back to article Stifling Beijing in cyberspace is now British intelligence’s number-one mission

Regular attendees of CYBERUK, the annual conference hosted by British intelligence unit the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), will know that in addition to the expected conference panels, there is usually an interwoven theme to proceedings. Last year the tech-security operatives' event revolved around "securing an open …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Number one

    I think the number one thing standing in the way is the remuneration figure for the people who are supposed to do the mission.

    1. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: Number one

      What are you talking about? £50k and a daily commute into an open "bring your own space" plan office should be more than good enough.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Number one

        I mean if you leave an hour early you can do some begging on the way, one of the plusses of commute. Some people make a second salary from tourists.

        I heard Russians and Chinese tip the most, especially if you tell them "anecdotes" from work.

  2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    The current 13:45 program or BBC Radio 4 is about China, https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m001z66b and the threat Western intelligence agencies consider it poses. Today's (Thursday) episode included the hacking of Nortel Networks and that company's collapse a couple of years later.*

    (You may need a login, sorry.)

    *Personal issue, I have a (very) small pension fund with Nortel, which would have been quite a bit bigger otherwise.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      (You may need a login, sorry.

      ...and if you don't want to log in, yt-dlp is your friend in need (though it might only work on UK IP)

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: (You may need a login, sorry.

        >might only work on UK IP

        If you do need a {particular-country's} IP, Tor Browser is your friend in need.

        The config file can specify country restrictions for the exit node, the point you will appear to be present at.

        Older versions had a Setting for Do Not Use/exclusions; you simply get the full list of standard country short-codes off, say, Wikipedia, delete the one you wish to "be" in, and paste the remainder into your config.

        Newer versions now have an extra Setting for Only Use These Exit Countries/enumeration. So just biff in the short-code you want.

        Easy way to watch BBC iPlayer from Australia, for example. (I was in the middle of some comedy series when I moved back. ("Plebs"?))

    2. t245t Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Hackers with Chinese IP addresses infiltrated Nortel /s

      @Eclectic Man:

      > Today's (Thursday) episode included the hacking of Nortel Networks and that company's collapse a couple of years later.

      "According to reports, hackers with Chinese IP addresses infiltrated Nortel’s computer networks"

      DOH!

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Not a Good Look, but if the Top Hat Fits ..... So Be Ye Crowned

    :-) But surely the West is equally as busy beavering away at establishing a predominant cyber lead, and ideally one suspects for their own exclusive overwhelming advantage in all manner of practically real and virtually remote command and control of space projects, as the East is suspected of being engaged in.

    To imagine the West isn't, and for it to be proven so, has any notion of Western intelligence being anything to be worried about or considered worthy of heeding and following/obeying, laughable.

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Not a Good Look, but if the Top Hat Fits ..... So Be Ye Crowned

      The 'West' has a long, and not entirely honourable, history of relations with China. Recall the opium wars, where the UK waged war on China so it could sell opium to the Chinese population. that is how the UK acquired Hong Kong. Of course it wasn't just the UK, Portugal had Macau, the first and last European holding in China.

  4. Tron Silver badge

    Beijing can relax.

    quote: securing an open and resilient digital future.

    Ha! Nothing here works. The other day the border software for imports fell over. A couple of weeks back the e-gates at airports failed (again). The airport scanner fitting has been put back. The rail network barely functions. The 57 varieties of war-on-driving toll gate software isn't reliable, sending threatening letters to the wrong people. Badly built RAAC buildings are falling down. There are not enough staff to run SEND services, the health service, the care sector or pretty much anything else as Brexit has banned access to them. The economic model upon which UK universities operated has been broken by state xenophobia. And how much did they spend on that covid app?

    SAGE worries endlessly about foreign threats, but the problems are all in the UK. Everyone here in a position of power or authority is incompetent, corrupt or both. We don't manage water well enough - floods and drought. Solar farms are blocked because the locals don't like the view. There are around 40,000,000 licensed vehicles in the UK, and 61,000 EV charging points. Bit behind there, chaps.

    You want resilient systems, run with distributed topologies, end to end encryption (which the government wants to ban), air gapping and get infrastructure completely off the public internet. It's not rocket science. Which is a good job, because the UK's attempt at space blew up and our nuclear deterrent made like a catharine wheel.

    Nice country, innovative people, completely ruined by its government.

    1. sitta_europea Silver badge

      Re: Beijing can relax.

      "...Ha! Nothing here works...."

      The other day I dropped the wife at Stansted airport.

      I used the free 1 hour parking.

      I took a ticket at the entrance to the car park, settled my wife at the covered bus stop, and a few minutes later I presented the ticket to the scanner at the exit to make good my escape.

      The screen said "ticket already used for exit".

      Sigh.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Beijing can relax.

      We don't manage water well enough - floods and drought

      Oh this is deliberate part of net zero scam. Make people believe the sky is going to fall tomorrow and so they should better give up their way of life and transfer all their wealth to the rich.

  5. martinusher Silver badge

    Fundamenally Weak

    Whenever I hear pundits and politicians refer to "Bejing" instead of "China" I know they really don't know what they're talking about. China is a large and complex society of about a billion and a half individuals. They obviously have a cultural identity but they're individuals just like us, individuals who are honest, dishonest, good, bad and so on, I'd guess in roughly the same proportions as they exist in our society. That there are criminals and opportunists among them should be no surprise.

    The use of terms like "Bejing" (and "Putin" for that matter) is an old linguistic trick designed to depersonalize the other. Its designed to divide us into camps, all the better to be manipulated.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Fundamenally Weak

      You have it exactly the wrong way round.

      The external aggression & parasitism is almost entirely driven by the CCP, not "China", and that is almost entirely driven top-down by, yes, Beijing. (That's what "centralised, authoritarian" is referring to.)

      So emphasis on Beijing rather than China is actually explicitly acknowledging the points you claim they don't understand.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fundamenally Weak

      "Beijing" a metonym for the Chinese government, just like "Washington, D.C." is a metonym for the U.S. government. The distinction between a government and its people is especially important for a nation ruled by a dictatorship, where the people do not choose their government.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Fundamenally Weak

        For the OP's benefit:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metonymy#Places_and_institutions

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Bejing" instead of "China"

      In these contexts "Bejing" is just intended to refer to the Chinese government, which, as you so admirably point out, is not the same thing as the country and its people. The convention of using the name of the capital as a stand-in for the government of a country is quite a well established one; and is (and has been) applied to most countries at one time or another, whether they be European, American, African, Pacific, or Asian.

      1. TimMaher Silver badge
        Coat

        Apart from Westminster.

        It has no sodding government at all.

        Just a bunch of…. Oh, never mind.

  6. PhilipN Silver badge

    ".. to the extent Western nations can't defend against it."

    Where did she say that?

    https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/speech/cyberuk-2024-gchq-director-keynote-speech

    On the other hand she does digress towards child pornography, womens lib and diversification in favour of ethnic minorities.

  7. Jan 0 Silver badge

    Devil vs deep blue sea?

    Is a world dominated by China going to be worse than the current world dominated by the USA? I wish that both would concentrate on themselves. On the positive side China wants to dominate by commerce, whereas the USA dominates by force of arms.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Devil vs deep blue sea?

      China wants to dominate by commerce

      Tell that to any protestor in Hong Kong

  8. fg_swe Bronze badge

    Dear GCHQ

    First clean up the SSL/TLS abomination. It is designed to be very hard to implement securely. For a long time it was effectively an open front door. There exist much better alternative concepts from Europe.

    Then proceed to smoke out C in the kernels, go for microkernels. Have a look at Oberon, its ingeniously compact.

    But do you really have the will, the minds and the money ?

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