The British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that British and American security officials will team up to attack each other’s financial districts.

The first exercise will be simulated attack on the City of London and Wall Street, and comes as David Cameron meets President Barack Obama for talks in Washington DC.

Cyber Cells

The announcement of a joint cyber-crime agreement will see the creation of a joint “cyber cell” made of up agents selected from personnel among MI5 and GCHQ, as well as the FBI and NSA. This is the first time this has happened between two countries, and these agents will work together to share information about threats and respond to any attempted attack.

The first task of the cyber war game between the two nations will be simulated attacks on the City of London and Wall Street to test the cyber defences of large financial institutions. The Bank of England and a number of large commercial banks will reportedly be involved.

Later games will see simulated attacks on critical infrastructure such as transport systems and energy supplies.

“Cyber security and cyber attacks is one of the biggest modern threats we face,” the Prime Minister said in an interview with the BBC. “Eight of ten large companies in the Britain have had sort of cyber attack against them.”

“Britain and America working together have hugely capable cyber defences, we got the expertise, that why we should combine as we are going to set up cyber cells on both sides of the Atlantic,” he said.

The Prime Minister also admitted that these war games are already happening, but they need to be stepped up.

Encrypted Data

The Prime Minister and the President will also discuss privacy issues around encrypted messages. The Prime Minister said he wants to work with big technology firms like Facebook and Google so that governments can monitor encrypted messages.

The issue about the government being allowed to snoop on encrypted data is hugely controversial, with both civil rights groups and major tech players worried about the impact of either banning encrypted messages or allowing them to accessed by government agents.

Earlier this week, David Cameron said that he wanted British intelligence agencies to be able to monitor the encrypted communications of terror suspects. The Prime Minister suggested such legislation would be introduced if the Conservatives win a majority in this year’s General Election.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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