Britain has unveiled its new National Cyber Force, which is an offensive hacker unit that can target hostile countries, such as China and Russia, terrorist groups, and even pedophiles, by disrupting their internet communications.
The National Cyber Force – controlled by the British intelligence agency GCHQ and the Ministry of Defense – has begun its work secretly since last April with several hundred hackers stationed in Cheltenham and other military sites across the United Kingdom.
Little is known about the agency’s activities, but it appears that the bulk of its early work has been to disrupt the communications of those perceived to be a threat to the UK, such as: terrorists involved in attack plots.
British Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) told the House of Commons on Thursday that the “National Cyber Force” includes British intelligence agencies and service personnel, and is “already operating in cyberspace against terrorism, organized crime and hostile state activity.”
The idea behind the new organization is to combine scattered offensive hacking capabilities; Which the UK has claimed to have owned for a decade, and is rapidly increasing its operations. The National Cyber Force plans to increase the number of its employees about tenfold; To 3,000 employees, over the next decade.
It is noteworthy that an estimated 60 countries have developed offensive piracy capabilities, and Iran and North Korea are among the most advanced in this field, with a strong record of targeting the United Kingdom. There are also government-backed hackers associated with intelligence agencies in China and Russia.
Britain rarely talks about its offensive piracy capability, and remains reluctant to do so even with the new unit. But in 2018, the British intelligence agency said it had launched a “large offensive cyber campaign” against the Islamic State.
Its director Jeremy Fleming said at the time: “The operations made a significant contribution to the coalition’s efforts to suppress ISIS propaganda, and impeded its ability to coordinate attacks and protect the coalition forces on the battlefield.”
Other methods used by the National Cyber Force include trying to change behavior in order to prevent the implementation of the scheme, or to dissuade the person behind the threat from implementing his plan.