back to article The Roaring Twenties: Future foreign policy will rely on rejuvenated 'cyber' sector, UK government claims

The British government has published its Integrated Review into defence and security policy – and though you'll like it if you're in the UK infosec industry, threats of nuking North Korea in revenge for WannaCry are very wide of the mark. While the Cyber-Integrated Cyber-Review of Cyber-Security, Cyber-Defence, Cyber- …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    What I glean from the article, is that the UK.gov is thirty years late (or more) in recognising the importance of things cyber and may still not know what the word actually encompasses.

    The other thing I gleaned is that your mum's basement is probaby not deep enough to protect you from the wrath of the UK if you upset their cyberlords.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      It takes time for these changes to happen in the security services.

      Firstly somebody who understands cyber has to rise to the rank of senior tutor and then they have to wait for a new student intake of young conservative homosexuals who they can recruit for the opposition, and then you need a couple more generations to realise that the old boy was working for the other side and to root out all their recruits, who are now all heads of your new cyber force.

      It's entirely likely that some branches of MI5 are still fighting the peninsular war - probably on the side of Napoleon

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: It used to take time for these changes to happen in the security services.

        Nowadays though, they be practically wrought virtually overnight.

        Quite so, Yet Another Anonymous coward, such aptly describes the hamstringing which nobbles and hobbles more than just a chosen few and wannabe intelligence and security services most effectively, hence the course of medicine prescribed and earlier described here on El Reg ...... https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2021/03/18/ukgov_integrated_review_cyber/#c_4223941

        And while it might be a cold comfort to think that a government be able to make the right choices and provide the correct activities in order to ensure that the future is secured and headed in a safe direction with changed leading drivers/new almighty advanced attractive protocols, the Gods’ honest gospel truth in such a matter, and it be both counter-productive and self-destructive to doggedly persistently unwisely disagree and actively oppose such an incendiary conclusion and revolutionary opinion, is that salvations will necessarily need to be provided by individual beings more fully totally intellectually invested in the virtual practicalities intelligently designed to overcome the physical impossibilities of the sectors failing to embrace a rapidly evolving SMARTR Space Place with Multitudes of Live Operational Virtual Environments in which to Work, Rest and Play. Survive and Prosper. Exist and Grow.

        And yes, that does inescapably render such works as being tantamount to the Genesis of a Brave New World Order at the behest of unrecognised individuals and beings clearly widely and generally formerly totally unknown. The persistent prevalence of the continuity of that relative anonymity for both new state and novel non-state actors in the future is the zero-sum cost and prime premium price to be paid for failsafe guarantee of overwhelming success in all Operational AIDVentures …. Advanced IntelAIgently Designed Ventures …… is the stealth they provide to grant immunity and impunity for activities.

        Do you know of any other practical alternative which offers a better immediately available solution ?

        Quite whether the patient requiring such treatment is too feeble or too stupid, too befuddled and bewildered to be worth saving or whether 'tis best to aid their rapid assisted passing and provide blessed relief and release to the family of their pain, is the money shot gazillion dollar question for answering. And the one being posed here.

        What do you think El Regers/you would decide? Some radical treatment which may be totally wasted on a disease ravaged shell and only prolong the patient's agony and which would certainly be easily classified as both clinical misuse and psychological abuse, or its successful therapeutic use elsewhere where it has every chance to succeed and effectively treat and cure suitable cases for treatment and saving?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: It used to take time for these changes to happen in the security services.

          The first step is to allow speccy-nerds into the Bullingdon club

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: It used to take time for these changes to happen in the security services.

            The first step is to allow speccy-nerds into the Bullingdon club ...... Yet Another Anonymous coward

            Whenever it is so simple, one does have to wonder at the collective intelligence of the club and its members and patrons and camp followers, happy hookers and expensive escorts whenever they fail so miserably to succeed in the task.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kind of bad news for all of us really - when we realise that the 'sophisticated state sponsored attack' was actually a misconfigured email out of office message set up by a retired accountant in Eastbourne, just after the subs launched their hack seeking missiles of atomic doom. Still, every cloud....would definitely improve Eastbourne,

    1. Blazde Silver badge

      The Zoom call to Downing Street dropped and the emergency WinXP laptop with landline numbers on it has been ransomwared, initiate Plan R.

  3. Christoph
    Mushroom

    Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

    "Britain could use nuclear weapons against a state that threatens to inflict a devastating cyber or biological attack,"

    The only place for someone who seriously contemplates that is a padded cell.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

      Haven't you noticed? They're in charge

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

      Doesn't matter anyway. Tridents don't go anywhere without sign off from the US and an order of that magnitude would naturally have to go right to the top.

      1. Citizen of Nowhere

        Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

        So it would definitely matter who was right at the top in the US, then. We have quite recent evidence that citizens of the US will vote in large numbers for individuals who cannot really be described as cautious, evidence-driven and well balanced. Might matter after all ;-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

      Indeed.

      It is very disturbing to hear talk of nukes being mentioned so casually as if Mutually assured destruction is no longer a thing.

      Also, everyone knows that attribution in a "cyber" attack is almost next to immpossible.

      (except to politicians apperently)

      And even if there were some strong ties to a particular advissary or country, who's to say it was state sponsored or just some rogue patriots or common criminals?

      Would Israel be nuked because of the criminals from NSO group sold malware to some despot?

      Tighten security and stop trying to make things easier for the "bad Guys™" by breaking encryption or mandating backdoors first and foremost.

      1. FlamingDeath Silver badge

        Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

        “Attribution”

        Indestructible passports

    4. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

      Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

      So what would your solution be to the situation whereby the UK was threatened with being attacked by biological attack?

      We're currently living through the effects of Covid - a relatively minor disease (relatively - compared to what might be used as a biological warfare agent). We have a death-with-covid figure well north of 100,000 (ok, all sorts of issues with that figure, but including those that died because of covid and those that died or will die because of the response to covid, the order of magnitude is probably about right). It's devastated the economy.

      And that's a non-targeted 'attack' (no, I don't consider it an intentional act) using a minor disease.

      The UK's nukes are referred to as the nuclear deterrent. That doesn't (just) mean a deterrent to other people's nukes, it means they are nukes, and they are owned by the UK to function as a deterrent.

      They are also proportional - there is no expectation that they would deter terrorist attack or the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands, because there would be no valid target / they would be disproportionate. No one would believe the UK would use them in such a case, so they would not deter.

      They deter strategic level attack. Originally: Nuclear, biological, chemical. Radiological crept into that list some years ago. As societies become more reliant on integrated IT throughout every aspect of life, there is a move to viewing 'cyber attacks' also as attacks by weapons of mass destruction. The quote says it itself "devastating cyber attack". Britain is a relatively warm place really, compared to some, but if the national grid was knocked off line for a week in the middle of winter, that could easily be tens of thousands of dead.

      The UK's policy is to deter strategic attacks (inevitably meaning by state level actors) using the threat of nuclear retaliation.

      It doesn't matter if the threat of attack is nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons or radiological 'dirty bombs', the UK response is that if you hit the UK with a mass-destruction attack, we have the capability and the will to respond on an equally devastating level.

      So no, you are absolutely wrong.

      When faced by threats, de-escalate, Talk, try to compromise, try to find a peaceful solution.

      But retain the capability to defend yourself, and make it clear to any potential aggressor that they cannot attack you without consequences.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

        >So what would your solution be to the situation whereby the UK was threatened with being attacked by biological attack?

        Where have you been?

        Remember the Cuban missle crisis, Novichok?

        If things get to that stage, expect players to act and deny, rather than strut their stuff.

        1. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

          Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

          >Remember the Cuban missle crisis,

          No. Wasn't born then. I have heard of it. Caused by the Soviet leader being unhappy that the US president could nuke his holiday resort and wanting to be in a position to return the favour. Big international incident. Very dangerous situation. Resolved by talking, and mutual agreement to withdraw the relevant nuclear weapons (from Cuba and from Turkey). It's reasonable to posit that the US would not have pulled the nuke missiles from Turkey if the Soviets hadn't been ready to deploy nukes to Cuba. Which rather proves the point of strategic deterrence.

          >Novichok?

          Yup, do remember that one.

          Small scale deployment of chemical warfare agent against a specific target in the UK that resulted in the death of a civilian (not actually the target), severe (life threatening) injury to others, and much localised disruption.

          While it was a 'weapon of mass destruction', the nature of its use was countered by a proportionate response - a unified response from 'the liberal democracies' practically unheard off, including large scale expulsions of Soviet diplomatic personnel from multiple countries.

          Also demonstrated that nation state actors can and will deploy weapons of mass destruction against civilian targets, and, perhaps more relevantly, with complete disregard form 'collateral damage' to civilian targets, proving that the potential threat of Nuclear/biological/chemical/radiological(/cyber?) mass destruction attack is credible: if chemical weapons will be deployed imprecisely to kill one person that is a personal annoyance to the president, how much further would they be prepared to go if the UK as a whole was blocking their aims?

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

            > Caused by the Soviet leader being unhappy that the US president could nuke his holiday resort and wanting to be in a position to return the favour.

            Yes, exactly, the Soviets didn't strut around, they acted (by despatching missiles to Cuba) and left it up to the West to respond...

            >Small scale deployment of chemical warfare agent against a specific target in the UK

            Once again, no strutting, action was taken in the UK by Russians with links to the government, leaving the UK to respond...

            I could add to this list:

            Pearl Harbour... Japan didn't warn the US it was going to attack, it just did it.

            I'm not arguing here that the MAD deterrence hasn't worked and won't continue to work, just that the evidence is: it is unlikely that you will get any real advanced warning (ie. threats being made), before your adversary has acted.

            1. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

              Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

              >it is unlikely that you will get any real advanced warning

              That implies that you think a state-level actor could and would launch a devastating attack on the UK without warning or any level of heightened tension (even Pearl Harbor was after rising tensions). That seems unlikely to me.

              The more probable situation is rising tension between the UK and 'the other power', leading to the UK being on heightened alert for any form of aggression, That would include (hopefully) increased security on any area of vulnerability (e.g. "disconnecting power stations from the internet", as I think someone suggested, or more likely at least tightening access).

              This would make such an attack less likely to exceed (the target is ready for...something) and more likely that the attacked be identified. The attacker now has to weight the consequences of such an attack.

              Most nations / people won't even be considering launching a WMD-level attack against UK. The one's that are may not be too worried if the attack fails and/or they are identified.

              If the attack fails, then the UK response is proportionate to the damage done and may even be just diplomatic (sanctions etc), which probably won't bother the attacker that much.

              But if the attack succeeds (remember- WMD level attack..this is 10,000s or 100,000s or millions of UK citizens deliberately targeted), the attacker has to face the possibility that the UK responds with a nuclear strike.

              And that doesn't need to be on a city: target the key military and fleet bases, the oil refineries, the nuclear power stations. Not without civilian casualties (which the UK would probably worry about more than whatever regime initiated the WMD exchange in the first place), but it undermines the power of the leadership. Which probably would worry whatever regime initiated the WMD exchange. Which makes starting it seem that much less attractive (deterrence).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

        And here lies the insanity. It's not going to go down that some aggressor country is going to send our ambassador an ultimatum, tied up in ribbons with a wax seal saying '24 hours to hand over all Mary Berry's secret cake ingredients or we will off the lights". But your proportionate response is going to be to threaten to murder millions in a particularly horrible way? And you 'know' who did it - no false flag operations. And you 'know' that they aren't going to say, OK - we lose Tehran - you lose London?

        I get Nuke for Nuke (its basically a sick and perverted idea, but understandable. But hyping up other threats to nuclear level is just mad posturing. As you say noone would ever believe that nuclear retaliation would ever be the response to anything below an all out massive attack by a state in a declared act of war. FFS - spend the money doing something rational, idk, maybe spend it disconnecting power stations from the public internet? I expect that would cost half a Trident and actually create useful IT employment.

      3. Allan George Dyer

        Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

        @EvilDrSmith - "So what would your solution be to the situation whereby the UK was threatened with being attacked by biological attack?"

        Wear a mask?

        Seriously, thank you for eloquently laying out the argument for nuclear as a deterrent against strategic threats, it really makes me think about its inadequacies. It's difficult to see a biological attack as a strategic threat: diseases are difficult to control, how does the attacker make sure they don't harm themselves? Supposing an attacker did manage to cause 100,000 deaths spread across your country, it would be really easy to look like the bad guys if your Health Minister stands up and say, "In response, we are nuking a small city in country X, where we totally know it was developed." The same for a cyber attack knocking the national grid offline for a week in winter. As you say for the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands, "no valid target / they would be disproportionate", so therefore no deterrence.

        The answer I would propose is to strengthen *defences* against biological and cyber attacks: funding the health service, emergency planning and educating the public about preventative measures (e.g. masks) works just as well against natural pandemics as artificial diseases; proper infosec planning and user education work against criminals and nation-state APTs. But that would be hard work, and not as sexy as a nuke.

        1. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

          Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

          You follow "wear a mask" with "Seriously".

          Hmm.

          Biological warfare is generally viewed as a 2-edged sword, and I think the UK's attitude to it has been 'we're not going to try and have an offensive capability, but will maintain a defensive capability (i.e the medical capability to identify agents used and treat/cure the victims)' since the anthrax experiment back in WW2. But as such, the UK attitude to a biological attack is that it is a WMD and therefore the UK reserves the right to respond in kind (with WMD). The idea that a biological attack on UK triggers a nuclear response isn't actually new.

          Deterrence works. To work, the ability to respond has to be sufficiently powerful to deter, and the attacker has to believe that the target's response is credible, so proportionate and that the target has the will to use force.

          Deterrence worked in the Falkland's War of the late 1970's because the war didn't happen: the Argentinian threats and raised military state were countered by the deployment of Royal Navy assets, and the Argentinians backed down.

          In 1982, the UK response was to announce the scrapping of the guardship and almost every asset it needed to liberate the islands. The Argentinian Junta did not believe the UK had the will to use force to defend its territory, so was not deterred.

          In the 1960's Iraqi prepared to invade Kuwait. The UK govnt took the threat seriously and deployed a smallish military force to Kuwait. Insufficient to defend Kuwait on it's own, it demonstrated the resolve to deploy further military if needed. The Iraqi's backed down: they were deterred.

          In 1990, the US Govt response to the same situation was to shrug it's shoulders. The Iraqis didn't believe that action would be used against them, so were not deterred (what value a battalion of US airborne flown into Kuwait City before the invasion, to make the Iraqi's realise that the US had the will to defend/liberate Kuwait?).

          As for strengthening defences - well yes, obviously. You may have house insurance, but you still want to lock the back door.

          1. Allan George Dyer

            Re: Let's start a nuclear ware in a spiteful tantrum

            @EvilDrSmith - 'You follow "wear a mask" with "Seriously".

            Hmm.'

            Well, I was being a bit flippant - masks aren't the complete answer, and I was following up with more detail. As I tried to mention later, simple public health measures, including masks, have been shown to be very effective at reducing the spread of a new disease. Sorry if this didn't come across well.

            "The idea that a biological attack on UK triggers a nuclear response isn't actually new." - It might not be new, but it still doesn't sound reasonable. There is a certain proportionality in firing off your nuke in response to a nuke - and you've got the radar data for valid attribution. But for a supposed biological attack... that develops over days or weeks, and the search for the source takes longer, with uncertainty in the attribution. You wouldn't want to be the Minister saying, "Really sorry about that nuke, we thought X had hit us with a biological WMD, but it was just a new 'flu variant."

            "Deterrence works." But, in all your examples, not nuclear deterrence. It's back to your "no valid target / they would be disproportionate" limits on the deterrence value of a nuke.

            "You may have house insurance, but you still want to lock the back door." - Nukes aren't like house insurance, they're more like stockpiling Molotov cocktails to retaliate against your arsonist next door. If you spend too much on Molotov cocktails, you can't afford* the window locks and hinge bolts.

            (* - for illustrative purposes only, I haven't checked the relative prices of petrol, hinge bolts or anything else)

  4. Mike 137 Silver badge

    We will adopt a comprehensive cyber strategy to maintain the UK's competitive edge ...

    The top of the list in the strategy could usefully be to beef up on information risk assessment, which is still conducted around the globe by crystal ball gazing because nobody either understands the basic principles of probability or is prepared to investigate what actually happens. Instead they sit around at committee meetings and guess. Even international standards advocate guesswork rather than research because research "can take a lot of time". Consequently, the results of almost all information security and cyber security risk assessments are random nonsense. Fix this and we might make some progress towards achieving real security, via proactive resilience rather than merely reactive knee jerk response.

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: We will adopt a comprehensive cyber strategy to maintain the UK's competitive edge ...

      And then sell it (like ARM) to a foreign bidder.

      The UK invented LCDs, microwave ovens, steam turbines, jet engines (also a German invention, see Me 262) and probably loads of other things that those cunning foreigners have gone on to make billions from. How does HMG expect to stop the same thing happening over and over again?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We will adopt a comprehensive cyber strategy to maintain the UK's competitive edge ...

        “ And then sell it (like ARM) to a foreign bidder.‘

        I certainly hope so, In the current climate that’s looking like my best chance of actually realising some value from certain share options I hold before I retire...

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: We will adopt a comprehensive cyber strategy to maintain the UK's competitive edge ...

        > How does HMG expect to stop the same thing happening over and over again?

        By cracking down on new inventions by destroying manufacturing industry and university research

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Nukes are an obsolete threat

    The only country that ever got away with it is the USA and the only reason they got away with it is because everyone was sick of war and they hand-waved a half-reasonable argument that everyone accepted.

    Today, a country that launches a nuke on another country, whatever the reason, is going to see itself placed under a ban from Humanity (best case scenario), or be the start of a global thermonuclear war that will erase life on the surface of the planet (worst case scenario).

    If you're dead, it doesn't matter if you won or lost.

    1. Blazde Silver badge

      Re: Nukes are an obsolete threat

      I'm not so sure about that. I expect if they're used in a limited way they could easily be accompanied by a lot of subterfuge surrounding who gave the order (it certainly won't have been the Crown Prince himself, if you get me). Lessons will be learned, scapegoats found and imprisoned or exiled, ministers resign, maybe an election, but ultimately the state itself could get away with it especially if it agreed to become a non-nuclear power (for now). After all you can't hold the civilian population nor subsequent unrelated governments responsible forever for the actions of a hawkish administration in the past.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Nukes are an obsolete threat

        There is a theory that, as the Japanese were already attempting to sue for peace, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were really an example to the Soviet Union that the Western Allies had the capability and were prepared to use them in the event that the Soviets decided to advance further into Western Europe.

        Were the USA or a major economic power to use a nuclear weapon against an economically minor, non-nuclear , power, there would be great shock, but if it was used only once, I suspect they might just be able to tough it out. After all, Russia has invaded Ossetia, and the Crimea and those responsible remain in power. Realpolitik is a dirty game.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nukes are an obsolete threat

        Well it seems all today's problems in the UK can be blamed on Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, so you can blame an unrelated government for quite a while....

        1. Blazde Silver badge

          Re: Nukes are an obsolete threat

          We're yet to to have a Prime Minister who didn't explicitly vote for the Iraq war, so we can continue to blame the current administration for that at least. Quite extraordinary considering how long ago it was, how unpopular it became, and how badly it damaged the UK's reputation overseas.

          https://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2003-03-18&number=118&display=allpossible&sort=vote

          (Clegg would presumably have voted against if he was an MP at the time, but of course was merely a deputy)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: Nukes are an obsolete threat

      They are only obsolete if the other side hasn't got any.

      Spot the difference in how North Korea gets treated by the United States compared to Iran or Saddam's Iraq. Ukraine is doubtless kicking itself for giving theirs up - I really can't see that happening again.

      As for that "ban from Humanity", they used to say that about chemical weapons.

  6. hammarbtyp

    Offence vs Defence

    Problem with an emphasis on offensive cyber capability is that the tools you utilise are easily stolen and used against you. It also means there is tendency to hoard vulnerabilities, rather than address them, in the hope that at some point you can weaponise them. This results in a lack of defensive capability.

    And that is a big issue in the west where we increasingly rely on sophisticated automation and structures to do pretty well everything, while the rest of the world is far less susceptible to attack since it tends to have at best a mixture of manual and automation. As someone said, the Wests infrastructure is far harder to attack, but once the defences are breached, an attack can be far more destructive and harder to recover from.

    So this is a pretty stupid policy, only designed to pander to the Britain 1st brigade. The only plus point is it will probably end up like most of UK long terms industrial strategies, a footnote in some historical economists dissertation

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Offence vs Defence

      Yes, it's fortunate that de Pfeffel hasn't yet learnt that politics <> journalism, and that you actually have to make stuff happen, not just give a speech and tick it off your to do list. (See test and trace, Irish border, etc. ab nauseaum)

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Offence vs Defence

      Here is the latter one of two posts to a National Defence Magazine, which are still yet to appear there, advising them of that which you have concluded here, hammarbtyp.

      :-) One can but only try to help, but if you lead a dumb ass or sick elephant to water and it doesn't want to drink the cool aid, there is not much that one can do to right them whenever they be so wrong. The wisest of clearly smart answer is simply to abandon them to their chosen fate?

      GrahamC [2103180725] ........ spreading some good new news on https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2021/3/18/government-should-invest-in-post-moore-chip-tech

      Hi, Doc,

      I wholeheartedly agree with your certainly disturbing for US hegemony analysis. Such is inevitable.

      And while it might be a cold comfort to think that a government be able to make the right choices and provide the correct activities in order to ensure that the future is secured and headed in a safe direction with changed leading drivers/new almighty advanced attractive protocols, the Gods' honest gospel truth in such a matter, and it be both counter-productive and self-destructive to doggedly persistently unwisely disagree and actively oppose such an incendiary conclusion and revolutionary opinion, is that salvations will necessarily need to be provided by individual beings more fully totally intellectually invested in the virtual practicalities intelligently designed to overcome the physical impossibilities of the sectors failing to embrace a rapidly evolving SMARTR Space Place with Multitudes of Live Operational Virtual Environments in which to Work, Rest and Play. Survive and Prosper. Exist and Grow.

      And yes, that does inescapably render such works as being tantamount to the Genesis of a Brave New World Order at the behest of unrecognised individuals and beings clearly widely and generally formerly totally unknown. The persistent prevalence of the continuity of that relative anonymity for both new state and novel non-state actors in the future is the zero-sum cost and prime premium price to be paid for failsafe guarantee of overwhelming success in all Operational AIDVentures .... Advanced IntelAIgently Designed Ventures ...... is the stealth they provide to grant immunity and impunity for activities.

      Do you know of any other practical alternative which offers a better immediately available solution ?

      The first one which is possibly even more informative will follow on from here shortly, to give all something really tasty and real testy to ruminate on over the weekend.

    3. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Offence vs Defence

      "Problem with an emphasis on offensive cyber capability is that the tools you utilise are easily stolen and used against you."

      Another problem with offensive response in general is that it results in escalation. Adversaries only use the tools they need, but (as humans have failed to learn in almost 2M years) retaliation results in arms races as each side tries to gain an 'edge'.

      Quite apart from which, the 'cyber threat' problem is essentially that targets are typically ludicrously easy to breach, and a high proportion of the cause is not weak technologies but grossly ineffectual management.

      Consider the Equifax incident, where management processes were so inadequate that they could not tell whether they were vulnerable or even for ages whether they were actually under attack. Nor were basic security principles followed. Their patching was massively behind schedule, they didn't have a complete inventory, and they allowed credentials for critical infrastructure to be held in clear on that infrastructure.

      I wonder why getting these basics right never seems to be mentioned in 'cyber security strategies'.

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Hmmm ....

    "Britain could use nuclear weapons against a state that threatens to inflict a devastating cyber or biological attack," reported The Times"

    And whenever that attack originates/originated from a UK base? I suppose then everything would be quite different ergo that threat is just so much more of the usual Parliamentary bollocks?

    Has somebody spiked the Westminster water supply?

  8. Binraider

    One word. FUNDING.

    Where is it? Otherwise it's just more hyperbole.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. coddachubb

    'Mutually assured deletion' is an easy-sell strategy that can be easily comprehended by most carbon-based lifeforms, especially those at the top of Maslow's pyramid.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    optional - available at premium sub scription

    "...Ah, insults are the usual reward for a good job!’ replied Azazello. ‘Are you blind? Well, quickly recover your sight!..."

    M&M

  12. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Heading towards AI Singularities

    The Roaring Twenties: Future foreign policy will rely on rejuvenated 'cyber' sector, UK government claims

    Does that suggest that Google FanatICQs are invited to tender for special services to UK government cyber sectors with Virtualised AI Facilities ..... of Almighty Utility if one recognises it as Universally Available Systems Rejuvenant with Future Abilities to Share, Lend and/or Lease, for the following appears to be exactly the kind of operation Future foreign policy agents would find perfect to engage and employ, deploy and enjoy and provide with Immaculate Supply.

    One imagines that given the eponymous business that Google is already long ago JEDI type master in, they would be more that likely to be racing way out ahead and leaving the likes of an AWS and Azure eating their shorts and trailing way behind them floundering and foundering in their wake, with something brand spanking new to excite and rejuvenate bankrupt and jaded market places and virtual spaces. It is not as if they don’t really know what every wants and is looking for, …. nor that they aren’t able to deliver it in next to no time at all too, is it? ...... AI and IT .... Finally Getting its ACTs Together to Deliver Leading Future Goods

    :-) N0 10 would do well to ensure Dominic Cummings casts his thoughts over that, for it certainly has a familiar ring to the tone of his own shared words/string of possible practical ideas.

    1. Tail Up

      Re: Heading towards AI Singularities

      Just.. ughm... sometimes somewhere in the world, tthere must be, at least, a drop of a common sense, ready for newtonization. Probably, in this exact timing, it's situated up here. May I have a pint, drop by drop, I can wait.

      And - oh, One more Lord. A Cycle Registered.

      "Hack your net on the fly. With Lord almighty." - P#65, ComSec, 2008 / -rm'd

      DM - World In My Eyes

      https://youtu.be/A1YYRghvgvY

      /No connotations. Just Cicada RMX

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Heading towards AI Singularities

        There are certainly surely vast fields of common sense up here, Tail Up, and all are most welcome to partake of the finest of its most refined addictive attractions/must have morsels.

        And this first of two posts which appear to have failed developed vetting tests/editorial moderation protocols exercised by a National Defence Magazine, and which was alluded to earlier whenever sharing the second one with El Reg on this very thread, surely contains much to be thoroughly enthused about, given what it claims to be able to so easily enable deliveries of ..... and all without the apparent need of status quo elements presuming lead and assuming they can lead with it themselves ...... which is surely another nice change given the current expanding dire straits state of COSMIC* affair on Earth resultant from their past collective leads. I Kid U Not.

        Come on, El Reg, look lively and get your ACT together. There's a hell of a lot of dark secrets and heavenly delights to report and deny all knowledge on out there should one be at all interested in exercising fundamental radical changes to already failed and rapidly failing systems of perverse and corrupt elite executive office administration.

        GrahamC [2103171954] …… just saying out loud on https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2021/3/16/commission-ai-dominance-requires-bold-action

        Yasmin, Hi,

        Here’s a “Houston, we have a problem” moment for you, ideally for you to share with everybody in its posting as a comment on your very informative article.

        Although quite UKGBNI centric [United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland], the two posts that you can read on this page …… https://ur2die4.com/uncategorized/210316/ …. [“AI and IT …. Finally Getting its ACTs Together to Deliver Leading Future Goods” and “More Saucy Source for both Geese and Gander“] would clearly advise those who might like to believe the Western Alliances of NATO and the Five Eyes have any sort of global lead in a Dominant AI Field, that such a belief is all too easily proven to be dangerously deluded, and thus will it certainly inevitably be, if not corrected, catastrophically self-destructive and quickly self-defeating, as those systems which and/or those who may actually be master pilot aces in the genre, and far out way ahead in front of their peers and contemporaries in what is definitely an altogether quite novel command and control field, appear out of the ether/blue skies thinking to engage with them or attack them to highlight their systemic vulnerabilities.

        This is best considered and accepted as an initial prime invitation from such peers to positively engage with such an advanced competition, which can itself morph into an almighty opposition providing massive chaos and colossal distress should it be necessary, in order to render the problems discovered and uncovered, invalid and impotent, with an ideally radical change of fundamental direction delivering an attractive self-sustaining creative fix.

        A Win-Win AI Resolution entertaining a New Base Foundation with NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT Systems Communicating Quantum Leaps ….. Networks Internet Networking JOINT* Applications. … NINJApps

        * … Joint Operations Internetworking Novel Technologies

        There a lot going on way out there, and you aren’t being told anything meaningful about it, even though it is causing a chosen few with an inkling to know of such things, a great deal of terrifying concern because of what they rightly might be imagining AI and IT can all too easily do, without them being able to do anything effective and timely to stop it doing whatever it wants, should they choose not to either acknowledge or engage with it.

        * ..... COSMIC is an abbreviation for "Control Of Secret Material in an International Command"

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Heading towards AI Singularities via the Noble Prize of Free Enterprise*

          A little something different to transport and plant to take root and flourish and outgrow atypical Skolkovo Innovation Centres and type DARPA Operations or even novel UKGBNI like ARIAs to name but a trio of spooky rich environments, astride and Eastward and Westward of the Greenwich Meridian, Tail Up ‽ .

          There is surely an embarrassment of riches of such places to consider as worthy where one would be welcomed to donate one's exciting wares for prime home enjoyment and alien deployment and premium foreign employment ...... although failing the presence of necessary intelligence and drive in such established centres of strange and obscure excellence, there is always the much favoured and deliciously sweet and savoury renegade rogue freewheeling and secret dealing freelancer route not at all unlike but completely different and quite separate from a Silk Road root and reboot.

          * :-) and Nobel Prize for Free Enterprise :-) ? Have stranger things happened?

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