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Technology

UK government to lead international “fight back” against cyber espionage

UK government to lead international “fight back” against cyber espionage

The British government is to fund the “fight back” against international cyber espionage, with the foundation of the world’s first centre for national cyber security.

Like a 21 century Station X, “The Global Centre for Cyber Security and Capacity Building,” (Capacity) will work to protect the British government from serious cyber attacks, including those by lone hackers, and more serious attacks from hostile governments.

But with a starting budget of £1 million, is this enough to protect the UK and other governments from determined hackers?

According to the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, the organisation will become a “beacon of expertise” in cybersecurity.  Mr Hague says that the centre will protect the UK’s security interests by working with global efforts to combat hackers and weak security systems.

Capacity, as it’s being called, will work with governments, international bodies, and private companies to ensure that these different groups are aquatically prepared to protect themselves from hackers. It will also work to ensure that they are sharing enough information about possible threats.

According to Francis Maude, the British Minister for Cyber Security in the Cabinet Office, there is a strong need for these organisations to work together to protect themselves and the public from hackers. Although, he warned that Capacity will not have an easy job;

“The range and depth of capacity required here and in other countries is considerable.”

Capacity will provide governments with guidance for protecting their key services and infrastructures from hackers and aid in “solving problems” after major cyber attacks.

The threat from hackers, both working for themselves or hostile governments, has grown as more government, economic, and social services move online. The US government already says that it will consider a cyberattack as an act of war.

The need for such an organisation is illustrated by the series of hacks against US media and technology organisations in January this year.  Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter each admitted that they had been victims of a “sophisticated” zero-day attack.  Earlier The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal revealed they had been victims of a serious attack in which the hackers gained access to some internal data.

In the case of each of the technology companies, the attacks were only made public following a statement by Twitter, in which it announced that several companies had been subject to the one that targeted it.

Last month the online note taking app Evernote was also hacked. It was forced to reset millions of users’ passwords.

In 2011 Anonymous hacked NATO, and claimed that it gained access to over 1GB of data. Previously, the CIA and the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency, SOCA, were also attacked

The Centre will be based in the Oxford Martin School at University of Oxford

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@pdscott

Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).

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