Britain Is Wide Open To Cyber Spying

The British government says that espionage against the UK is both wide reaching and significant. This of course applies to most governments around the world. In the period before common computer use, governments monitored telephone calls and international telegrams and opened people's mail.

The threat of espionage and spying did not end with the collapse of Soviet communism  at the end of the Cold War and today cyber security affects both the public and the private sector and spans a broad range of issues related to national security, whether through terrorism, crime or state and industrial espionage. 

Surveillance-tech companies have flourished in recent years as law enforcement and spy agencies around the world have sought new methods for countering adversaries who now often communicate through encrypted mobile apps.

More than 200 unique families of malware have been used to eavesdrop on corporate and government employees. 
When law enforcement agencies want to gather evidence locked inside an iPhone, they often turn to hacking software. By manually plugging the software into a suspect’s phone, police can break in and determine where the person has gone and whom he or she has met.

E-crime, or cyber crime, whether relating to theft, hacking or denial of service to vital systems, has become a fact of life. The risk of industrial cyber espionage, in which one company makes active attacks on another, through cyberspace, to acquire high value information is also very real.  Cyberspace is the term used to describe the electronic medium of digital networks used to store, modify and communicate information. It includes the Internet but also other information systems that support businesses, infrastructure and services. It lies at the heart of modern society; it impacts our personal lives, our businesses and our essential services. 

A secure online environment is essential to the British Government, which is providing an ever-increasing number of online services to UK citizens and businesses as part of a major digital services transformation programme. 

The ability to conduct online transactions securely is central to the delivery of public and commercial services and communications. However, some individuals and groups use cyberspace for malicious purposes. These people are called 'hostile actors' and they exploit cyberspace to conduct espionage operations or launch damaging computer network attacks.

Cyber terrorism presents challenges for the future and Britain must be prepared for terrorists seeking to take advantage of its increasing internet dependency to attack or disable key systems.

The UK Centre for the Protection Of National Infrastructure (CPNI) works with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Cabinet Office and lead Government departments and agencies to drive forward the UK's cyber security programme to counter these threats.

Although a significant and challenging issue in its own right, cyber is just one vector used by hostile actors to achieve their objectives. Cyber methods are often used in combination with other methods, such as recruitment of a human agent. Protective security measures aiming to prevent hostile cyber activity should, therefore, also take account of physical and personnel security considerations.

Cyber Espionage
Cyber espionage should be viewed as an extension of traditional espionage. It allows a hostile actor to steal information remotely, cheaply and on an industrial scale. It can be done with relatively little risk to a hostile actor's intelligence officers or agents overseas. This activity Computer Network Exploitation (CNE).

Hostile actors can also use malicious software (or malware) to disrupt and damage cyber infrastructure. This can range from taking a website offline to manipulating industrial process command and control systems. Such activity is known as Computer Network Attack (CNA).

Cyber espionage presents a real risk to the economic well-being of the UK and poses a direct threat to UK national security.

Centre For Protection of National Infrastructure:         CNBC:       eWeek

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