The UK is to recruit hundreds of computer experts to form a cyber-army, defence secretary Philip Hammond announced over the weekend.
The unit will defend vital networks against cyber-attacks and launch high-tech assaults of its own, it is claimed at the Conservative party conference. Hammond proudly announced to the true blue loyalists that while there’s no cash for anyone else, Britain is spending increasing amounts on defending the great unwashed from people they are unlikely to ever meet.
Hammond said that while the UK is broke, it has the fourth largest defence budget in the world and a big chunk of the cash is not being spent on cyber intelligence and surveillance.
He said last year, cyber defences blocked around 400,000 advanced malicious cyber threats against the government’s secure internet alone, so the threat is real.
But he added that building cyber defence is not enough, as the UK also has to deter attacks. Hammond said Britain will build a dedicated capability to counterattack in cyberspace and, if necessary, to strike.
He told the Wail on Sunday that clinical “cyber strikes” could disable enemy communications, nuclear and chemical weapons, planes, ships and other hardware.
Hammond told the conference the government will recruit a new Joint Cyber Reserve.
The “reservists” will work alongside existing experts in various government agencies such as the Ministry of Defence and the extremely unpopular GCHQ surveillance agency.
His speech did not go that smoothly.
Hammond was heckled by former soldiers Colonel Ian Brazier and Captain Joe Eastwood who interrupted the minister’s speech to complain about cuts to regimental size. Conservative party officials escorted him from the conference building to the library where he was given a revolver and told to do the decent thing.