back to article UK promises 'transformative' cyber security programme

The Coalition government sought today to suggest that the savings package for the national-security sector is all part of a joined-up plan or strategy, which will feature a 'transformative' cyber security force or capability of some type. This was done by issuing a document today entitled A Strong Britain in an Age of …


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  1. frank ly

    Fount of all knowledge

    "Which tends to argue that some people in charge of setting up our transformative cyber security programme can't tell the difference between the Reg and the US Air Force's 333rd Training Squadron,.."

    Maybe he wrote to the USAF 333rd and they told him that they learn all their stuff by reading El Reg?

  2. Jacqui


    Repeat after me in a Lister accent "tech-nish-hern" :-)

    s/technician/unpaid YTS trainee/

    s/cyberwarfare/pork barrel computer games/

    s/secured networks/pork barrel for BT/

    finally as a catchall

    s/cyber\w+/pork barrel scare/

    s/terror(ist)?/pork barrel scare/

    1. Jacqui


      I forgot to add - nthell have already joined the 'all your bits belong to us' brigade!

      My 50meg service suddenly went from ~8MB to ~1MB overnight with horrifiv latency.

      Nothng unusual you say - virgin are not noted for a stable network...

      But I found the problem - NTL's DNS servers were returning **ONE** IP address for EVERY lookup - it does not matter what name you entered you got the same IP!

      It seemed that the box that they pointed to was slurping and forwarding all traffic!

      Sounds like Virgin are doing a Phorm on thier 50Mb customers :-(

      Thankfully I run my own named and removed the forwarders for the NThell dns servers and hey presto net access was fast(ish) once more,. OK nowhere near what is promised in the ads but then when was the last time anyone believed anything beardy said?

      I still have to live with the crap that is NTHell http "accellerators" but all other protocols (ncluding work VPN) are no longer taking minutes to connect or hang for long periods.

      1. Tom Chiverton 1


        That's what they do when your MAC needs re-registering, just go to that IP in a web browser.

  3. Slappy

    A new Buzz-Word

    FFS, another one to add to the list-of -words-that-make-me-stop-listening.

    Transformative, empowerment, quango, "double-dip"...

    See? I lost interest already!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    I can't be the only one

    thinking that this is leading to "all your bits are belong to us"...

  5. jake Silver badge

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again ...

    Anyone using the term "cyber" in a supposedly serious conversation about computers and networking is universally ignorant on the topic they are discussing. Kinda makes it a handy flag, allowing those of us with Clues to ignore them. And/or vote them out of office.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So at least a couple more years plots for "Spooks"

    Nice one HMG

  7. Zobbo


    So our computers will be safe, but the terrorists will just drive a bloody big boat into the Thames since our Navy has been reduced to three men in a tub.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    cybor cybar cybir cyber cyber cyber and then cybr 2.0

    See them bubmle, see them stumble, see them spend our money to fall on their faces.

    I agree that "cyber" in policymaking is a good indication of who to fire. It's also a very very hot buzzword these days. Basically keeps up all night all of government IT-related management and then some. Of course, firing the clueless will never happen because all those superfluous colonels need a cozy job to fill the time to retirement.

    I did propose in a comment elsewhere on el reg how to do the important bits of the billion "cybersecurity plan" for a small fraction of the cost. Maybe the good colonel wrote to indicate tentative willingness to authorize consideration of spending for investigative belation for take-up on that? No? Oh well, every taxpayer's loss then.

  9. Colin Millar

    What does it all mean?

    Apparently this tier 1 threat consists of 3 things

    loss of govt data

    identity theft

    people nicking IP

    Identity theft is suddenly a widespread issue? When did that happen.

    As for loss of Govt data - maybe they could stop leaving it lying around.

    But I think we all know that the real threat to the future of civilisation as we know it is undoubtedly the negative impact on patent trolls and the entertainment industry of people nicking ip.

  10. Richard Porter

    It begs the question

    WTF have they been doing for the last ten years?

  11. Russell Howe

    Threats to the UK

    Where exactly on that list is "the government making poor decisions"?

  12. irish donkey
    Black Helicopters

    4 CHAN

    Maybe the latest action by 4chan and Annoymous may have some influence on this...

  13. M Gale

    I was going to post something cynical..

    ..but I've already been well beaten to it. Instead I'll nitpick at Lewis for using the assignation operator rather than the equivalence operator.

    Mind you, given outsourcing trends and PFI initiatives maybe he's right.

  14. richiel


    Rest assured that other (ex-) officers aren't highly competent in technical subjects either. At least YOU want to learn something instead of repeating just the marketing rhetoric of a certain aircraft engine manufacturer.

    Unfortunately, the answer to the problem of cyber warfare is to educate the officer corps, as the answer of the mechanized warfare problem was to educate officers in mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering. It is not sufficient to "educate technicians".

    Nelson did learn navigation by sun and stars; he was taught projectile ballistics. YOU will have to learn C programming if you want to be a first-rate cyber warfare officer. Five years of frustration mixed with some feeling of accomplishment lie ahead of you.

    The best route of action is to visit the next university and talk to a good computer science prof about getting a solid software engineering education *for your officers* instead of your "technicians".

    Suggested reading:

    These are just *required* subjects but by no means sufficient to understand cyberspace technology thoroughly. Still, it will take you at least three years to grasp with a very good teacher. But you haven't become an officer to just devour the cocktails.....

    now, Go to the library. Linux and gcc are free to download.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Keeping Things Basically Simple allows for All Manner of Complex Play and Virgin Prey to Feed Need

      "These are just *required* subjects but by no means sufficient to understand cyberspace technology thoroughly. Still, it will take you at least three years to grasp with a very good teacher. But you haven't become an officer to just devour the cocktails....." ..... richiel Posted Tuesday 19th October 2010 12:16 GMT

      Ah yes, an Angels' Sweet for those on Special Private Mission Postings for CyberIntelAIgent Space Offices and Seventh Heaven Hubs in the Hot XSSXXXX Control Section.

  15. richiel

    Oh, Colonel, I forgot

    * Boolean Algebra

    * Shannon's stuff (cryptology, entropy and channel coding - also an eyeopener to signals people (!!))

    * Ciphers

    * Feistel Ciphers

    * RSA

    * Hashing algorithms like SHA

    * DES/ 3DES

    * GnuPG

    * TOR

    * Steganography

    Maybe you just move to the Cotswolds for the next five years. There's a building who allegedly houses MODers who already have quite a few of these qualifications.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The last time I visited an RAF base I spent 5 minutes chatting to the officer I was officially meeting and then he redirected me to 'my sergeant' who turned out to be the one who actually knew what their computer systems did.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    sorry anon..

    I totally agree. Every time I hear the term "cyber attack" I die a little inside.

    Take for example the claim that they could cripple the banking system....rubbish! The banking system is a mess of different platforms - there is no key system. The worst you could do is DDOS BacsTelIP and then people would revert to modems or the new Faster Payments system. You might be able to bugger up SWIFT but that would sort itself as it re-routes.

    The networks these systems use are segregated from the internet. The technologies are very bespoke. It isn't just a matter of DDoSing a site or defacing a page.

    The internet itself is designed to withstand damage to the physical infrastructure.

    Just more BS fed to the half-wits in Whitehall.

    I really hate what this country has become.

  18. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    Does that mean we get aeroplanes that can turn into pickup trucks?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missed one

    They missed number five in the list of threats:

    5. Staff who use language like "work in alliances and partnerships wherever possible" continuing in employment.

    If they all still think like Labour drones incapable of communicating in anything other than Blairspeak, we are truly fucked.

  20. neb

    name & shame...

    ...the dozy red tab that did it?

    c'mon, it was from blandford was it?

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