back to article GCHQ director outlines plan to 'go after' links between ransomware crims and state actors

The UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) boss Sir Jeremy Fleming has outlined a plan to pursue criminal actors who deploy ransomware as well as the state actors that are aware of their efforts. Speaking remotely to The Cipher Brief Annual Threat Conference on Monday, Fleming discussed the increasing threat of …

  1. MJI Silver badge

    Just go after all of them

    Not just state actors but the criminals as well.

    "Hello Hereford GCHQ here."

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Happy

      Hereford eh?

      So GCHQ have joined the SAS.

      Cheltenham Ladies College perhaps? They are from Gloucestershire.

  2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Persistent ACTive Cyber Threat Now Available for AI Treatments?

    Well, at least Mein Herr Fleming has realised the enigmatic conundrum to be heroically addressed, although whether such can/will ever be acceptably resolved to the specific satisfaction of whom he professes to represent with his remarks on the chance for "like-minded Western liberal nations to make sure that the technologies on which we all rely encompass our values, are secured by design, have been subject to the standards and regulations that we approve of, because we think that they do promote our prosperity and our values." is the gazillion dollar question always to be left sensibly unanswered ...... and especially so whenever/should any such nations be heavily invested in ensuring perverse continuity of previously outrageously advantageous self-serving abuse/systemic misuse.

    Defending the indefensible and inequitable always results in one being recognised, sooner or later inevitably, as the enemy and foe to be vanquished and disenfranchised ........ and to imagine that it cannot be recognised by advancing smarter systems administrators/trusted agents from within such abusive operations, and they will continue to accept and support it rather than aspire and/or conspire to defeat it, is a peerless 0day vulnerability for exploitation and export against which there is no effective defence/attack vector?

    And such is only natural and thus fully to be expected and enthusiastically encouraged rather than feared and opposed ‽ .

    1. Peter D

      Re: The Persistent ACTive Cyber Threat Now Available for AI Treatments?

      I hate AI babble.

  3. IGotOut Silver badge

    Reading between the lines.

    "... have procured capabilities in a perfectly legitimate way globally and have won the trade battle because the products have been pretty good"

    Is this a roundabout way of saying there was, as most suspected, no real threat from Huawei?

    1. Blazde Silver badge

      Re: Reading between the lines.

      Considering the speaker I think we can be pretty confident it isn't.

      He's saying Huawei is a threat *because* China won the 5G trade battle in a perfectly legitimate way.

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Asleep

    So the ransomware has been around for at least two decades.

    The aspect that is not talked about is that corporations skimp on security, they are into ticking the boxes rather than actually improving security.

    Now they are expecting to be bailed out by the tax payer.

    It's like leaving your house open and then asking Police to keep an eye on it, because it is being constantly burglarised.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Asleep - strange word

      What is burglarised?

      Never heard it used before.

      Is it like burgled?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Asleep - strange word

        "burglarised" is common on Twitter and Facebook.

        1. TimMaher Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Twitter and Facebook

          Yup.

          “Burglarising” is what they do to your personal data.

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Asleep - strange word

          >> "burglarised" is common on Twitter and Facebook.

          As I avoid them no wonder I have not come across this word

          1. Ace2

            Re: Asleep - strange word

            Commonly used in the US. Well, “burglarized.”

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Asleep - strange word

        Its the problem with two similar languages -- here in the US you here words like "burgularize" and you'll get blank looks if you mention the word "housebreaking". (Pop quzi time -- do any readers know the difference between housebreaking and burgulary?)

        Roll with it. We all watch too many American TV shows so we should know the lingo.

        1. Ace2

          Re: Asleep - strange word

          Funny. The SO and I watch more British murder mysteries than anything else.

  5. _LC_ Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    This is the mob

    This is the mob telling you that they will go after the mob.

  6. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Totally lacking in substance

    I think we already knew that baddies do bad things. The rest is just hand-waving

  7. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "it's not rocket science to defend against this sort of stuff."

    Never has been rocket science. The big problem is a combination of complacency and convenience.

    It's so convenient to allow SMB and remote desktop across the firewall, let everyone browse with unfettered scripting, run a flat network with AD as the only segregation mechanism (or in the case of Equifax, leave a file of clear text server credentials on the network) that nobody stops to think about the possible consequences.

    On several assignments I've had to fight to make them put documents such as pen test reports and firewall rule listings in a secure area. Mostly they've just been 'somewhere' on sharepoint.

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    April Fools in October ...... Who'd have a'thunk it?

    And whoever thought this a good idea for Presumed Secure and Secret Intelligence Services paid to ensure National Security? ....... https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/oct/26/amazon-web-services-aws-contract-data-mi5-mi6-gchq

  9. steelpillow Silver badge
    Boffin

    The long and winding road

    Good for GCHQ. Fleming is spot-on, this is a great Step One. But we need more. GCHQ can influence the government by publicly spotlighting the goal posts Boris is so good at missing - a calculated and revolutionary sea change from the obsessive secrecy of the First Age of Sigint.

    But industry doesn't give a toss about their customer's data security. What they do care about is their insurance premiums. So Step Two must be to pass laws requiring adequate security, along with Third Party insurance, on the information superhighway, just as vehicles must be safe by design, and insured, on the asphalt superhighways. Then watch the insurance premiums do the rest for you. Simples!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    The Cipher Brief Annual Threat Conference

    Somehow, I have always thought of GCHQ and their creepy authoritarian friends as the major threat.

    Maybe in the same vein, next year the conference can get some ransomware gang leaders to come along to speak about the threat posed by IoT attacks.

  11. HildyJ Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Boiling it down

    In the end, for all countries, including Five Eyes, Russia, and China (and all the lesser players), the starting point is that our state actors are good and other state actors are bad.

    I predict that nothing will come of this, other than bigger budget requests for GCHQ and the other actors.

  12. BenDwire Silver badge
    Holmes

    "We know that if you do fairly basic cyber security ... then you're going to protect yourselves

    But even basic cyber security costs money, and until the bosses & bean-counters understand the need to finance IT properly then nothing will change. Make it a criminal offence to pay a ransomware demand, outlaw insurance policies that offer that, and make the case for proper IT funding instead. Maybe even outsource less and keep security in-house?

    Ok, dreaming over. Back on your heads.

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