Feeds

UK already 'major world power' in cyberwar

But ultra-nerds required

Top three mobile application threats

The UK government already has a "considerable" number of attackers and defenders that make it a "major world power" in cyberwarfare, according to a leading US expert.

Scott Borg of the Washington DC-based US Cyber Consequences Unit, a well-connected research group, told The Register that the British military and security services were on the lookout for talented amateur hackers, but this was just "good recruiting practice".

Borg's sober assessment follows excited press reports of an MI5 teenage hacker army and suggestions from the colourful security minister Lord West that a cadre of "naughty boys" could be hired to defend UK networks.

In fact, the UK's first national cyber security strategy, launched in June, mostly involves reorganisation of existing capabilities. GCHQ, the government's 5,000-strong electronic spy station in Cheltenham, will now house the new Cyber Security Operations Centre to coordinate efforts.

Borg said: "When it comes to cyber warfare, the UK is clearly a major world power."

However, he added, as more countries develop cyber war capabilities, recruiters will need to adapt.

"The British government will need a steady stream of new talent and new ideas to maintain the UK's status in this rapidly changing field. It will not be able to do this if it relies exclusively on conventional recruitment techniques.

"Information technology remains an area where many of the most talented and innovative people have extremely unconventional backgrounds.

"Among the top cyber security experts I personally know, there are people who are or have been punk rockers, special operations soldiers, goths with lots of piercings, motorcycle gang members, ageing flower children, serious athletes, total societal drop-outs and ultra-nerds."

He said there are early signs government security authorities are now recognising the value of an unconventional CV.

While cyber warfare isssues have historically enjoyed a higher profile in Washington than in Whitehall, Borg said the British had better appreciation of their shortcomings.

"One special virtue of British politicians and senior civil servants, when it comes to cyber security, is that they seem more aware of how much they don't know than their American counterparts," he said. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.