UK spooks should 'disrupt' cyber enemies
17 July 2012
British intelligence and security agents have been urged to engage in "active defence" against the country's cyber enemies.
Lords and MPs on the cross-party Intelligence and Security Committee warned that work to protect UK cyberspace was still at an "early stage", despite being twenty months into the National Cyber Security Programme.
Defending against cyber attacks was one priority, the committee said. But it also saw a number other "significant opportunities" for intelligence and security agencies and the military that "should be exploited" in the "interests of UK national security".
Agencies were urged to engage in "active defence". This meant "interfering with the systems of those trying to hack into UK networks".
Exploitation was another opportunity where British agents were encouraged to access "the data or networks of targets" in order "to obtain intelligence or to cause an effect without being detected".
The ISC also said "disruption" was option. Agencies were told to access "the networks or systems of others to hamper their activities or capabilities". This should be done "without detection or at least without attribution".
And cyber opportunities beyond defence could produce "military effects" - the "destruction of data, networks or systems in support of armed conflict".
"Twenty months into the National Cyber Security Programme, there appears to have been some progress on developing cyber capabilities," the committee said.
"However, cyber security is a fast-paced field and delays in developing our capabilities give our enemies the advantage.
"We are therefore concerned that much of the work to protect UK interests in cyberspace is still at an early stage."