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BT to patrol MoD's cyber borders for another 7 years

Seeing off bedroom hackers and gov spooks... but how much will it cost?

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The UK's Ministry of Defence will rely on BT to defend its electronic borders for another seven years, the company has announced, extending its existing arrangement.

BT has been providing cyber security to the MoD for a while, and helped write the UK National Cyber Security Strategy as well as being a member of the UK Cyber Hub and sponsoring the Cyber Security Challenge UK, so while it would have a been a huge blow to lose the MoD as a customer, it's not very surprising that BT has managed to extend the deal.

"BT has already delivered a world-leading solution, so it makes sense to develop our relationship further," says the canned statement from the MoD with as much enthusiasm as it can manage.

"This agreement is a huge achievement for BT and it is testament to the success and strength of our collaboration with the MOD," says BT's equivalent, sounding a little more excited about the arrangement.

It's impossible for even the military to operate without internet connectivity these days, but any online resources are an obvious target for everyone from bedroom hackers to the increasingly prevalent government-backed teams. Apparently the MoD blocked more than 1,000 "potentially serious" infiltration attempts in 2010, double the number seen in the previous year, but without knowing what qualifies as "potentially serious" it's hard to judge how impressed we should be.

BT has the venerable Bruce Schneier on tap to help its security efforts, and will no doubt be revealing unverifiable statistics about its success over the next few years, but for the moment we don't even know what the deal is worth. ®

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