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UK Plans To Invest £5 Billion In Retaliatory Cyber-attacks

UK Plans To Invest £5 Billion In Retaliatory Cyber-attacks

The United Kingdom has revealed plans to invest £5 billion in bolstering national cybersecurity that includes creating a “Cyber Force” unit to perform retaliatory attacks.

Fighting back

Cyber-warfare is being embraced as the “fifth domain” of international conflict and is being incorporated in the core functional aspects of nations, including the military. This includes having the same level of funding and attention as more traditional divisions.

As the UK’s Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace points out in an interview with The Telegraph, Britain isn’t just looking to strengthen its stance against threats, but also to build up its capacity to launch retaliatory assaults.

Also Read: Free 8 Steps Checklist for Companies to Prevent Data Breach

The UK’s goal is to strike back on ‘tier one’ attacks, targeting crucial sectors of hostile states such as Russia, China, and North Korea. As Wallace points out, Britain will be one of the very few countries in the world that will have the capacity to mount offensive cyber-attacks at such a scale, essentially discouraging any future attempts against them.

Typical targets could include electric power stations, telecommunication service providers, and various basic infrastructure entities where any service disruption would result in a large-scale impact and notable adverse economical effects.

Addressing a persistent threat

As Mr. Wallace revealed, some foreign states are waging cyber warfare on Britain on a daily basis, so responding to this aggressively is within the rights that underpin international laws. One of the examples that the official gave during the interview is dismantling servers that are used for ransomware deployment, spyware, or IoT malware.

A notable incident that came up as an example of how catastrophic these attacks can be comes from 2017, when the WannaCry worm crippled parts of the NHS (National Health Service). The Secretary of Defense sees this as an critical event but underlines that Britain hasn’t had a tier-one cyberattack that caused significant catastrophe yet.

Creating the National Cyber Force center is meant to help keep things this way, acting as a deterrent for those eyeing Britain as a lucrative target candidate. This is the same approach that the U.S. has openly taken recently.

The new digital warfare center will be based out of Samlesbury, Lancashire and jointly run by the Ministry of Defense and the GCHQ. Wallace states that the new division should be fully operational by 2030, with more details revealed by Boris Johnson, UK’s Prime Minister, at the upcoming conference of the Conservative Party in Manchester.

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One thing to note is that none of the above is novel in the sense that Britain has been engaging in offensive cyber campaigns against the Islamic State, pedophiles, and various foreign hacking groups since at least 2018.

However, the £5 billion investment is meant to build upon these sporadic campaigns and create the ground for permanent deterrent operations against external threats and foreign adversaries.



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