Chancellor punts the idea of the equivalent of a nuclear deterrent.
Speaking on at a conference in London Tuesday, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, warned that the government would “retaliate in kind” to any state-backed cyber-attack, amid speculation about recent hacks by Russian-sponsored hackers.
The topic has received extensive coverage in recent weeks following some spectacular hacks in Europe and the United States, and the Chancellor referred to this in unveiling a new GBP 1.9 billion, five-year government initiative to develop a “fully functioning and operational cyber counter-attack capability”.
Online gambling sites have been badly impacted by criminal distributed denial of services (DDoS) assaults with increasing frequency in recent years.
Hammond warned that “rogue states” and other online threats were seeking to target the UK’s infrastructure such as power grids and air traffic control, as well as trying to carry out industrial espionage, and he argued that an investment in offensive capabilities would help deter other countries from targeting the UK.
The Chancellors speech followed that of MI5 director general Andrew Parker, who warned that Russia “is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways – involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks”.
“We are strengthening our law enforcement capabilities to raise the cost and reduce the rewards of cyber criminality, ensuring we can track, apprehend and prosecute those who commit cyber crimes, the Chancellor revealed.
“And we will continue to invest in our offensive cyber capabilities because the ability to detect, trace and retaliate in kind is likely to be the best deterrent.”