Britain's Biggest Security Threat Is Cyber Warfare & Technology

Technology is impacting on Britain national security as the country’s National Security Council published its strategy this week which highlights that Britain’s biggest threat to national security is an increased danger from terrorism and attacks on computer networks and explains how the nation will defend itself against such attacks.  The National Security Council, which was set up by Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron this May, identifies 16 threats to the country its report; the most menacing is what they call ‘Tier 1’, which are acts of international terrorism, hostile computer attacks on UK cyberspace, a major accident or natural hazard or an international military crisis between states that draws in Britain and its allies. The security strategy states that the primary threat remains al-Qaeda in Pakistan and its associates in Somalia, Yemen and North Africa, who continue to plan attacks against targets in Britain. It is the threat of small-scale wars in foreign countries that can escalate out of control, drawing in neighbouring countries and creating havens for terrorists.

Theresa May, Britain’s Home Secretary said that the threat from international terrorism was "Very serious" and that the report showed the more "diverse sources of threat", with the government responding to a changing world and technology. Intelligence, counter-terrorism and cyber security are all expected to escape major government spending cuts that are currently taking place in the UK and may even be given fresh investment of £500 million to boost cyber defence; the security strategy will look at the issues we are going to face as a nation in coming years and the spending review will look at how to deliver.

In fact last week, Iain Lobban, head of the UK's communications intelligence agency GCHQ, which is responsible for cyber defence and equivalent to the USA’s NSA, revealed that hundreds of malicious e-mails were already being aimed at government computer networks each month, and that the use of cyber techniques and technology by countries to target each other and steal their secrets. GCHQ has been concerned for some time that countries such as China and Russia are unlikely to use conventional or nuclear weapons in an attack on Britain and instead will attempt to shut down essential systems used to run the country. Very similar to the attacks the world has seen when Russia was in disputes with Estonia and Georgia, leading to problems with their internet and even cash machines, which can cripple a nation or state.

As citizens in the UK start to get their heads round this new threat to their safety they will realise that cyber warfare is very complicated as ‘cyber’ is the web, technology, everything that is on-line and digital; it is right at the heart of our economic well-being and national interest.  A new kind engagement will be required to deal with the cyber threats; a global alliance between like-minded countries, government agencies, social media platforms and the high-tech industries.

Photo Credit: Trodel