back to article Russia and China's 'digital authoritarianism' means we need to better arm our cyber troops, warns top UK general

Britain's enemies are investing more and more in cyber warfare capabilities, the UK's top general has warned – singling out Russia and its "digital authoritarianism". General Sir Nick Carter told the Policy Exchange think tank that countries such as China are setting out to undermine the West's ability to deter aggression by …

  1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Other countries, such as Israel, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia, also supply advanced capabilities to repressive regimes – from location-tracking spyware and hi-resolution video surveillance, to hacking software, and censorship filtering applications."

    Too right - where there is money to be made there are sods in most countries who will happily take it from anyone.

  2. Sanguma

    Myself, I blame

    the Grand Panjandrum with the round button at the top. And the Garyulies, and Joblillies and the rest of the crew. If it wasn't for the gunpowder running out of their boots, they'd've blown the whole world up by now - together with the Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, of course.

    Speaking facetiously, it illustrates a point, that nuclear weapons have been made obsolete - by AT&T, BSD, et allii ... it's a lot cheaper to bring a country down by sowing discord and distrust of its institutions and doubt about its currency and future and blackmailing its head honchos and top doofuses(?)/doofi(?) than it is to go the whole enchilada with capital weapon systems - they're just a backup now, for when your enemy refuses to lie down and take it quietly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Myself, I blame

      "...they're just a backup now..."

      In the last 2 years with Russia seemingly developing the fastest (declassified) ABM, the USA resuming nuclear land tests and China designing a new MIRV/minuteman, I'd say you have it backwards. I think they're tired of fighting over the wire and they want to get back to the down and dirty again. Gov./Oligarchs can only induce so much fear into the people with Cyberware, but Nukeware... mmmmm that's delicious. They're right too, as have you ever found a virus on your computer and immediately went into "Duck and Cover"... like Bert?

      Remember kids, when you see the flash, move fast.

      1. Sanguma

        Re: Myself, I blame

        I actually took the base data from the collapse of the Soviet Union; the finer points about the obsolete nature of the current crop of capital weaponry came from looking at HMS Dreadnought (1906) versus the cheaper torpedo boats, destroyers, and submarines ... something goes obsolete when you can replace it with something cheaper, something the SDI doofuses(?)/doofi(?) failed to recognize.

        I think the collapse of the Soviet Union was more widely studied than previously expected, and this is part of that fallout - the West defeated the Soviet Union as much on the written page as on any battlefield ... or have you never read Solzhenitsyn, Pasternak, etc?

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: Myself, I blame

          Solzhenitsyn by no means admired the West's polity and ethos --- especially cultureless capitalist America --- and warned against it. I wouldn't account his witness as a purposed weapon on either side.

          Pasternak was just ambivalent about everything.

  3. Chris G Silver badge

    There is little difference

    Between the top sellers of conventional arms and the top sellers of the accoutrements of digital authoritarianism, in many cases those items come assured, having been tried and tested at home.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: There is a little difference ... SMARTR NINJApps* for JUNTAs

      in many cases those items come assured, having been tried and tested at home. .... Chris G

      The little difference that makes a great difference, and some will tell you make all the difference ensuring success on any mission, Chris G, is that they have been failsafe tried and exhaustively beta tested for home and a broad band of alien uses/existentially strange foreign operations ..... JOINT Unconventional Non Traditional Applications.

      * SMARTR Mentoring Analysis Reporting Titanic Researching Networks Internet Networking JOINT ** Applications

      ** JOINT Operations Internetworking Novel Technologies.

      And Primed as a Weapon of Total War for Spartan Warrior Tartan Hordes, an AWEsome Tool that does not Suffer the Succour of Fools and Mules, the Doubting Thomases and Thomasinas of Yore. Such provides and guarantees nations of Spartan Warrior Tartan Hordes, their absolute safety and almost perfect security. :-) And almost perfect because ... one wouldn't want any hint of arrogant almighty invincibility being available to some who realise it can so easily be perfectly so, to prey on one's mind, extraordinarily rendering one essentially practically insane and quite mad in the head.

      That would be both humane and germane and inhumane and a misleading misdirection.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe not so well hidden......

    Quote: "...Britain's well-hidden "offensive cyber" capabilities..."




    ......and so on. Let's get real here.......everyone is doing the same things......there are NO GOOD GUYS....not even in Cheltenham!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe not so well hidden......


      Authoritarian governments collapse from the bottom up (see Belarus, Ukraine for examples of partial and full collapse).

      Democracies collapse from the top down, (see Turkey Hungary and USA for examples of partial and full collapse).

      An authoritarian government needs control of the people, because it does not have the numbers to hold power by support of the populace. It needs the infrastructure of surveillance and control to catch and suppress dissent early.

      Democratic governments need the opposite, they need to checks and balances at every level, verification of everything. To flip a democratic government needs all those checks and balances undermined. Those layers of protections make it harder for a puppet to flip the democracy.

      Strip away the layers of checks and balances and a democracy can be flipped faster. GCHQ did much of that prep-work.

      Betcha Trump is lying about Covid19. Same doctor that stated about Trump taking hydroxychloroquinoline is stating he tested positive for Covid 19. Sean P Conley, the Physician to the President.

      I'm expecting an October surprise where Republicans SUDDENLY are totally worried about Coronavirus and SUDDENLY want to stop the election because of the dangers of holding elections during a virus. Three states, three conspirators, DeSantis, Kemp, and likely Abbott to do the U-turn, having spent so much effort spreading the virus, suddenly doing the opposite.

      So show me the old orange liar in a bed gasping out "I can't breathe", and then I'll believe he really has Covid 19. On the other hand if the Republican Governors that spent so much effort spreading the virus start flipping to wanting to kill the election, my suspicions will be confirmed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe not so well hidden......

        So you are saying unless he is among the less than 1% that actually has sever symptoms when sick, you won't believe he is sick? That is whack. I don't care if he is or isn't, but if he is, he only has a 99% or better chance of being healthy within two weeks. But never mind the reality, keep ranting.

        If you are worried about the vote not happening, you're not informed well, nothing will stop the election, even if both candidates are sick, or pass away. Sharing is caring so:

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Maybe not so well hidden......

          @"unless he is among the less than 1% that actually has sever symptoms "

          False, not 1%.

          20% have the symptoms.

          15% have the symptoms severely

          1% *DIE*.

          Currently 4% die in the USA largely due to not testing enough people.

          The liar needs to have credible people do credible testing. The man reporting this is not credible because he went along with the hydroxychloroquinoline BS. Ergo his statement is tainted by his previously BS.

          @"If you are worried about the vote not happening, you're not informed well,"

          You quote an article saying the *President* of the US cannot delay an election. Which is not what I said, are you unaware of the bipartisan war room that met to run the scenarios?

          I said three *Red*States*, having worked so hard to keep the virus going till the election, will use the excuse to shut down polling stations and attempt to suspend elections. I cited the likely three.

          Kemp, and DeSantis are no brainers. They have worked so divisively to keep the virus going and so strongly to force all Democrat voters into few polling stations.

          Abbott I am less sure about, the thing that tipped it for me, is his closure of ballot drop stations so there is only one per County. Someone wanting an election would not undermine the drop vote unless you want to force people into polling stations.

          i.e. shove all the Demcrat voters into few polling stations, close those stations, if the vote is voided, go to the Supreme Court and try to force through a Republican electoral college list using the ultra-partisan Supremes. If it's accepted, you have a Republican skewed vote.

          "Oct 1: Governor Greg Abbott of Texas issued an order Thursday that will require multiple ballot drop-off sites to close, limiting counties — including heavily populated ones that skew Democratic — to a single location where voters can deliver marked mail-in ballots. The proclamation, set to go into effect on Friday, also says early-voting clerks must allow poll watchers, who are chosen by political parties and candidates, “to observe any activity conducted at the early-voting clerk’s office location related to the in-person delivery of a marked mail ballot.” The governor cast his order as a blow for “greater transparency” that would “stop attempts at illegal voting,” "

          All very predictable.

          To defeat a coup, you shine light on the coup plot. Enumerate the details, so that as it is happening people can see the plotters plotting. See those unnecessary deaths? Why did they do that? As the details unfold, the pieces of the jigsaw fall into place.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Digital authoritarianism? Just Russia and China? Think again.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "If the United States truly wants to get serious about restricting the global spread of authoritarian technology ..."

    I'm sorry, where on Earth did you get that idea ?

    In case you haven't noticed, the USA is getting more authoritarian by the day. The only thing the US Government wants to restrict is people's privacy, and also it wants to be the only country to invade that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      When the world used the tactics of China's response to Corona I knew that everyone is getting moved into that direction.

      What's not to like? Petrified citizens (for no reason) conditioned to accept martial law and overt tracking. What a gift Corona has been.

  7. heyrick Silver badge

    First step, please replace this guy. I mean, who in 2020 that has the slightest clue what they're talking about uses the word "cyber"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Let's NOT give fuel to extinguishing our exuberant Whovian-like discourse.

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Pending ..... An AWEsome Corrective Direction Directive ?

    For now is it surely waiting for considerable decisions in some MOD/MI5 in-trays, and El Regers may be keen to ensure that be so, if or when they have access to any other guaranteed post delivery agent.

    If you want to try something somewhat different, General Sir Nick Carter, don't make yourself a stranger to ...... well, what appears to be missing in one's arsenal to cope with future tribulations and which is surely clearly enough offered for real in services provided by novel systems virtualising SCADA administrative office facilities and abilities/utilities herein revealed and readily available today

    No more of the same old exhausted and aged fare guarantees a practically brand new start to Great Game Field Operations, which you might like to realise be GCHQ type Territory too. After all, I wouldn't want anyone to be thinking they were long travelled here only to be left alone without all the help possibly needed being generously and quite magically provided as Just Heavenly Reward for Immaculate Plays.

    As you can imagine, the Bounty on that Trail is Zealously Sought and Oft Lusted After, given the EMPowerment Granted and Energy Supplied and Enjoyed by Immaculate Players for further Immaculate Playing.

    cc Dominic Cummings, c/o No10 Dream Factory re: we’re hiring data scientists, project managers, policy experts, assorted weirdos… ....

    Now no one can claim that their ignorance in such matters is because pertinent impertinent information was not openly freely shared for universal perusal online.

    What's that standard warning on a firework/firecracker/squib ...... Light blue touch-paper and retire. Consider such as may explode in the above, well and truly lit.

  9. _LC_ Silver badge


    This is the transparent counter measure after documents were leaked, showing how the UK (and their friends) built up Al-Qaeda in Syria:

    >A trove of leaked UK government documents exposes a massive propaganda network used to shape the media narrative during the Syrian proxy war. Western government-funded intelligence cutouts trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets, ran a cadre of journalists, and whitewashed the jihadist militants armed, trained and supported by the US, UK, Turkey and Gulf monarchies.

    "Every very single aspect of the [Syrian] opposition was micromanaged by these western government contractors,” says The Grayzone’s Ben Norton. "It's probably the largest propaganda war that's ever been waged in history."<

    It's almost as if we're dealing with computers. Their turd-retort seems to be obligatory, these days.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge


      It's almost as if we're dealing with computers. .... _LC_

      And how does a we deal with computers gone haywire/renegade rogue freelancing, _LC_ ..... once the decision has been made whether they be worth saving and reprogramming, or not as the case may be? After all, sub-prime is sub-prime is sub-prime no matter how many times one looks at such a thing and ponders on the corrective solution.

      And as is well enough known in computer operating systems, some systems are rendered/render themselves obsolete because they just don't have, and never can be provided with the necessary intellectual property processing power for utilisation of new super enriched jungle juice/rocket fuel/escaped information/novel intelligence, and thus simply need to be retired to a knackers yard and/or recycling plant where they just fade away to the infinite black of past memory to be replaced by up to the future task, Prime Modern ProgramMING Machines Mining IntelAIgent Networking Games for and with Raw Core Explosive Source .... an AI Regenerative Force .....a Per Ardua ad Astra Evolution on Almighty Virtual Steroids :-) Poe's Law Rules :-) ..... However, nevertheless, I Kid U Not. One surely cannot deny that times have changed quite radically and fundamentally with all of these new spaces in which to play and lay out one's future fare for peer review positive support or negative opposition or divisive wanton envious covetous private pirate competition ...... and it would proceed and progress and fare considerably better with modicum of structure and order rather than being as abandoned in the Madness and Mayhem that is in CHAOS and Conflict?

      And two out of three there in that peer review troika aint bad :-) .......

  10. six_tymes

    meanwhile over 50 percent hacking and finical crimes comes from Pakistan and Iran. millions of emails written in Russian have been traced back to nodes and hopps that end up originating in Pakistan. China and Russia are not the only game in SLOW can you be. do your homework and research it yourself.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      I thought that a lot of phishing and the like originated in the United States. A recent case involved a couple of people, one in Florida and the other in the UK. There are chancers everywhere.

      ...and of course, don't forget Snowden.

    2. DoctorNine

      Dear, dear...

      If you slow down, your fingers may end up on the right keys.

  11. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    You take a thirsty horse to water, it doesn't drink, it's an expensive ass one can surely do without

    New era, new weapons needed, says Chief of the Defence Staff

    Would the Chief of the Defence Staff and not so Secret Intelligence and Security Services recognise a new era weapon if it was revealed to them, or would they only be galvanised into proaction if they discovered, or were told, by virtue of their own indolence, such as was unrecognised and ignored by them, was to be offered on extremely favourable terms, to others not traditionally allied to home forces and friendly sources?

  12. martinusher Silver badge

    Who are these enemies of which you speak?

    It seems that you just can't retire Cold Warriors. Once fully invested in the game there's no going back and definitely no going forward.

    Countries are in competition and part of that competition is the collection of intelligence, most of which doesn't come from skullduggery but just 'reading the papers'. Since we all know htis maybe its time to grow up and stop seeing the world in terms of the perpetually warring factions in "1984" and start seeing it terms of a sports league. Getting to and maintaining the top position involves a lot of work, not just on the team but intelligence about the other teams. Its not a fight to the death, though -- we all want to win but if we don't then there's always next year.

    So let's cut the 'enemy' crap. Countries like Russia and China (and even Iran) are modern societies just like us. They have their own laws and customs, interests and fears. Just like us. This doesn't stop us from constructively engaging with them. We're in this situation now where my government (US) and its subsidiaries (UK &tc.) are taking a blatantly aggressive stance. We're not promoting our teams in any meaningful way -- they're increasingly like a bunch of rank amateurs who just happened to be first in the league who live on past glories and who seek to maintain their position merely by bending the rules in their favor. Its not a winning strategy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who are these enemies of which you speak?

      Naive at best.

      Russia has an ongoing attack on the US elections. They have laws, but doctors get thrown from buildings for speaking out regardless. Turn on Fox and Friends and see Andriy Derkach's friend, chat about how Vladimir Putin's friend pardoned Konstantin Kilimnik's friend. Putin's killing US soldiers in Afghanistan too, presumably to give Trump a reason to exit Afghanistan the way he exits Syria after the Russian attack on US base in Deir Ezzor. Your "blatantly aggressive stance" comment ignores the reality of the situation.

      China is no better, that South China Seas island they built marks their ambition to control the countries around it. It's a flagpole at the center of the region Xi wants to claim as his. They have laws too, but dissenting party members get arrested for life by kangaroo political courts. They too represent a long term threat to peace. Sure Xi may be focused on trade and business now, but there are limits to that.

      The problem is there is no "them" to constructively engage. You are not engaging a society, you are engaging individuals. Putin, Xi, people hungry enough for power, to subvert the will of their own people, yet you think their hunger stops at their borders?

      It's naive.

      However, cold war warrior here is not correct either. Russia doesn't come with an army across a border, it comes with a aluminum smelting plant and and inexplicable amount of PAC lobby money for people who do its bidding. Xi will also soon learn over time just how cheaply individuals will sell out their country.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Who are these enemies of which you speak?

        Have a downvote for that depressive oppressive glass half empty opinion, AC. Life's a bitch and then you die is real downer, aint it. And I suppose and am assuming you don't see that you have that manifesting itself as a particularly peculiar pernicious problem which delivers one all manner of imaginary woes in phantom matters to engage and do vain battle with ..... alongside other souls similarly lost in overwhelmingly wonderless thoughts.

        I would like to say if it would help ..... Take the blue pill, if there is a choice and a red one too ..... but it is not nearly as simple as that, is it, ...... well, not yet anyway, that's for sure, and you may be destined to be permanently stuck in the crazed confines of dark and dismal imagination until there is a quite magical cure/absolutely wonderful proposition one wouldn't want to ignore and miss out on.

  13. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    New Weapons Needed for Ancient Shenanigans, General Sir Nick?

    What's the Advert in the Times and Telegraph to Be?*

    A stitch in time saves nine is something to consider heeding as appropriate in relation to all that is currently happening around everyone/everything ..... if the following is not to prove itself unavoidable and inevitable by virtue of both sub-prime militarised action and/or failing government inaction or vice versa, by sub-prime government action and/or failing military inaction, for all when present and true are possible and therefore highly likely the most probable instigator of what really are ancient shenanigans ....... now evolved and morphed into ExtraOrdinarily Revolutionary Greater IntelAIgent Games Plays ‽ .

    * Wanted Urgently. Master Tailors and Experienced Seamstresses for an Assortment of Weirdos and Misfits with Odd Skills.


    October 5, 2020 at 05:44 ........ sharing a view on

    Y'all may like to prepare yourselves, with a shift of the main explosive paramilitary action to the English mainland and towering City targets, for decades of further clones* of what was simply known and accepted and trialed in Ulster as "The Troubles".

    The System/Establishment/Parliament/Politically Incorrect Oligarchy/Magic Circle/Round Table Knights/call it and they what you will, [and that be only some of the home team players, for there are bound to be more too, and don't forget all of those foreigners having their own mirroring counterparts, also pulling at event laden strings] certainly appears determined to ignite that very particular and extremely effective Guy Fawkes firework which never ever goes away you know, for it always leaves behind its masterminds to reinvent it again and again and again ad infinitum, and mightily improved each and every time reviewed and renewed.

    Did the lessons of The Troubles, as taught to you by a motley crew of Ulster Volunteer Forces and Irish Republican Armies over an expansive half a century, not teach you anything at all about the result of oppression and suppression and how to avoid the painful consequences that accompany the suffering of the inevitable penalties in untimely gruesome death and catastrophic collateral damage.

    If you truthfully have to answer, ...... hmmm, we seem to appear to have actually learnt practically next to nothing ........ then one has to accept one is a retard with severe learning difficulties, destined and fated to be disabled/unenabled/unable to safely and securely function alone and unaided in any setting of one's choosing......... which is surely quite a horrendously hellish situation to choose if one makes that choice.

    Methinks that might confirm a certifiable madness and full metal jacket insanity, don't you?

    * ....... further clones being much more sophisticated phorms of almighty attack against which establishment forces have neither the 0day knowledge intelligence nor any effective defence capability. Things aint like they used to be, and to imagine that everything/anything can go back to way it was before all of these series of globally connected market meltdowns is risible, and puts one in grave danger because of all of the above.

    Take care out there. IT's an absolutely crazy jungle with all manner of phantom matter and virtually invincible foe to be comprehensively defeated by, if one is not inclined to be universally friendly and refreshingly accommodating nowadays.

  14. mhenriday

    Mr Carter's tribulatons

    China's new Strategic Support Force is designed to achieve dominance in the space and cyber domains.
    And thus disturbing the divine dispensation that the the liege lord in Washington should always enjoy «full spectrum dominance» ? Heaven forfend !... ;-)


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