UK Announces Plans for ‘Cyber Reserve’ Online Crime Defence Force

UK Govt. Announces Plans for ‘Cyber Reserve’ Online Crime Defense Force

Earlier this week, the UK government announced that it was planning on setting up a ‘cyber reserve’ force aimed at dealing with security threats brought about by online crime. The proposed force will be run by the country’s ministry of defense and is going to allow the armed forces to draw on the nation’s computer-related talents in order to ward off online attacks and stem the tides of cyber crime. Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude claims that ‘critical’ work is required in order to combat online lawbreaking. He says that nine tenths of large British corporations and three quarters of small British businesses have reported experiencing a cyber breach within the last year, meaning that this force has now become a necessity.

Cyber Crime in the UK
Research conducted by a team of academics recruited by the UK Ministry of Defense earlier this year concluded that the country spends a billion US dollars per year on protecting against and cleaning up after instances of cyber crime. This includes the cost of measures taken to safeguard bank account security and reduce computer-related fraud, the money forked out by businesses purchasing anti-virus software and the cost of removing viruses from computers. In addition to criminals, terrorists and rogue states have also targeted computers in the UK, meaning that it is not difficult to see why the country would consider setting up such a force.

More Students Trained in Tackling Cyber Crime Needed
Maude has promised to make the UK one of the safest places in the world to conduct online business. He added that further details of the ‘cyber reserve’ plans would be revealed in 2013 and said that British government agencies and departments are working with professional bodies in order to ensure that the consideration of internet security becomes an integral component of corporate governance and the risk management process. He stated that UK officials want more students in the country trained in the skills required for tackling cyber crime and pointed out that the nation’s ministry of defense is examining new methods for attracting talented cyber security specialists, as they are required for critical areas of work.

Cyber-Spying by Hostile Nations
The UK Ministry of Defence’s announcement came in the wake of revelations that hostile foreign states had carried out ‘mapping’ of the systems that control the country’s power and water supplies. Officials refused to name the nations that were believed to have carried out this mapping but there have been reports in the United States that China and Russia have conducted similar reconnaissance exercises there, which suggests that they could be the countries that are responsible for this cyber-spying activity. With this in mind, it is little wonder the UK is stepping up its security, as it wishes to safeguard vital information.

Cyber Confidence Tracker
Francis Maude stated that the increasing number of threats posed to the UK’s online security is partly down to the growth of the internet economy. He said that the country’s government cannot take sole responsibility for fighting cyber crime and emphasized the fact that individuals and businesses would also have to play their part. Next spring the UK will be taking steps to improve online security for consumers and small businesses. The nation plans on launching a ‘cyber confidence tracker’, which will keep tabs on online behaviors and perceptions about internet security in an effort to ensure that the advise that they are delivering to the public about this subject is being conveyed in the best possible way.

It appears that the UK is now taking the threat of cyber attack extremely seriously, which it is wise to do considering the increasing trend of nations targeting the infrastructures of those that they are hostile towards via the internet. This is a sign that the web is becoming the new battleground in the international struggle for power. The full extent of the country’s plans for its ‘cyber reserve’ are not yet known. It is also questionable whether it will be used solely for defense purposes. Espionage is no longer dominated by spies being physically placed in another country. It is now evidently moving online, meaning that countries are being forced to adapt and develop cyber spies of their own.

Special article by 
Evelyn Anderson of International Business and Journalism
Guest Editor VOGH


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