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UK gov plans cyber warfare unit to tackle threat posed by Russia, North Korea and Iran

UK gov plans cyber warfare unit to tackle threat posed by Russia, North Korea and Iran

UK GOV is planning to build an offensive cyber warfare unit in a bid to tackle the online threat posed by Russia, North Korea, Iran and other countries active in cyber attacks.

The ‘force’ would have around 2,000 operatives drawn from GCHQ and the armed forces. However, the establishment of the organisation has been held up by internal political wrangling over funding, and which part of government will have ultimate command of the unit.

That’s according to a weekend report from the Financial Times, citing two people with knowledge of the plans who claim that the initiative will require a budget of “hundreds of millions of pounds”.

The new group would be an expansion of an existing initiative that already comprises around 500 officers from the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ.

While GCHQ officers are expected to play a leading role, according to the FT, its likely base at RAF Wyton indicates that the Ministry of Defence is making a pitch for ultimate command and control of the unit. 

However, political rows over funding for defence between the defence secretary Gavin Williamson and chancellor Philip Hammond is believed to be at least partly behind the delays in establishing the cyber warfare unit.

Williamson is demanding more funding for defence – UK defence spending is lower today than it was in 2010 – to cover what he claims will be a £20 billion shortfall in the budget for military equipment over the next decade.

The UK’s cyber attack capabilities are a closely guarded secret, although the Edward Snowden papers indicated that it was already highly active, alongside the US, in sophisticated cyber espionage activities. µ

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Source : Inquirer

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