back to article UK refreshes national security plan to stop more of China's secret-stealing cyber-tricks

Britain's domestic intelligence service MI5 will oversee a new agency tasked with helping organizations combat Chinese cyber-spies and other threats. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday announced the National Protective Security Authority (NPSA) as part of a refresh of the government's security strategy known as the " …

  1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Last Chance Saloon.... Is MI5* worthy of Special AIR Services Support?

    Britain's domestic intelligence service MI5 will oversee a new agency tasked with helping combat other threats

    Is that to be a TitanICQ AI Based Program, more Holywood Palace Barrack monitored than Hollywood Hills centred? Just asking ... because it can so easily be so in next to no time.

    Softly, softly, catchee monkey and wannabe lions led by braying donkeys ...... and quite a challenge for the MoD to pull off successfully, both effectively and stealthily ‽ .

    Obviously does any failure to grasp novel and rare raw opportunities naturally logically result in leading Special Advanced IntelAIgent Research Services migrating and developing and evolving somewhere elsewhere foreign and alien and more able to combat and incorporate and play nice with other present and future emerging threats/treats.

    * Well ..... what do you think of their likely partnershipping ability with regard to the protection or leading of anything extremely sensitive and way beyond top secret, for that is the money-shot question they will have to answer truthfully to themselves ‽ .

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A bit selective..

    Does this plan also shield against US spying or do we keep pretending that that's all OK because they're "friends", even after Brexit zapped UK's influence in Europe?

    Ah, wait, ECHELON's still in place. Given that the telcos have pushed everyone into using apps for communication by their high tariffs for international calls I'm guessing that lot is behind the moronic push for breaking encryption protocols. Yes, 'breaking' because encryption with a backdoor isn't encryption, it's a farce. It's equivalent to using XOR or at best DES.

    Anyway, good luck with this. I'm no fan of China but I can't help noticing we're all worse off by switching from collaboration and trading to blacklisting, and I cannot imagine that was unexpected.

    1. TheInstigator

      Re: A bit selective..

      It'll all be fine - the US and UK are on the same side - kind of like US and Germany? Hmm - maybe a bad example there

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: A bit selective..

        "the US and UK are on the same side". Well, sort of, in that the UK has made itself beholden to the USA. Time to apologise to the EU and ask for our toys to be put back in the pram.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A bit selective..

      you don't have to worry about US gov spying on you, they have more people on their list to arrest in the US than they have time to breath. If there was any, it would only be due to someone very malicious to even get their attention. They like to beat the dogs in their own home, yours are pretty safe.

      China, well, the more you know, the more you know they will take over the world. They watched the Spending/Cold war with glee I think, they are buying the world, until only those that don't sell are left. Check out the Jet and Drone factory they opened in Argentian,,, or should I say the Chinese province called Argentina. Nobody is allowed in to see it, funny that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A bit selective..

        US companies have been buying up key UK assets and technology for decades.

        You must be American since they don't do irony apparently.

        Even more so since the title of the section you responded to is "A bit selective..."

  3. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Encryption

    Hey Sunak! Know what would really make it difficult for Chinese spies to steal all of our secrets? Cancelling your ludicrous bill that bans encryption!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Encryption

      That's Sunak in ludicrous mode, surely?

      1. YetAnotherLocksmith Silver badge

        Re: Encryption

        He's a bit like a tesla in that respect - heading very, very fast towards possible destruction, despite clearly read warnings. Ludicrous man.

    2. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Encryption

      It's "Hey Rish!"

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Encouraging strong end-to-end encryption online would be helpful.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Using an OS that defaults to safe would be a good start.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Which goes against the government mantra of if you have nothing to hide... and wanting back-doors in "encryption".

      Apologies for resorting to use the term - the dunderheads will never accept that "encryption" with back-doors is not secure

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fortnums.....good for more than tea and cakes!!!!!

    Quote: "....a leading contributor to NATO...." surely a joke?

    .....with the propeller falling off our £5billion aircraft carrier......

    .....with all six (yup....all six) Type 45 destroyers in dock to replace the cooling system for their gas turbine engines.....

    Oh.......what do think will be the quality of the proposed submarines for Australia?

    But.....of course Babcocks have a large supply of Fortnums carrier bags......destined for various offices in Westminster................

    1. R Soul Silver badge

      Re: Fortnums.....good for more than tea and cakes!!!!!

      "Oh.......what do think will be the quality of the proposed submarines for Australia?"

      Who cares? Provided the Aussie's cheque clears of course.

    2. tip pc Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Fortnums.....good for more than tea and cakes!!!!!

      Far better quality than that French tat we used on our carriers.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Fortnums.....good for more than tea and cakes!!!!!

        Bless.

        Funny that the French and Chinese were paid to build our nuclear power plants as they have the tech and expertise.

    3. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Fortnums.....good for more than tea and cakes!!!!!

      Lot's of good shipyards in the PRC, where most ships are built nowadays. And for sophisticated high tech stuff the EU is best, or Nihon, and the PRC isn't far behind.

      "the proposed submarines for Australia?" France has a couple of good yards for those.

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge

    New agency = new administrative work = more red tape. That sounds costly and inefficient.

  7. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Joke

    'Yes, Minister'

    The refresh included the replacement of the UK's Conflict, Stability and Security Fund with an Integrated Security Fund that's funded to the tune of £1 billion to "deliver on the core objectives of the Integrated Review at home and around the world, including in economic and cyber security, counter terrorism and human rights."

    The Rt. Hon. James Hacker, MP: "But, Humphrey, what does it mean?"

    Sir Humphrey Appleby, Permanent Secretary: "It means, minister, that we've been caught with our pants down and are now trying to put out the fire without getting our bottom too wet."

    (BTW is NPSA an Agency or an Authority? Both are used in the article?)

  8. Freezus
    Black Helicopters

    NPSA or NCSC?

    The article and NPSA's own web page don't seem to explain how their mission brief differs from that of GCHQ's public-facing offshoot. Both seem to be geared towards hardening businesses and public institutions against attack, and more generally assessing risk.

    Any ideas, or are we going for the US approach of having a massive security bureaucracy with overlapping roles?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NPSA or NCSC?

      As I read it, the NPSA is actually (though not mentioned here!) a rebrand and expansion of the existing Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI). The NCSC is specifically focused on the cyber threats facing individuals/public services/companies, while the NPSA is intended to be anti-general threat, eg terrorism, state and corporate espionage.and threat minimisation. There is some crossover, but they both appear to be public authorities for MI5 and GCHQ, mirroring their own intelligence and work focuses. EG. Social Engineering attacks(akin to HUMINT) would be MI5-NPSA, whereas hacks might be akin to SIGINT and therefore GCHQ-NCSC.

      The UK National Authority for Counter-Eavesdropping is meant to be the equivalent for MI6 based on what I've read, but they don't do public campaigns as much as the prior two.

      As for whether we end up with overlapping roles, that'd be to some degree inevitable. Let's hope they don't fuck it up, for all of our sakes...

  9. fnusnu

    National Protective Security Agency

    Do they hand out condoms?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: National Protective Security Agency

      It'll be more important that they #wear# condoms and do their bit to improve the gene pool.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: National Protective Security Agency

      " Integrated Security Fund that's funded to the tune of £1 billion"

      that's an order of magnitude greater than recent government funding for research initiatives - they could have, with a straight face announced "£1 million".

      They can certainly afford to handout NPSA branded condoms. Guess that would be better than handing out "Trojan" branded condoms

  10. iron Silver badge

    I'd call MI5 for help with an IT security incident just before I called the FBI or NSA and right after hell freezes over.

    They can work for their access just like the Chinese spies they're so fond of complaining about.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Did It Ever Occur To You

      ...that there are plenty of threats conventional police cannot handle ?

      Police and military would be blind and deaf without secret reconnaissance and intelligence gathering.

      The only reason you can roam freely throughout your nation is that there exist security services who know the REALLY bad guys and can stop them before they slice your throat or drop a special grain of salt into your tea.

      Freedom does not come entirely free. It is based on security services with special skills.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Having Said That

        Obviously we must ensure the security services do not overreach and become the NKVD. For example, comint intercepts of proven innocent people should be discarded quickly. Storing intercepts forever definitely veers into KGB territory.

        1. TheInstigator

          Re: Having Said That

          They already have files on you that are kept forever - why not intercepts?

        2. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: Having Said That

          "we must ensure the security services do not overreach:" Bit late for that.

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Did It Ever Occur To You

        ....... that postmodern threats of today and tomorrow are so far removed from being conventional as to be absolutely terrifying for those they be aimed at, AC, and who would have no idea that they be legitimately targeted for especial customised business or personalised attention ....... with it being very likely, as you say, stealthily based on the freedoms delivered by security services with special skills.

        Things definitely aint the way they used to be, and the future is never gonna be like any current present is with command and control levers and executive administrative personnel stuck in the past trying to hold on to their riches and ill-gotten gains and phantom media led powers.

      3. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: Did It Ever Occur To You

        Go and look up the number of cases where innocent people have been sent to prison, based on the supposed expertise of these spooks.

      4. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: Did It Ever Occur To You

        Counterpoint: you do not defend freedom by limiting it.

      5. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: Did It Ever Occur To You

        "The only reason you can roam freely throughout your nation" Which country is that? In the USA they say ACAB and in the UK the rozzers aren't too popular either.

  11. VoiceOfTruth

    Meanwhile

    The same organisation gives unfettered access to the USA.

    It feeds itself. The USA is aware of all the peccadilloes or worse that the establishment get up to, then just mentions it in passing when it's time to talk about "security". In two seconds, Huawei becomes persona non grata while Cisco, full of security holes, gets a green light.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Tron Silver badge

    McCarthyism 2.0

    You can imagine how much time, energy and Yuan the CCP devote into hacking your local comprehensive.

    Can't wait until the Tory halfwits are out on their arses in 2024. Although by then they will have broken everything worth breaking.

    The only benefit of Westminster kissing Washington's arse and banning TikTok (as it did Huawei) is an entire generation of young people will hate the Tories with a passion, get up off their lazy, apathetic backsides and vote against them. We may even get some proper political demos on campuses as censoring our net crosses the line from nationalism to fascism.

    The Conservative Party, 1834-2024. Wound up after failing to win a single seat in the 2024 election, the morning after which saw spontaneous parties breaking out across Britain.

    1. TheInstigator

      Re: McCarthyism 2.0

      What I've never understood about the West, is why - when they haven't been able to find anything - why don't they just make something up?

      Iraq didn't have WMDs? Build an underground bunker and build some with Iraqi markings on it - no one will know the difference.

      Deep investigation into Huawei's code not found anything? Make something up and publicise it!

      TikTok not found to have any security holes? Make something up!

      If the narrative that you want doesn't exist ... make it up!

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: McCarthyism 2.0 ..... and the Rocky Road to Nowhere Pleasant nor Good

        Yes, TheInstigator, that is a perilous situation to be involved and instrumental in and have anyone publishing anything about it to deceive and steer opinion down a crooked path, for the just reward is always the same as delivered and suffered by The Boy Who Cried Wolf

        But for the fattest and most fantastic and fanatical of fools fond of feasting in fields of follies, no less than they deserve to have visited upon them at the most inconvenient of troubling times and in the most damaging of physical command and control places that be also virtually remote accessible spaces without any possible help or security protection from forceful defence sources.

        One has to conclude, in no uncertain or misleading terms, that both advanced intelligence and simple common sense are missing in such as prove themselves so ably to be foolish primitive beings.

      2. gandalfcn Silver badge

        Re: McCarthyism 2.0

        "If the narrative that you want doesn't exist ... make it up!": Which is how the GQP and Tories operate. It's fow IQ45 "won" inb 2016 and the3 GOP has functioned ever since,

        Their corruption perfectly exposed today by "G.O.P. leaders are declining to enforce a court-supervised settlement for Mazars, Donald J. Trump’s former accounting firm, to turn over records in an investigation into whether he profited from the presidency."

        And "Trump’s Truth Social reportedly kept afloat by $8 million of illicitly laundered Russian money with connections to Putin"

        1. YetAnotherLocksmith Silver badge

          Re: McCarthyism 2.0

          Exactly the same playbook in the USA and UK, too, right down to the time the tory con called for gun laws to be removed in the UK, same as they had just done in the USA, and someone rapidly realised the error and the idea was dropped. Everything else though, it's in LockStep, on command from Putin to the alt right to the GQP/"tory" Brexiters.

  13. Dropper

    Solid plan

    I believe the explanation is simple.

    Imagine all your data in the form of an egg.

    The plan is to carefully place all these eggs into a single, ultra-secure, out-sourced and off-shored container.

    Let's call that a basket.

    Now that all of your eggs are in one basket, nothing can go wrong.

  14. Vimes

    This might be a stupid question, but in general terms the NPSA seems to serve the same purpose as the NCSC. What would be the difference between them?

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