On Her Majesty’s cyber service: UK spends big on online army

Battle strategy

Battle strategy

The UK is looking to seriously bolster its cyber army with the recruitment of hundreds of experts into what will be called a “Joint Cyber Reserve”.

According to Reuters, the unit will concentrate on defending the country’s own networks as well as launching attacks of its own.

Speaking at the Conservative Party annual conference, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said that Britain was spending increasing amounts of its defence budget on cyber intelligence and surveillance.

“Last year our cyber defenses blocked around 400,000 advanced malicious cyber threats against the government’s secure internet alone, so the threat is real,” he told delegates.

“But simply building cyber defenses is not enough: as in other domains of warfare, we also have to deter. Britain will build a dedicated capability to counterattack in cyberspace and if necessary to strike in cyberspace.”

And that’s where the Joint Cyber Reserve unit comes in. It will apparently be made up of people from a variety of areas, including the civilian IT space.

It will reportedly work alongside multiple agencies, including the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the Ministry of Defense. If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the past few months, you’ll know that documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed that the GCHQ had worked closely with the US’ National Security Agency (NSA). The two agencies frequently shared information gleaned from their respective intelligence gathering networks.

While Hammond would not elaborate on which countries are behind the attacks the Joint Cyber Reserve is supposed to help counter, but Reuters sources seem to suggest that China and Russia are the prime suspects.



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