UK to invest $28M in cyber operations centers

The United Kingdom is preparing to invest 22 million pounds, the equivalent of almost $28 million, to open new cyber operation centers.

British Defense Secretary Penny Mordaunt is set to make the announcement during a conference in London at the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre.  

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“It’s time to pay more than lip service to cyber,” she is expected to say. “We must convince our adversaries their advances simply aren’t worth the cost.

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The cybersecurity centers will provide the British Army with 24/7 information and analyses on cyber threats and will also aim to give both the British military and allies intelligence on emerging threats. The centers have not yet been built, which will begin early next year, with operations to start in the early 2020s.

“Cyber enemies think they can act with impunity. We must show them they can’t,” Mordaunt is set to say. “That we are ready to respond at a time and place of our choosing in any domain, not just the virtual world.”

British Maj. Gen. Tom Copinger-Symes expressed his support for the creation of the new cyber centers, saying in a statement that “these new cyber centres will allow the Army and Defense to transform the way we use data, at speed, so that we can compete with our adversaries in a way fit for the 21st Century.”

Copinger-Symes added that “combining artificial intelligence with our military analysts will help us better understand threats and exploit opportunities, in turn enabling us to get the truth out much more rapidly, quashing the noise of disinformation from our enemies.”

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt spoke at the same conference in London on Thursday, emphasizing the global nature of cyber attacks, and urging members of NATO to work together to deter attacks on election systems.

“We cannot afford to wait until one of our adversaries succeeds in changing the result of an election,” Hunt said. “We must be crystal clear that any cyber operations designed to manipulate another country’s electoral system and alter the result would breach international law — and justify a proportionate response.”

Hunt touched on the European Union’s decision last week to adopt new sanctions against actors who commit cyberattacks against EU member states. These sanctions allow for travel bans and asset freezes on these actors. Hunt emphasized the need to take action to deter cyber attacks.

“Deciding to do nothing would be an important decision in itself — and the consequences could be escalatory,” Hunt said.

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