UK forms A Cyber Reserve Force

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Ministry of Defence confirms reservists can join its offensive work

The government has announced it will recruit hundreds of security experts as “cyber reservists” to help defend Britain and attack others in the online realm.

The Joint Cyber Reserve was announced by defence secretary Philip Hammond yesterday, saying they would work alongside Ministry of Defence and GCHQ forces.

The Reserve was announced in December last year, alongside a National CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team).

Computer data security concept © Amy Walters - FotoliaCyber reserve

Recruiting will kick off next month. The MoD is keen to employ those leaving the armed forces, former and current reservists, as well as those with no military experience.

Hammond was keen to point out the UK is putting together strong offensive cyber squadrons: “In response to the growing cyber threat, we are developing a full-spectrum military cyber capability, including a strike capability, to enhance the UK’s range of military capabilities,” Hammond said.

“Increasingly, our defence budget is being invested in high-end capabilities such as cyber and intelligence and surveillance assets to ensure we can keep the country safe.”

Some have reservations about reserves, asking why the government isn’t spending money bolstering its permanent teams. Yet the MoD has been keen on fostering collaboration between public and private sector bodies on cyber issues.

According to Adrian Culley, global technical consultant at Damballa, the reserves should help further that strand of the government’s security strategy.

“The reserve encourages cross-fertilisation of skills between industry and the military. This blend of reservist and full time members helps maintain cutting edge ability,” Culley told TechWeekEurope.

“This is the best way of harnessing such skills.”

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