The government has been surprised by the level of Internet attacks on government systems, the defence industry, the NHS and on critical business such as the electric companies, water companies etc. and even attacks on household names such as Tesco.
It can be hard to pin down who’s to blame for these attacks but they say there are basically 3 groups involved – government sponsored cyber specialists, criminals and people who just take up the challenge of hacking.
The obvious guess as to the state sponsored cyber hackers is China and more recently Russia. Both countries deny this of course.
The British government has employed cyber specialists for some time to prevent these attacks from succeeding but the time has come for a big increase in spending on this and to officially warn the cyber attackers that the UK will not only defend itself against such attacks but will respond aggressively to any such attackers.
Philip Hammond confirmed that UK security services would cause “damage, disruption or destruction” against those that attack the UK. These “offensive” capabilities would include proactive cyber attacks as well as the ability to defend against incoming disruption attempts.
This seems to be a significant ramping up of the country’s ability in this arena and in particularly that they will go on the offensive where required.
This is a five year strategy and effectively doubles the current spending on cyber defence.
The government claim it is making progress in cyber defence
e.g.1. where it used to take a month to shut down a website spreading viruses it now can be done in 2 days
e.g.2 websites pretending to be government departments can be shut down in hours where it used to take days.
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