The UK has not only created its own version of a ‘cyber czar’, but has also updated its ‘national security strategy’ with a new Cyber Security Operations Centre under the GCHQ, the UK’s leading intelligence Agency. The new centre is very similar to the recently announced ‘Cybercom’ under the US Department of Defense. The UK has declared a new and more aggressive stance on cyber crime.
In a speech earlier today Prime Minister Gordon Brown explained, “Just as in the nineteenth century we had to secure the seas for our national safety and prosperity, and in the twentieth century we had to secure the air, in the twenty first century we also have to secure our position in cyber space in order to give people and businesses the confidence they need to operate safely there.”
The new Cyber Security Operations Centre will use expertise from MI5, the GCHQ listening post in Cheltenham and the Metropolitan Police. The new cyber security strategy also includes updates on emergency response plans such as a flu pandemic, terrorism and natural disasters.
When asked what kind of work is in store for GCHQ Government Minister Lord West responded, “It would be silly to say that we don’t have any capability to do offensive work from Cheltenham.”
Interestingly, the UK GCHQ announced today that they are currently hiring former cyber hackers to aide in the fight against “various state actors [that are] very interested in cyber-warfare,” according to West. When questioned about employing former cyber hackers, similar to Jeff Moss, a current member of the US Cyber Security Advisory Board, West responded “You need youngsters who are deep into this stuff,” “If they have been slightly naughty boys, very often they really enjoy stopping other naughty boys.”
The new cyber security operations center will also work to protect data as the UK moves to universal broadband access by 2012 under the Digital Britain Initiative.