The U.K.’s cybersecurity is focusing on retaliating against those who try to harm the country, as U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will give his word on the 1.9 billion ($2.3 billion) investment into the cyberspace sector, as he is due to set out the British Government’s Cyber-Security Strategy on Tuesday.

With a growing number of businesses and homes, these days, integrated with internet-connected appliances, where some still use outdated security systems. The government wants to protect its critical national infrastructure in areas such as energy and transport, as well as Government websites, with automated techniques.

It’s a wise move indeed by the U.K., after identifying cyber attacks as a “tier one” national-security risk, alongside terrorism and global instability.

The U.K.’s spy chief has warned that Russia is using the same online tools to target Britain amidst reports of Russian influence over the ongoing U.S presidential election. Not only that, three NHS hospitals had to cancel operations on Tuesday after a “malicious” attack on the computer system of the North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, MI5 Director General Andrew Parker said “There will be terrorist attacks in Britain” as Russia is an increasing threat to the U.K. and is employing cyber attacks to threaten its industry, economy and military capability.

Russia “is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways — involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks,” Parker told the Guardian. “Russia is at work across Europe and in the U.K. today. It is MI5’s job to get in the way of that.”

However these claims by Parker were dismissed by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said they had no bearing in reality.

Defence, Deter and Develop

Parker said his historical interview, which was the first given by the service’s chief in its 107-year history, reflects the urgency for the public to understand the drastic measures taken in order to keep them safe. Hammond will take up that point in his speech in London later on Tuesday, when he will pledge to boost law-enforcement capabilities and encourage universities to conduct research into security.

One strategy Hammond is also expected to announce, is to invest in the next generation of InfoSec experts with a new Cyber Security Research Institute, which we’re told is a “virtual collection of UK universities” that will be tasked with beefing up smartphone, tablet, and laptop security “through research that could one day make passwords obsolete.”

“Britain is already an acknowledged global leader in cyber security,” Hammond said in a statement. “Our new strategy, underpinned by 1.9 billion pounds ($2.3 billion) of support over five years and excellent partnerships with industry and academia, will allow us to take even greater steps to defend ourselves in cyberspace and to strike back when we are attacked.”

The strategy proposed for now to fight this threat, will be taking effect in the coming months starting with a National Cyber Security Center, where it’s due to have a full staff of 700 in its new London headquarters next year.

As Hammond said,

“If we do not have the ability to respond in cyberspace to an attack which takes down our power networks, leaving us in darkness, or hits our air traffic control system, grounding our planes, we would be left with the impossible choice of turning the other cheek and ignoring the devastating consequences or resorting to a military response.

“That is a choice we do not want to face and a choice we do not want to leave as a legacy to our successors.”



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