MPs urge UK Government to become more proactive against cyber attacks

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 10:15 GMT Jump to Comments

The UK Government and its agencies must not shy away from aggressive retaliatory cyber strikes against those who attack the UK’s cyber defences, the Parliament’s joint Intelligence and Security Committee has said.

The Committee welcomed the creation and the progress of the National Cyber Security Programme (NCSP) however, expressed concerns that the Committee’s recommendations from 2010-11 have not been implemented yet.

And it fears that the slow development of the £650 million NCSP programme is making UK more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

In essence, the MPs want the security agencies to become more aggressive and pursue those who attack our cyber security such as using the Stunext virus to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The agencies must look at "interfering with the systems of those trying to hack into UK networks", the Committee said in order to protect the "interests of UK national security".

The other option that must be actively considered is disruption by accessing “networks or systems of others to hamper their activities or capabilities" and the MPs would prefer UK’s role in disruption is undetected.

Twenty months into the National Cyber Security Programme, there appears to have been some progress on developing cyber capabilities," the MPs said. “"However, cyber security is a fast-paced field and delays in developing our capabilities give our enemies the advantage”.

In his response to the committee, Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "I don't think there is any confusion. There are a number of ministers with responsibilities in this area, but there needs to be because it does go across government to such an extent. I think the responsibility for cyber security has to be at a central point, so it is right that Francis Maude has the responsibilities that he has.

"That's not inconsistent with my oversight of GCHQ. But I think cyber security needs pulling together across all the departments. We have a very useful ministerial coordinating group on cyber security which I chair, including ministers from the Home Office, DCMS and so on."

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