Minister reveals Government's plans to militarise internet defence measures in UK, calls on tech community for help

Threat from cyber attacks ‘equal’ to that of nuclear bombs

The UK’s cyber-security minister Francis Maude has claimed that in terms of UK security, online attacks are on par with the threat posed by nuclear weapons.

He also admitted the Government cannot tackle the problem of cyber-security alone, and will need ‘considerable help and guidance’ from the technology industry.

In an exclusive interview with PCR, the minister said: "In terms of gravity, I would agree that the threat from cyberspace to the UK is as equal to the threat from nuclear proliferation."

"The Government is very aware that it cannot tackle these problems alone and will need considerable help and guidance from the IT industry. Many of the innovative solutions we need to implement are created by experts outside of Government who have a lot to offer to the national contribution." 

The department is currently working with IT trade association Intellect, but it is looking for more collaboration with technology companies to help set up national defence systems. £650 million is being ploughed into a new National Cyber Security Programme to beef up defences.

But the minister is insistent that it is the responsibility of the private sector as well as individuals to contribute to the push.

"Getting individual internet users to be better prepared and clued-up on internet security risks is half of the battle," added Maude. "This is why we continue to support public awareness and education initiatives such as Get Safe Online. This initiative is a joint HMG/Private Sector partnership between leading government departments and representatives of the finance, technology, telecommunications and security software sectors. Such an approach highlights that it is not just the Government that has a responsibility for responsible awareness raising of internet security risks – it is all sectors.”

As well as defending against the more commonly documented online scams, and the recent spate of attacks from ‘online terrorists’ such as LulzSec and Anonymous, it seems the Government is increasingly looking to militarise security measures.

"By 2015, cyber operations will have become business as usual within UK defence planning and operations with military commanders able to call on robust national capabilities and international partnerships to meet UK defence needs," said Maude.

For our full interview with the minister, click here.

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