back to article 'Foreign cyber reconnaissance' underway in UK

Foreign states may already have used malware to map the networks that support the UK's critical infrastructure systems, the government admitted. The admission by government officials came in the run-up to a parliamentary statement by Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude, marking the first anniversary of the UK's government's …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...there is a threat from hostile foreign states and others ..."

    Others being our 'friends', I suppose. I'm sure everyone is at it.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: "...there is a threat from hostile foreign states and others ..."

      'others' being our government and Her Majesty's loyal opposition

    2. LarsG

      Upping the ante by scaremongering

      Upping the scaremongering at a time when there are talks in the UN on how to control the Internet.

      Governments love this kind of thing, while I agree there are threats that could be substantially negated by proper use of security, encrypted memory sticks perhaps, BUT the prime responsibility of this Government is to SCARE the population into believing more snooping and control is required.

      Finally on the back of this scaremongering they will introduce legislation to spy on the rest of us.

      1. Antony Riley
        Thumb Up

        Re: Upping the ante by scaremongering


        Pretty much yes, the worst part is the press love to go along with scare mongering which makes it all too easy for the gubbermint.

        Can't find a source to this quote, but it's appropriate:

        There are two ways to control a population: fear and hope.

  2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    No shit, Sherlock

    " 'Foreign cyber reconnaissance' underway in UK"..... Methinks the icon says the obvious very clearly and how nice for Francis Maude to be the parrot that shares it. Easy money, eh, Francis, stating the bleeding obvious, but it doesn't lead anywhere, does it?

    Hmmm? Foreign cyber reconnaissance underway in UK by elements/cells/agents in the UK is a wholly different matter though, although whether the best and most effective of those would a private and/or pirate enterprise with no ties to a of puppets who are fed a diet of disruptive news and self-serving views to share daily as some phorm of reality for media production/future presentation, is pretty obvious too.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: No shit, Sherlock

      Ahh, but credit where credit's due, and there's a tiny masterpiece in the article:

      "Maude highlighted future work on...."

      What's "future work" do you reckon, and what is there to highlight? At a guess, "future work" is a bit like "new money" under the last lot, or a manifesto commitment by any of them. In fact it's probably got the same validity as Osborne's claims to be tackling the deficit, Cameron's pledge to get tough with, well, anybody, or Milliband's claim to have a clue on anything.

  3. nuked

    All this action is only about a decade too late.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I doubt it.

      The Americans have probably the most networked infrastructure in the world, and they equally probably have the most enemies on the planet. I accept there's been industrial espionage (which has gone on since long before the web came about), but aren't people surprised that the many antagonists have not done anything to mess up the US infrastructure that is apparently so vulnerable. Same (to a slighly moderated degree) applies to the UK.

      Working in sectors to which this "critical infrastructure" claim is usually applied, I can't see the opportunities for much nuisance (well, other than that we cause ourselves). Infrastructure is designed to be physically and logically fail safe, and to work through problems far greater than even the finest gang of nerds would be likely to manage to trigger.

      As others suggest, this is pure scaremongering, coming from a government that know nothing about IT, technology, science, engineering, or systems design.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        this is pure scaremongering, coming from a government that know nothing about IT, technology, science, engineering, or systems design.


        It was THIS government that originally came up with the idea of the Government Secure intranet and thus put some structure into HMG communication, it was this lot of people who started the eGIF framework and it's this government who restarted the efforts to look at Open Source.

      2. nuked

        "but aren't people surprised that the many antagonists have not done anything to mess up the US infrastructure that is apparently so vulnerable"

        What planet are you orbiting?

        Did you hear about the £800m taken from a Plc in the UK. Countless others. And these are just the ones we know anything about.

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  5. M7S

    Who do you think you are kidding....

  6. ACx

    "Foreign states may already have used malware to map the networks that support the UK's critical infrastructure systems, the government admitted."

    Really? Malware?

    1. Bakunin

      Really? Malware?

      Yes, Malware. Software with malicious or malevolent intent.

      Get something inside a corporate network to map it's topology and what is being used where and send that information home.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet another series of spin put out in order to support its surveillance bill. Pillocks

  8. Vimes

    Then why have they done nothing about Huawei's involvement with TalkTalk? Or is it too inconvenient to do something about your corporate paymasters?<

    And where the US is concerned we have Bluecoat and Vodafone. Vodafone is sharing all the web based activity of their customers with a company located in the US and under US jurisdiction, making it open to being forced to comply with the PATRIOT act.

    On one hand the government is letting one set of users being shafted by a Chinese company and on the other a US company. In neither case has this been stopped.

    I hope people here will forgive me if I don't think that HMG have either the ability or the backbone to stop this sort of thing from going on unless it affects them directly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Huawei is a manufacturer of IC chips which were included in quite a few networking kits (not exclusively tied to TalkTalk)

      BT provide most/if not all uplinking ISP's with its wholesale service else networks cant get very far... Somewhat the common denominator!!!

      Just as Fujitsu, HP, Dell, Intel and Microsoft... no doubt, helps the foreign governments aswell as our own, all companies are are 'brand' names... And thats about all they are.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The genie is out of the bottle

    Belatedly HM Gov is realising that they can't turn off the internet in times of civil strife because they rely on it more than the rest. (same reason they couldn't turn off the crackberries during the rioting)

    It will take them a few more years to understand that the traditional big government client/server (master/slave) model is broken.

    They don't control the message because the medium is peer to peer

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    " who is responsible for reconnaissance-style attacks2

    That would be anybody who wanted to know about the internet topology of a country.

    In descending order that would be nation states, sub national groups (Anyone from Syrian protestors to the militant wing of the League Against Cruel Sports), criminal gangs, individuals.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As Jullian Assange recently implied

    'It is already here' , 'the inter-linking satellites and fibre optic links between nations'

    Whilst theoretically customs border control technology could be used to monitor communications, surely the secret intelligence service and other cyber cronies already somewhat does it? If not they wouldnt be defending our country very well!

    I'm quite sure they dont care much for monitoring the average joe.... although... COULD under particular circumstances, as with any order given to an ISP, given the exception: to detect or prevent crime or it's intent --- which still has its own procedures, similar to wire-tapping which is legislated for in the US...

    Perhaps some organisation would like to throw its infrastructure out there into the place we call 'the cloud' (which originally was a systems designers way of describing the internet, but the same concept)... This organisation could then, re-design the internet from scratch, which originally stemmed from ARPAnet so they could also be in the 'line of fire'?

    Its a paradox to believe the internet is or will ever be 'totalarianistic freedom'!

  12. JaitcH

    Funny how all this 'news' pops up when ...

    the government is trying to work some quickies on Parliament. Old tactic, doesn't work any more.

    This should be read in conjunction with May's 1.6-billion waste of money for GCHQ toys.

  13. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Can they ...

    ruin the wealth of the nation (bankers already did that)?

    ruin UK manufacturing sector (politicians already did that)?

    [add your items here]

    (I can't really see what offensive action the speculated hackers could do that has not been done worse by our own kind)

  14. bugalugs


    National Cyber Security Strategy, UK National Computer Emergency Response team, Cyber Reservists for the MoD, GCHQ, The Security Service, Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, University of Oxford, Cyber Incident Response scheme and National Cyber Crime Unit of the new National Crime Agency gets NCSSUKNCERTCRFTMODGCHQTSSCPNIUOOCIRSNCCUNCA.

    William of Occam might have had something to say about such multiplication, but I think I just found my new password !

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