** Security & Disclosure** ALL READ

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Nov 16, 2020
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Please take a moment of your time to read the following. Whether you are a potential recruit, serving or veteran it is imperative you read this. Please hit “like” to indicate that you have read and understood the following.

Paras.uk is growing by the day and our content contains a vast array of useful information. We are connecting potential recruits with Parachute Regiment insiders on a daily basis. With official accounts joining us it is important that we discuss Security and Disclosure. This will ensure we as an online community are doing everything we can to contribute to National, operational and personal security.

Security and Disclosure

This forum comprises members who have not yet joined the military, those who are serving, and those who have served. All three groups have different interests in security – keeping yourself and others safe – and disclosure – avoiding public discussion of sensitive information.

The Threat

The actual threat from discussions online is often poorly understood. Individuals reasonably think – “the one thing I post isn’t going to make much difference”. This is only partly true, and it is important to understand how it can go wrong.

At some point, you will work with intelligence analysts looking for information on adversaries. Those adversaries also have analysts looking back. These might be OSINT analysts, linguists reading these posts, or bots collecting content and data. It is true, none of those are going to act on your single post alone. They are building up an information picture, like a jigsaw. Your one post is a piece in their jigsaw. It might be important, it might not: but you cannot know which it is, because only they can see their jigsaw. You may think what you say is well-known, but it might be the first time they have heard it. Or, it could be the all-important nth time they have heard the same thing, which confirms to them whether something is likely to be true or false.

Disclosure policy is, at heart, very simple. Don’t help them build the picture. The easiest rules to follow are: never discuss specifics or use keywords (such as actual operation, unit, capability, individual names), and where possible use veiled language - language which indirectly refers to a subject in such a way that those “in the know” understand, but those outside will not. These measures are easy for you to take, but make accurate intelligence search, collection and analysis difficult or impossible.

Some other points to note:

Remember that adversaries are not the only threat. The military also relies on a degree of trust and transparency. For this reason, although substituting misinformation may seem like an effective idea, (and in the short term may well be), it can also contribute to harmful cycles of rumour, conspiracy theories and mistrust. These still cause damage, just in different ways.

Another threat you may be unaware of is…you. If you are on this site, you probably have some impulse to be helpful, or pass on knowledge. It is very easy for this impulse to take over: you have something you can add, so you should post it! People will certainly like or approve your post if you do. This makes you feel good. It does not make it a good idea. Always stop and consider whether a piece of information is important to add. Temporary praise from individuals online should not be more important than your responsibilities and the trust that has been placed in you.

Finally, remember that the biggest intelligence threat is the one we do not know about yet. You do not always know the things which may be useful to an adversary, or damaging to us. For this reason, it is always best to be cautious.

If you’re just joining

Understandably you don’t know much to disclose, that’s why you’re here. You should be concerned, however, about your personal security (shortened to PERSEC). None of us can tell where or who you will be in ten years time, but the posts you make now may still be around. They could be used against you in future. This could be relatively harmless (embarrassing things you said when you were younger) or it could be more serious (identifying information which can be used to pressure or blackmail you).

Simple rules:

Don’t use your real name or anything that refers to it.

Don’t post details about where you are, addresses, family, or any personal details.

Don’t combine specifics. Saying you are attending PRAC, if you are joining, is obvious. Saying you are attending PRAC in May identifies you. Using non-specific words: “soon” or “recently” are good habits to get into.

Personal security (PERSEC) is the one area where you can drop in misinformation if you like – saying you live in a different town is only detrimental to identifying you, and that is your decision.

Public and Private

Many people are under the misconception that private messaging on internet forums is private, to the same degree that some encrypted messaging apps are. This is not the case. To a skilled attacker, the private messages can be as accessible as the public forum posts. Treat your private posts in the same way as you do your public posts – don’t disclose anything you wouldn’t say publicly.

What you can talk about

Most things
! This isn’t designed to restrict you. Nor are we wanting to infringe on your right to free speech. The intent here is to lay out some information that can protect you and others. We want you to engage with the forum and seek the answers you require for your journey into the Army. In the vast majority of cases, taking a moment to consider before you post, and exercising your common sense and personal responsibility, is sufficient. Simply avoiding specifics and keywords is the best approach.

It is possible to give much useful advice or knowledge in generalities without going into the specifics. Talking about lessons you learned from a particular operation, even if that operation was highly sensitive, does not necessarily require sensitive information about the operation. For example, you can discuss this one time you were on a helicopter insertion, and nobody will know whether it was during basic training or flying over Peshawar to strike Osama Bin Laden.

If you have served, keep in mind the information appropriate or necessary for the pre-recruit population you are talking to. Almost none of that is sensitive. Much of the information appropriate to recruit training is available publicly. Referencing information in a document that Defence has formally published is not a disclosures issue.

Remember there is an edit button! There is no time limit on when you can edit a post. Likewise I have afforded all users the ability to delete their posts. It best to consider before you post, but it’s also easy to go back and reconsider something you have posted.

Thank you for reading.

You may also wish to read the official
MoD social media policy:

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