Cyber Wars: UK Considers Retaliatory Cyberattack if Targeted by Russia

The British government is reportedly considering launching a cyber attack against Russia, in retaliation, if Russia launched strikes against the UK’s national infrastructure.

At a time when diplomatic relations between Russia and Britain are at near a complete breakdown following a nerve gas attack on a former Russian spy on his daughter in England, the British government is reportedly considering serious measures against Russia in the event of a cyberattack.

Cybersecurity has now become a “focal point” of strained relations between the two nations, Reuters reports, citing the Sunday Times in Britain. The report also cites an unnamed British spy chief from the GCHQ, Britain’s own CIA, that the agency would “continue to expose Russia’s unacceptable cyber behaviour” while suggesting that Britain would be increasing its demand for its cyber expertise.

Furthermore, the Sunday Times also suggested that British intelligence and spy officials had been preparing for Russian hackers to pre-emptively release embarrassing information on British politicians and high-profile personalities since the attack on the Skripals.

The GCHQ has pointedly claimed that Russia has ‘frequently’ hit Britain’s infrastructure, according to the head of the agency’s cybersecurity wing Ciaran Martin. The UK had been on “high alert of a major attack for quite some time” he said.

He added: “Cyberwarfare is part of the Russian state’s armoury of statecraft.”

The comments come at a time when the head of the GCHQ revealed a major offensive against the Islamic State (ISIS) to disrupt the group’s propaganda arm. The operation, as revealed by GCHQ head Jeremy Fleming, was the first large-scale cyber operation against the radical state which saw participants from a number of allied nations including the United States. The operation meant that the ISIS had found it “almost impossible to spread their hate online” he added.

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