UK Report Warns of Fatal Cyber Attack on Armed Forces

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The UK's House of Commons Defence Committee recently published a report warning that a sustained cyber attack could "fatally" compromise the armed forces' ability to operate.

"MPs say their inquiry highlighted worrying gaps in strategy and thinking and said it was unclear to them who would be in charge if the UK came under sustained cyber-attack," writes The Guardian's Nick Hopkins. "They also said the MoD was now totally reliant on cyber-systems. 'The evidence we received leaves us concerned that with the armed forces now so dependent on information and communications technology, should such systems suffer a sustained cyber-attack, their ability to operate could be fatally compromised,' the report says."

"Committee chairman James Arbuthnot said it was now essential that ministers took the lead in ensuring effective plans were in place to cope with the threat," writes The Independent's Gavin Cordon. "'It is our view that cyber security is a sufficiently urgent, significant and complex activity to warrant increased ministerial attention,' he said. 'The Government needs to put in place -- as it has not yet done -- mechanisms, people, education, skills, thinking and policies which take into account both the opportunities and the vulnerabilities which cyberspace presents.'"

"In a statement, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that actually the UK is very well prepared and has a range of contingency plans in place," writes The Inquirer's Dave Neal. "'The UK Armed Forces and the equipment and assets they use are amongst the world's most modern and advanced, so of course information technology plays a vital role in their operation,' said defence minister Andrew Murrison. 'Far from being complacent, the MoD takes the protection of our systems extremely seriously and has a range of contingency plans in place to defend against increasingly sophisticated attacks although, for reasons of national security, we would not discuss these in detail."