Westminster politicians have today used the strongest possible language to warn of cyber attacks against the armed services.
The Commons Defence Committee reported to parliament that a sustained cyber attack could “fatally compromise” the military’s ability to operate.
Stating that the cyber threat is evolving at an “almost unimaginable speed” the cross-bench committee’s report warned that our military’s reliance on IT could leave it ‘fatally compromised’.
The British armed services are among the most advanced armed forces on the planet and so have a higher reliance on computers and modern technology than many others. This leaves us more vulnerable than most to the dangers of electronic systems being compromised.
There are many more points of vulnerability because digital components are found in almost every aspect of the military’s operation including weapons, satellites and intelligence systems.
Committee chairman James Arbuthnot said that cyber security is a “sufficiently urgent, significant and complex activity to warrant increased ministerial attention”.
“In its response to this report the government should set out details of the contingency plans it has in place should such an attack occur. If it has none, it should say so — and urgently create some.”
The government’s response was to deny they have been complacent over cybersecurity and to remind parliament that £650m is being invested over four years on the National Cyber Security Programme.
Junior defence minister Andrew Murrison insisted that the MOD “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.”