Attack cyber enemies before they attack us, says public
From: The Telegraph
Two in three people believe Britain should draw first blood in the cyber war and attack state or rogue hackers before they target this country.
By Tom Whitehead, Security Editor
The majority of the public believe pre-emptive strikes are justified if enemy states or hi-tech criminals pose a threat to national security.
Earlier this year, a committee of MPs and peers said Britain should declare cyber war on those who target the country through aggressive retaliatory strikes to destroy their operations.
The intelligence and security committee said it was not enough to just defend against cyber attacks and that the military and spy agencies needed to exploit cyber warfare for their own ends.
The Daily Telegraph disclosed in October that Britain is being targeted by up to 1,000 cyber attacks every hour in a relentless campaign to steal secrets or disable systems.
Hackers and foreign spies are bombarding government departments and businesses around the clock in what has become one of the “greatest challenges” of modern times.
As well as targeting state or trade secrets, the cyber criminals and anarchists also try to disrupt infrastructure and communications, and even satellite systems.
A survey for cyber security company LogRhythm found 65 per cent of the public backed pre-emptive strikes on enemy states that pose a credible threat to national security.
Some 45 per cent said the government needs to step up its protection of national assets and information against cyber threats while a similar proportion said the threat needed to be taken very seriously now.
Only 18 per cent considered pre-emptive attacks on enemy states to be unjustified, according to the poll.
Ross Brewer, vice president of LogRhythm, said: “The issue of international cyber espionage, as well as the development of increasingly malicious malware such as Flame, Gauss and Stuxnet have unsurprisingly started to seep into public consciousness – leading to increased calls for urgent action.
“However, after any security incident there is usually much speculation and uncertainty of the origin.
“As such, the typical knee-jerk reaction of blindly attacking the networks of potential perpetrators could incite disturbing consequences such as the execution of even more sophisticated attacks on the UK’s critical infrastructure.”
In its annual report in the summer, the intelligence and security committee said not enough was being done to protect Britain, almost two years after the launch of a £650 million national cyber security programme.
The MPs said slow progress was leaving the country even more vulnerable to its enemies.
In June, Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, said there was an “astonishing” level of cyber attacks from enemy states and criminals, which were threatening government secrets and businesses.
He revealed that one attack cost a London business £800 million.
The LogRhythm research also found eight in ten people do not trust organisations to keep their data safe.
Some 41 per cent of people believes it is inevitable that their data held by companies or state bodies will be compromised by hackers.
“Businesses and government organisations clearly need to do more to reassure consumers that they are capable of handling personal information with the appropriate care, if they are to rebuild the confidence that has clearly eroded over the past couple of years,” Mr Brewer said.