Cyberwarfare command: cyber soldiers

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Kromeriz, Jun 2, 2011.

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  1. FT is password protected so, with apoligies to the FT, in full.

    First questions:
    How many hackers et al would get past officer selection? Is this command going to be manned by officers or ORs?
    Set a thief to catch a thief - what type of person is best suited for this?
    Will this just keep braid, and plenty of it, in position?
    If ORs how do you pay them the going rate?
    How do you deploy a cybersoldier?

    MoD to set up army of cybersoldiers
    By Helen Warrell and Maija Palmer

    Published: May 31 2011 20:44 | Last updated: May 31 2011 20:44

    The Ministry of Defence is to develop a “cadre of dedicated cyberexperts” to protect infrastructure and government networks from electronic attack, it announced on Tuesday.

    The army of cybersoldiers would be deployed in response to a trend towards attacks on MoD systems, which are probed “on a regular basis”, the ministry said.

    The team will be funded as part of the £650m set aside for cybersecurity under the government’s strategic defence and security review last October.

    Nick Harvey, armed forces minister, told the Financial Times that, while the UK’s increasing dependence on computer networks brings many advantages, it also exposed the government and private sector to “new vulnerabilities”.

    “[Cyber] is very different to traditional military power because one person with the intent and the know-how and a laptop can do as much damage as entire armies,” he said.

    “What we are trying to do is to work up a cadre of experts who will drill into everyone across gov*ernment and our industrial partners the necessary skills and capabilities to deter attacks and cope with an attack when it happens.”

    Jonathan Shaw, the major-general who leads the cyberdefence unit, will oversee the development of the specialist team.

    “Future conflict will see cyberoperations conducted in parallel with more conventional actions in the sea, land and air operations,” the MoD said in a statement. “Therefore, we must plan, train, exercise and operate in a way which integrates our activities in both cyber and physical space.”

    Iain Lobban, the director of GCHQ, warned last year that there were more than 20,000 malicious e-mails on government networks each month, of which 1,000 were deliberately aimed at the government.

    The private sector – *particularly the defence industry – is also at risk. The MoD’s move comes just days after Lockheed Martin, a contractor to the US *military, revealed it had been the target of a per*sistent hacking attempt.

    Malicious interference often appears to come from China or Russia, security experts say, and could be from governments or government-linked organisations, although the connections are difficult to prove. In early 2010 Google said its computer systems had been infiltrated by Chinese hackers, prompting the web search company to pull out of the Chinese market.

    David Harley, senior research fellow at ESET, a producer of anti-virus software, said: “The security services and the security community at large have been aware of such problems as targeted malware and spear phishing [targeted phishing attacks] backed by nation states for many years.

    “The community has long warned about the risks to the critical national infrastructure, which includes a far wider range of organisation than the public might realise.”

    Both the US and China have previously announced investment in cyberwarfare.
  2. I'd imagine that they'd all be civilians to be honest, CESG already does a job similar to this.
  3. And yet a Major General has been put in charge...?
  4. A2_Matelot

    A2_Matelot LE Book Reviewer

    In fairness, the 2* mentioned is in charge of what is in effect a policy machine not a command that delivers effect.
  5. A2_Matelot

    A2_Matelot LE Book Reviewer

    Some cracking questions!

    'Hacking' requires a broad range of skills, there may well be a few Officers who have the technical aptitude and skills required, it can't be just limited to ORs.

    It's not going to be a Command as such [my view] - we cannot compete in material terms with something like USCYBERCOM. Whatever we do establish will have to be a mix of Officers, SNCOs, MoD CS and contractors.

    You'd need a range of skills, the CND, CNA, CNO concept is so broad.

    Wouldn't have thought so - the majority of useful people will be hands-on techies. Agreed there will be quite a few people in planning and strategy but I suspect the people "doing it" will be contractors or SNCOs.

    Or Officers - the same problem we have now. We desperately need people with good ICS skills, we recruit, train then fail to retain them. I suspect we will spectacularly fail to address this and hence rely on contactors.

    From his terminal, anywhere he/she/it can plug in.
  6. (My Bold) Ka-Ching!

    (Back on Thread) I suspect A2 will be correct and there will be a mix of Civilian and Military working in the same environment. This is not just a military operation so Cyber-Soldiers is a bit of a misnomer, it covers off a raft of HMG security concerns surrounding the UK.
    Recruiting is going to be interesting if they look to pay the standard civil service pittance especially when there is a shortage of good technically capable people out in civvy street. Which also means the uniform retention after they gain a couple of years experience will be problematic (if they are any good)
    Again I would suspect that there will be more need for watch-keepers at a low level to monitor the SIEM of choice. The more 'pro-active' parts of the watch will be where the more technically able are going to be squatting in front of their screens.

    Interesting times in a geeky, trust no one, security type of way.
  7. I would be honestly surprised if a trade appeared to support this, if it did it wouldn't be army led. Hierarchy and forward deployed capability could be military, given that its MOD run, but the guys actually doing the job will have to be civilian, the kind of qualifications required just don't exist in the military in any meaningful way. At the current time information assurance, which is a similar field, is in the most part staffed by TA specialists.
  8. You know what this means, don't you? Cyber-Walts!:biggrin:

    "Yeah, I was second man past the Firewall..."
    • Like Like x 2
  9. A2_Matelot

    A2_Matelot LE Book Reviewer

    I'd agree, I don't see a trade being formed but I do see us making better use of what we have now spread across all three Services. In all likelihood we would probably have to create extended tour billets and make them rank ranged, plus I suspect there would be a lot of PJT/OJT. LICSG, as you mention, provide an IA role, it could be they extend their remit to some aspects of CND/CNO/CNA but I would imagine we are more likely to see a specialist contractor brought in to provide a level of permanent deep technical expertise.
  10. Mr_Fingerz

    Mr_Fingerz LE Book Reviewer

    Yes, but how will they convince anyone that they passed the virtual CFT?
  11. 1. Don't need to if its a TA unit as they'll bluff it
    2. What weight in the Bergen, equivalent to a laptop or pc with monitor etc?
  12. But why do they have to be deployed? Working from another country because of the data address maybe but not deployed as deployed to Sangin for example.
  13. Mr_Fingerz

    Mr_Fingerz LE Book Reviewer

    Why bother with going to another country? If they're that good, they could virtual host in Antarctica and no-one would know.
  14. It depends what their actual remit will be, there would probably be a requirement for liaison with deployed units given that its run by the MoD, much in the same way that any UK-based operations focused unit has forward deployed members.

    Theres a big difference between an asset sitting in BSN/KAF and the FOBs.
  15. This from The Johns Hopkins Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs:

    BC Journal - Volume 13