back to article Government plans cyberweapons programme

Whitehall officials have revealed that work has begun on a range of offensive cyberweapons to add to its defensive capability. It is understood that the Cabinet Office and the Cyber Security Operations Centre at GCHQ have taken the lead on the issue, and that in time there will be some input from the Ministry of Defence. The …

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  1. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Sorry, but...

    ...what does a General of the Paras know about cyber-security? We need someone like Moss... Thick glasses, bit introverted and knows one end of a mouse from the other.

    1. Adam Foxton
      Thumb Up

      I think that's the idea

      The General doesn't NEED to know anything about cyber security. He applies common battlefield theory and says 'okay, so here's a list of attack vectors. Block them.' to his technical people.

      Like he says, the basic ideas of defence can be transferred across from the real world to 'cyberspace'; you need to prevent enemy incursions into your territory, set up your infrastructure comms so you can't have fraudulent commands sent, prevent enemy agents within your territory from communicating with their superiors- and track them down so they can be removed.

      The actual 'okay, so how do we do that?' makes bugger all difference to the people at the top. Moss would be a pretty terrible military leader, but if you needed someone to design a system to a spec he's totally the guy to do it!

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Joke

        @Adam Foxton

        "The actual 'okay, so how do we do that?' makes bugger all difference to the people at the top. Moss would be a pretty terrible military leader, but if you needed someone to design a system to a spec he's totally the guy to do it!"

        So I guess El Reg should shorten future references to General Jonathan Shaw to "Jen" instead..

  2. Dante

    offensive cyberweapons?

    Tub girl and goatse photos?

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      @Dante

      Goatse is mocked at your peril.

  3. Charles Smith

    The most feared cyber weapon is ...

    the Help desk of a major mobile phone company I used to contact.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Late to the party again and empty handed too.

    And who do they think they are fooling other than themselves?

    "It is understood that the Cabinet Office and the Cyber Security Operations Centre at GCHQ have taken the lead on the issue, and that in time there will be some input from the Ministry of Defence."

    Understood by whom? And from where do you think this AIMODified input comes from ...... http://amanfrommars.blogspot.com/2011/05/110530-and-right-royal-airing-of-deeds.html ? The Ministry of Silly Walks?

  5. David Dawson

    General?

    How come the paras get a general? There's not that many of 'em, surely!

    Que starship troopers esque monologue on officer numbers etc.

    This is a whinge. Before anyone tells me off, I will give my understanding of how cap badges work.

    Our general here was commissioned into the paras, so thats where his cap badge stays.

    In the british army, officers keep their home regiment cap badge, and don't change it when they move positions, or even regiments. So, while he may be an officer of the Parachute Regiment, its quite likely he hasn't been based with them for a while, hence his posting into cyber warfare, and hence his higher thank might be expected rank. For all we know he's been with the signals regiment, or in GCHQ doing this type of work for ages.

    I don't think that this detracts from my whinge about the number of officers relative to ranks.

    1. Andy J

      General staff

      Not quite correct. Officers of field rank (ie up to Lt Col) wear the cap badge of their corps or regiment, but members of the general staff (full colonele and above) wear the general staff badge. Many senior officers will continue to wear the beret of their previous regiment (eg maroon for the paras, sand coloured for the SAS etc). The only example of deviation from this dress code was, famously, Field Marshal Montgomery who wore the general staff badge and his tank corps badge together: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e4/Bernard_Law_Montgomery.jpg/250px-Bernard_Law_Montgomery.jpg

      1. David Dawson
        Pint

        +1

        What he said.

  6. Camilla Smythe

    Futz

    Why can't people just play nice?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Geeks vs Guns

    Im wondering what type of "offensive" weapons you can have in cyberspace without going around hacking foreign states or DDOS'n countries....

    1. Ru

      Re: Geeks vs Guns

      Eh? That question reads a bit like "I'm wondering how you can have offensive infantry combat without shooting or blowing up other people".

      Go and look up what 'warfare' means, and sit in the corner and think about what you just said.

  8. Mike Richards

    This is Britain

    So our masterplan will involve uploading an unpatched copy of Windows ME to bit torrent.

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    "We need a toolbox of capabilities"

    Aren't *several* of these available on the black market at present?

    Of course if you buy them with a *genuine* credit card that says HMG you are asking for a serious kicking.

    £650m for *what*?

  10. Elmer Phud
    Facepalm

    Eh?

    "Harvey added: "Cyber is a new domain . . . " "

    Oh, it's a Govermint Minister

  11. dephormation.org.uk
    Mushroom

    Internal Threats?

    Seems to me some of the biggest threats we face are domestic.

    TalkTalk/Huawei. BT/Phorm. Vodafone/Bluecoat.

    Until we can deal with domestic threats to internet communications security, what on earth is the point of an offensive capability?

  12. Chris Coles

    The overall problem with security of the traffic on the internet

    The overall problem with security starts and stops with the quality of the UK Hosting services. My recent experience tells me we have a very long way to go before anything can be achieved.

    Strategy will be everything.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    "what on earth is the point of an offensive capability?"

    Budgets. Empires. That kind of thing.

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