Nanor Pontigian Science and Tech editor, The Pawprint
After months of delays and battles between the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ, the UK has finally announced, a new cyber force of hackers who can target hostile states as well as terror groups will be launched in Spring 2020.
The National Cyber Force (NCF), a joint initiative of the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ, currently contains around 500 specialists. They have been working on this project for over 2 years, but the disputes had interrupted the long process. Now, numerous sources have revealed that the unit was close to being officially announced.
Britain is currently aiming to be seen as a strong “cyber power”. They are hoping to be able to disrupt against any enemy states as well as targeting satellites, mobiles and computers . Aside from the idea of protection, the main goal is currently based on taking down any communication networks between the members of terrorist groups.
The UK has made it an important rule that the details of this plan were not revealed. They strongly believe that the hackers should all remain classified, as well as the leader of the operation. There has been speculation about the leader being a female, but they have been proved wrong.
Many people are arguing that the secrecy of the operation makes it difficult for the public to understand and follow the actions of this new force. This operation is working closely with the NCF, which is based on protecting government officials and businesses. This is causing a worry among the citizens about the real extent of this new force and civil freedoms.
Ben Wallace, a strong proponent of the NCF, spoke to the Nato Parliamentary Assembly in London back in October, and he warned that responses to “cyber [attacks], disinformation, assassination, corruption” by hostile parties “have not been good enough”. The defence secretary continued: “We are neither nimble enough nor deterring enough and that is where we must aim our investments.”
Currently, there have been new discussions about the extent of Britain’s hacking capabilities after the Uk’s foreign and defence policy was revealed. It was aimed at examining spending across all of the country’s security agencies over the next 5 years.
James Sullivan who is the head cyber researcher at think tank Rusi thinks “There has been limited public debate on the purpose and ethics of offensive cyber, the circumstances under which it might be used, and the kinds of effects that might and might not be acceptable.”