The internet is now used as a low-level weapon of war. How should Britain best defend itself?
In the desperate scramble to rearm before the second world war there was always an undercurrent of pessimism. “The bomber will always get through,” Stanley Baldwin warned. In his dark fantasies, destruction and poison gas rained from the skies and obliterated civilisation. That isn’t quite what happened, though the bombers did their best. Today’s equivalent is the feeling that the hacker will always get through, and that attacks on computer networks will become the most devastating form of future warfare.
There are certainly grounds for fear. Technological civilisation is now built on software, much of it desperately insecure. Even when the software itself is secure – and you’d assume that the CIA at least would use properly secured software – the human parts of a bureaucracy can fail, as is shown by the extraordinary case of a teenage hacker, Kane Gamble, operating from his bedroom in Leicestershire, who managed to impersonate the director of the CIA and the deputy director of the FBI and gain access to part of their emails, which included a great deal of classified material.
The British government is projected to spend £1.9bn on cybersecurity between 2016 and 2021. This is for all departments, including the MoD, the surveillance agency GCHQ and GCHQ’s front window, the National Cyber Security Centre.
Link : The Guardian view on cyberwar: an urgent problem | Editorial