Information security service specialists report that the British Government has decided to take a more aggressive stance to deal with the cyberattacks originated in foreign countries. British Foreign Minister, Jeremy Hunt, ensures that the UK will invest more than £20M for the creation of a cyber intelligence unit to help “counterattack Russian cyberthreats”.
In his speech, the Minister clarified that the main objective of this unit should be to deter foreign governments sponsored hackers from launching cyber attacks against the United Kingdom. “We must adopt a proactive policy regarding this kind of incidents and any violation of international law,” Hunt said.
According to information security service specialists, this speech was the cornerstone of a conference organized by the Cyber Defense Pledge of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), so, in somehow, this is an invitation to Member States to take measures similar to those announced by the United Kingdom.
The British government claims that democratic elections are one of the main targets of cyber-attacks (as has happened in the 2016 presidential election in the U.S.); the United Kingdom fears that this practice will become common to the extent that authoritarian governments deteriorate people’s trust in democratic systems.
According to the information security service specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS), article 5 of the NATO founding treaty states that “attacks against one Member State will be taken as attacks against the entire organization”; for obvious reasons, this extends to any kind of offensive, even cyber attacks.
On the other hand, Jens Stoltenberg, former prime minister of Norway and current Secretary General of NATO, added: “Hacking attempts against NATO have not succeeded at all. The Member States must be ready to use our cyber resources against our enemies”, concluded the Secretary-General.
So far, the British government does not recognize having used any campaign of cyber offensive against a foreign territory, although experts say that they were British hackers those responsible for disrupting the propaganda channels of the Islamic State during the war in Syria and Iraq.