its name

      *starts wondering if there's a 69th Brigade, but thinks twice about looking it up from a government computer*

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Should change its name

        86th brigade would've been funnier

        (sorry about that, chief)

        well if they find the guy and arrest him, at least he had some fun, as opposed to some poor schlub that reported a bug through proper channels and got nailed for hacking them...

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    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    No Shit, Sherlock ..... It's the Gift that keeps on Giving*

    "I tried to tell them. Have you ever tried to contact the Army, Navy or RAF? Emails go unanswered and phoning them, whilst easy, is a nightmare of finding the right person, especially when trying to remain anonymous," he told us. "'Bug bounty', you say? Do not have one for this type of attack. Whistle-blowing was an option, but you need to tell them who you are and that has really bad karma. There are numerous examples of grey-hats telling organisations about gaps in the fence but then immediately ending up in the cross hairs."

    'Tis nothing unusual, and therefore a much bigger threat/treat/vulnerability for exploiting and expanding, because similar Groundhog Days are experienced by beings elsewhere with some of them being much more problematical ..... for they be both practically invisible and virtually untouchable and vice versa.

    :-) Such though provides for relative safety and protective security by virtue of advanced stealth with anonymous assets/SMARTR Clean Skin Agents.

    * Defending the indefensible and protecting the desirously wicked and/or sub human.

    The 77th Brigade are well warned to be very aware and most wary of Internetworking Universal Virtual Forces and to only engage with them if one really knows what is going on all around everything and how to Command and Control it with Sp00ky IT and Special IntelAIgent Services ....... for is that not wherefor that is where IT and AI are at nowadays ? .

    1. Locky Silver badge

      Re: No Shit, Sherlock ..... It's the Gift that keeps on Giving*

      wary of Internetworking Universal Virtual Vulture Forces

      FTFY

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: No Shit, Sherlock ..... It's the Gift that keeps on Giving*

        wary of Internetworking Universal Virtual Vulture Forces .... Locky

        Those too, Locky. With AIMODified DODGI Troupers r Us of the InterNetional Brigade Wheeling and Dealing with and for Brigands in and on Winning Rolls in Novel Roles.

        A Veritable and Venerable Status Quo Nightmare for Failed Elements to Try to Contain and Extinguish Unsuccessfully.

    2. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: No Shit, Sherlock ..... It's the Gift that keeps on Giving*

      Your English is getting better. I got to the second paragraph before thinking this sounded like one of your posts.

      Keep this up and I may get to the end of one of your posts!

  4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    So...

    Do we get details of HOW he took over the account?

    Password = 1234? password? deathtoforeigners?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: So...

      Password = donttellhimpike

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: So...

        or password = semprini

      2. Citizen99
        Pint

        Re: So...

        Must use that one; have a beer Sir.

  5. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    Cybersecurity

    So were there regimented password / 2FA rules?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Cybersecurity

      "'Security isn't a dirty word, Blackadder. 'Crevice' is a dirty word ..."

  6. ShortLegs

    Inaccuracy in the article

    A brigade does not "usually" consist of 650+/- soldiers, that is an Infantry Battalion, or support-arms Regiment.

    A Brigade is a composite formation, either Infantry or Armour in focus, complete with support arms such as RE, Sigs, REME, etc, and number between 3,500 - 5000. We don't have many of these, as ever since the early 90's the MoD has cut and chopped them beyond recognition.

  7. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

    GCHQ Spokeperson :

    "The levels of sophistication involved in this attack indicate the involvement of a foreign State Actor. Russian and Chinese governments in particular are known to have a knowledge of the existence of Twitter. While the attack was promptly foiled by our elite cyber units, it is important to note that most major industries in the UK use Twitter. In order to prevent a massive disruption of the British economy by foreign hostile actors, it is crucial to keep us very well funded."

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: GCHQ Spokeperson :

      And invest billions in launching Britain's own twitter post-Brexit

  8. Rudolph Hucker the Third

    I didn't get where I am today without being stuck in traffic jams outside their front gate (in a secret location near the Travelodge Newbury Chieveley M4) when the M4 or A34 is gridlocked.

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

    If you would like to apply to join us please get in touch by email. For general media enquiries should be directed to the MOD’s 24-hour Press Office number 0207 218 7907. Please get in touch and we can discuss your options further.

    EMAIL: 77x-Recruiting-GpMailbox@mod.gov.uk

    ADDRESS: Denison Barracks, Hermitage, RG18 9TP

    I must remember to go along to the next Hermitage Parish Council meeting and ask them to update the village website.

    http://hermitagevillage.apps-1and1.net/about-hermitage/organisations

    All bought to you courtesy of that oxymoron known as Military Intelligence.

    1. Dave559

      020

      “0207”? Really? «sigh»

      It’s only 19 years since London switched to 8 digit phone numbers with a new 3 digit area code, you’d think people might be able to get it right by now…

  9. Arachnoid

    99 Brigade

    Sounds a bit "flakey" maybe they melted aware under the glare

  10. opaque

    The link in the story states they joined February 2019 but the Wayback machine one states January 2016.

    I didn't think changing the name reset that?

  11. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    I'll give the attacker an 'A'

    For an A-plus we need to change the unit to the 69 Brigade and develop a Monty Python-esque ascii art logo to match

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll give the attacker an 'A'

      "[...] and develop a Monty Python-esque ascii art logo to match"

      Designed by the people who did the 2012 Olympics logo?

  12. Templogin

    Join the Professionals, or...

    time to call in Capita to rescue the situation?

    1. Toni the terrible

      Re: Join the Professionals, or...

      NO no no n o no no no, not Capita, please no

  13. nicomorr

    Fake news people!

    https://twitter.com/77th_brigade

    Quote: "Joined February 2019" (hover and get it to the minute).

    Shame on y'all...

    1. JudeKay (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Fake news people!

      Please read the whole story... By that logic, The Register travelled to the future when we wrote about that same Twitter account (which we linked to at the time) used by the same unit, back in January 2017. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/03/77_brigade_struggling_recruit_40_pc_below_establishment/ (Hint: we didn't.)

  14. mwnci

    77th Brigade...I'd stake a fair wager, that their Cyber Security skills are akin to that of a Large Enterprises Service Desk Function.

  15. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Psych!

    Seems odd I'm the first person to post that.

  16. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    Curses!

    We'd have gotten away with it if it weren't for them damn kids wayback pages

  17. Archtech Silver badge

    'As the unit's official page puts it in impenetrable military management-speak, its job is to "challenge the difficulties of modern warfare using non-lethal engagement and legitimate non-military levers as a means to adapt behaviours of the opposing forces and adversaries"'.

    In plain English, then, their job is to lie persuasively. In other words, they are salesmen or politicians, no soldiers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Salesmen and politicians believe their own lies.... or at least until they tell a conflicting lie and deny they ever said the first one.

      Those creating military misinformation know what is true and what is deceit - although the eventual propagators should not know that difference.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        All Change ..... Morons do as Morons Do and All Perish in Smashing Flash Marketed Crashes

        Those creating military misinformation know what is true and what is deceit - although the eventual propagators should not know that difference. ... AC

        So, it is acceptable to have the certifiably mad and expensively belligerent lead the blissfully ignorant and fatally naive?

        No wonder such idiotic systems are being decimated and destroyed by smarter intelligence flows and sensitive information leaking. The crazies were thinking they were able to run the asylum rather than realising they were razing it to the ground with themselves locked securely inside burning buildings.

        1. Cliff Thorburn Bronze badge

          Re: All Change ..... Morons do as Morons Do and All Perish in Smashing Flash Marketed Crashes

          The crazies were thinking they were able to run the asylum rather than realising they were razing it to the ground with themselves locked securely inside burning buildings

          The Neoconopticon at full steam seemingly. After arriving at North to South, considering East to West, the scale of desperation to fit future media presentations to seemingly Stranger Things never ceases to amaze in both the magnitude and scale of an almighty fangled futures trading operative operation, with Monsters Inc delivering demonic driver deliverables with sinister signals and conflicting memorandum.

          But one must say, that dont blame the actor if the script went adrift in the mail when the movie ends up the next Waterworld with Watergate connotations.

          Never ceases to amaze though ;-)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not rename it to

    69th Brigade?

    Gets coat.

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