In a significant increase of its ability to counter and wage an escalating cybersecurity war, Britain has created a new offensive cyberforce comprising of 2,000 personnel, according to Sky News.
The plain is a brainchild of the Ministry of Defence and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) wherein the latter’s officials, contractors and military personnel are set to get a cash injection of over 250 million pounds in funding, Sky reported.
That funding will help a nearly four-fold increase in manpower dedicated on cybersecurity operations, the report added. A separate second source told the news agency that the report could be higher than a quarter of a billion pounds.
Britain and Russia have been at diplomatic odds over multiple issues that came to the fore after London accused Moscow of poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter with a nerve agent attack in Salisbury.
“The MoD and GCHQ have a long and proud history of working together, including on the National Offensive Cyber Programme,” a government spokesman said. “We are both committed to continuing to invest in this area, given the real threats the UK faces from a range of hostile actors.”
The plan comes in the aftermath of Britain using cyber weaponry for the first time to combat the Islamic State, Sky added.
In what constitutes a rare public acknowledgment of the cyber-offensive against the IS, GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming said:
“These operations have made a significant contribution to coalition efforts to suppress Daesh [IS] propaganda, hindered their ability to co-ordinate attacks, and protected coalition forces on the battlefield.”
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