Monday, October 18, 2010

A Little Excited

The media, I see, I getting all excited by the inclusion of 'cyber-warfare' and the threat from 'cyber-terrorism' as a clear and present danger in the Strategic Defense Review.

It's a topic I have some familiarity with – next stop Abu Dhabi around the same subject - and we all have good reason to be concerned as the internet groans under the weight of ever more increasingly sophisticated attacks from state and non-state actors.

A couple of years ago I gave a lecture in Milan on what the Chinese were up to in terms of massive industrial espionage efforts against the largest European engineering companies such as Rolls Royce. On the Russian side, it's more a matter of organised crime, which can just as easily be switched to military use with an alleged nod from 'the right people' in their own state security apparatus; the cyber-attack in Estonia being a good example.

It's not really the kind of thing that would worry us much, here on the north-eastern tip of Kent as with the Comprehensive Spending Review almost upon us, there a much bigger concerns for most of the working and non-working population. Still, it distracts us from the reality of being a nation in a war we can no longer afford, as our troops, faced by a near impossible task, slug it out on a daily basis with the Taleban, who have both time and history on their side together with an almost unlimited number of young, indoctrinated volunteers, from the Madrassas in Pakistan and surrounding Islamic states.

I'm up at Old Trafford to speak at a conference held there at the end of this week. Wonder if I'll see Wayne Rooney!


Anonymous said...

Simon, even as a Tory, I find the inclusion of the cyber threat in a Strategic Defence Review something of a red herring bordering on scaremongering.

Yes, it is an issue to be addressed but it falls outside the scope of the armed services and is more in the remit of GCHQ. Indeed, one might as well include the threat from international crime syndicates in the defence review as though it is somehow linked to cuts in the armed services.

I am not going to disclose my identity but I can say that as an ex-serviceman who spent months flogging the streets canvassing for the Conservative party in the run up to May, I am very worried.

My concern is that using cyber threats to justify cuts in armour, artillery, aircraft and warships is on a par with the fork tongued speak we have become accustomed to from that other lot over the last thirteen years.

DrM. said...

Sort of "Yes" and "No" is my answer. It's far more serious a threat than people may grasp but terrorism remains the immediate danger, as the bad guys are much more focused on the violent imagery of explosions than writing code.

The fundamental problem is that as time passes, our critical national infrastructure and economy is threatened buy the joined-up nature of the internet and the Stuxnet worm deployed recently against Iran has attracted a great deal of attention.