Coalition Urged To ‘Redouble’ Cyber Offence Efforts After Mid-Term Review

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Cyber offensive capabilities are “crucial”, says Henry Jackson Society, after the government’s mid-term review

The UK government should redouble its work on both cyber offence and defence, according to a British think tank.

In its mid-term review, the Coalition today said it had made significant efforts to bolster the nation’s security, especially in the network space. It pointed to the extra £650 million pumped into cyber security, as well as the comprehensive strategy currently being implemented by the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance.

The government claimed to have “led the way in calling for a future for the internet that is open and free, and for international action against threats in cyberspace”, and had helped other nations “to develop their capabilities”.

Coalition should get offensive

David-Cameron-tablet dashboardBut foreign affairs think tank the Henry Jackson Society said more needed to be done. “It is an absolute imperative that taxpayers’ money should go to safeguarding the UK in this way,” said HJS communications director Raheem Kassam.

He warned about the threat from other states as well as non-governmental groups and solo actors.

“Offensive capabilities are crucial,” added political director at HJS, Davis Lewin. “How does the saying go?  You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

“So others will develop these technologies and Britain must keep up to retain its status as a serious military power.  It will be a crucial part of our military arsenal in keeping the United Kingdom free from coercion.”

There remains plenty of secrecy around where the government is spending its £650 million cyber security budget. When your correspondent attempted to find out through an FOI request, he was unsurprisingly told no related information could be released due to issues of national security.

In April last year, Ross Parsell, an advisor to government and director of cyber strategy at Thales, a government supplier itself, said the Coalition should be clearer on how it will respond to web-based attacks. But little has subsequently emerged.

Last month, the government revealed how it was to spend some of the budget, without giving specific figures. In an an update on the UK’s Cyber Security Strategy, minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude announced the formation of a UK National CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) and a Cyber Reserve within the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

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