UK to stage major cyber attack to test response of security and intelligence officials

Home secretary Amber Rudd announced that UK cyber defences will be tested in major security war game

Amber Rudd made the announcement at the Cyber UK security conference on 11 April. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA 

By Emilio Casalicchio

12 Apr 2018

UK cyber defences will be put to the test in a massive cyber war game after it emerged almost 50 attempted online attacks came from Russia in the past six months, Amber Rudd has said.

The home secretary revealed officials would launch “the UK's first live national cyber crime exercise”.

She said it would “test the response of our security and intelligence agencies, police and first-responders, in the event of a large-scale cyber incident”.


It will expose any weaknesses in the system and analyse how MI5, GCHQ and others would cope with a massive online assault.

Just last year NHS services across the country were hit by the WannaCry ransomware attack. The home secretary said the threat of further blows was not diminishing.

At a cyber-security conference in Manchester, she said: “Over the past six months, the NCSC [National Cyber Security Centre] has responded to 49 incidents associated with Russian cyber groups, some of which have hundreds of potential victims.

“Russian actors have systematically targeted the UK, amongst others, expanding the number of sectors targeted, in addition to the energy, media and telecom sectors that the prime minister highlighted last November.”

Rudd said there had been “a significant increase in the scale and severity of malicious cyber activity globally” just in the last year.

And she declared: “We have been clear that we will not tolerate this.

“We know that there are several established, capable states seeking to exploit computer communications networks, to gather intelligence, personal information and intellectual property from the government, military, industrial and economic targets to advance their strategic goals.

“Hostile states, groups and individuals are using cyber tools to commit crimes, to project power, to intimidate their adversaries, and to influence and manipulate societies in a manner which makes definitive attribution difficult.

“But we have started to call this activity out.”

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