Al-Qaeda, China and Russia 'pose cyber war threat to Britain', warns Lord West

Al-Qaeda is intent on waging cyber-warfare against Britain and new defences will be built against such attacks from China and Russia, Lord West, the Security Minister, has said.

Britain faces the threat of a “cyber cold war” amid fears that hackers could gain the technology to shut down the computer systems that control Britain’s power stations, water companies, air traffic, government and financial markets.
The security services believe that in addition to the threat from China and Russia, al-Qaeda is also likely to be working on hacking into key systems to steal military secrets and launch cyber terrorist attacks.

The Government has announced it is creating a new Cyber Security Operations Centre to bring together the expertise of MI5, the GCHQ listening post in Cheltenham and the Metropolitan Police.
Lord West said Britain was also developing the capability to strike back against hackers by recruiting former hackers at GCHQ.
"It would be silly to say that we don't have any capability to do offensive work from Cheltenham," he said.
GCHQ had not employed any "ultra, ultra criminals" he added, but he said they needed the expertise of former "naughty boys.”
"You need youngsters who are deep into this stuff," he said. "If they have been slightly naughty boys, very often they really enjoy stopping other naughty boys."
Lord West said the terrorists' capability to launch attacks was something he believed will develop in future.
"We know terrorists use the internet for radicalisation and things like that at the moment, but there is a fear they will move down that path (of cyber attacks).
"As their ability to use the web and the net grows, there will be more opportunity for these attacks."
Lord West confirmed that the Government has already faced cyber attacks from foreign states such as Russia and China. But he denied that hackers had successfully broken into Government systems and stolen secret information.
Launching the new strategy, Gordon Brown said: “Just as in the nineteenth century we had to secure the seas for our national safety and prosperity, and in the twentieth century we had to secure the air, in the twenty first century we also have to secure our position in cyber space in order to give people and businesses the confidence they need to operate safely there.”
The cyber security strategy is part of the Government’s updated National Security Strategy which also look at how Britain would cope with natural disasters such as a flu pandemic or climate change as well as the threat from terrorism.
It looks at protecting key national infrastructure such as power stations, water plants, roads, railways and telecommunications.
Last month President Barack Obama said protecting the US computer network from attack would become a national security priority.
MPs were warned last year about emails apparently sent by the European Parliament amid fears they could be used by Chinese hackers to implant viruses.
The head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, has also warned business and legal firms of the rise in the online threat from Chinese state organisations.
Reports in 2007 said hackers, believed to have come from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA), hit the network of the Foreign Office and other key departments.
Chinese hackers were also thought to be responsible for shutting down the House of Commons computer system in 2006.
In 2005 the Government issued a warning of "concerted Trojan email attacks from the Far East against UK Government and business interests".

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And if you don't think they are cyber attacking the US, you may want to have another thought about that.