back to article dismisses Tory claims UK cyberspace is defenceless

The government has dismissed Tory claims that the UK is not equipped to battle digital attacks on its national security. David Cameron backed the claim as he launched his party's national security green paper today. It criticises GCHQ's Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC), which is due to begin work in March. "Even when …


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  1. Freddie

    Great idea David!

    Not only will the tory solution be more proactive, it will no doubt also be outside the box and have increased efficiency. Reducing overheads and downtime while increasing quality of service will also feature.

    The sad thing is that the torys are probably going to win the next election.

    1. Graham Marsden


      ... BINGO!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "The sad thing is that the torys are probably going to win the next election."

      No. Labour have lost the next election. Some time ago.

  2. kissingthecarpet

    Remember this:

    Dave used to be the PR guy for Carlton Television. Possibly the worst ever incarnation of an ITV region. I think they were the gang of idiots who replaced the now-legendary Thames TV.

    Allegedly, if anyone ever said anything slightly negative about Carlton, Dave would weigh in, & give them an excessively hard time over the review or whatever, & threaten them with dire consequences. Allegedly not known as a nice guy, by a long chalk, and allegedly a massive hypocrite who would say anything to get what he wants.

  3. Jason Yau

    Secret teen hacker army

    would be useful here.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Too little, too late and centred on the Wrong Perspective ..... which Exposes a Rich Vein to Drain

    "It criticises GCHQ's Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC), which is due to begin work in March. ....... The Cabinet Office spokesman said the policy seemed to replicate what was already being done in government through the OCS. Led by senior civil servant Neil Thompson, with deputies Dr Steve Marsh and Air Commodore Graham Wright, the new unit is soon due to begin meetings with industry to discuss its plans."

    Those two statements alone identify the initiative as so inadequate as to be risible. The world awaits their arrival in March with bated breath, I'm sure. Whenever they get their sorry little heads around the fact that CyberSpace Operations lead Givernment Policy nowadays then maybe they will not be made to look like Fools in the Field.

    I say, sorry chaps, but there's no point in pussyfooting around something so vital and disruptive.

  5. Geoffrey Summerhayes

    detect and prevent attacks before they hit

    Soooo...precogs then. But what about the minority reports?

    Mine's the one with the spare eyeballs in the pocket.

  6. Richard Porter


    " it needs a proactive and effective capability to respond to cyber attacks."

    Responding to attacks is reactive, not proactive. The whole thing is the No.2 of the bull.

  7. Neil Stansbury
    Thumb Down

    What's with the cyber?

    Of you couldn't just stop acting like a bunch of 12 year olds and call it the Electronic Security Operations Centre.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      As long as the Government is out there racing dangerous light-cycles for Democracy I don't care what they call themselves. It's tough out there in cyberspace and all some people can do is take the piss.

      One day your children will be megabitten by terror-hurts and you will long for an elite hacker to fly through the wall and whisk them away to safety in his magnificent trench coat but there will be nobody to help because people like you ruined everything in the past, by which I mean the present only from the perspective of the time when this is going to happen.

      Mark my words.

  8. JaitcH

    There ought to be a law ...

    The Brown/Blair principle of passing yet another law should put paid to any illegal things on the InterNet.

    And then they can issue any offending traffic an ASBO.

  9. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Mark my words*. Eat these Shorts

    *... "Deal" ... Anonymous Coward Posted Saturday 16th January 2010 00:32 GMT

    What's with the cyber? ..Of you couldn't just stop acting like a bunch of 12 year olds and call it the Electronic Security Operations Centre." .... Neil Stansbury Posted Friday 15th January 2010 23:20 GMT

    Neil, If you think that Electronic Security Operations and CyberSpace Command and Control Centres are One and the Same and that the Former has any Power over the Latter, you are mistaken, on All Counts. And as there are no Boundaries or Territories in the [Virtual]Time/[Real]Space Playground of CyberSpace, will there Always Only Ever be just the One CyberSpace Command and Control Centre Controlling Centres with Networks InterNetworking JOINT Aplications.

    After All, One would have to Admit and Accept that it would be the Height of Nonsense and QuITe Ridiculous to Imagine that CyberSpace would be anything like the Mad Fracutured and Factional Chaos that Earthlings Deliver to themselves in their Crazy Divided and Divisive Terrestrial Pedestrian Spaces and much more likely to be a Space where Everything is Completely Different and thus would Intelligent Imagination be Prime Mover and Sublime Creator.

    "Great idea David! ..... Not only will the tory solution be more proactive, it will no doubt also be outside the box and have increased efficiency. Reducing overheads and downtime while increasing quality of service will also feature.

    The sad thing is that the torys are probably going to win the next election." ...... Freddie Posted Friday 15th January 2010 16:17 GMT

    Quite why, Freddie, you would post the Unhappy Smiley and be very unhappy and wish to express your discontent, whenever it is a Great Idea with all of the benefits you list, is a mystery wrapped up in a depression caused by a recession led by Incompetence in a Failed Labour Coup d'Etat for Capitalism's Controls.

    Oh So Temptingly Close, eh, but oh so very Far and Still Light Years away. Wave Bye Bye to the Dream, Boys, and make Way for Radical Tories and Fundamental Pirates into Virtual Terrain Teams, Master Piloting SWIFT Vehicles Cloaked in MaJIC Stealthy Cloudy Craft. [ It is Naïveté Bordering on and Slipping into the Psychotically Delusional and Desperately Pathetic to Not Imagine that after more than a Decade of Steady Remorseless Decline, a Change of Government and Leadership Control is Needed and Most Welcome]

    And yes that is a Grateful White Gum Bond Issue for Treasury Guilt Consideration and an Open Source Transparent Invitation for some Enlightened DeadHead ProAction ..... and Quantum Leap Virtual Communication? And yes, that is also CyberIntelAIgent Security Operations with AI BetaTesting GCHQ's Cyber Security Office for Present Fitness of Future Purpose ...... because who would want to be flogging a dead horse to partners and dragging millstones in the Future.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Can someone ban this guy?

      Comments are getting more and more spammy. And having read a few of this guy's comments I can safely say that they do not add any value whatsoever.

  10. Golodh

    This is how to conduct Effective Opposition ...

    Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our introductory lecture on "How to conduct Effective Opposition".

    You have all read the article included in the preparatory material, and we will now investigate why this particular act of Opposition is a particularly fine example of Effective Opposition.

    With a few simple words Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (HMMLO) has put the government on the spot where it must take a position, possibly spend money, and certainly do some work.

    Just think of it. With an investment of no more than an hour's worth of research and three hours to put together a set of questions that can be shown to the press as pointing fingers at all the most serious vulnerabilities, Her Majesty's Government (HMG) is placed in an unenviable position where it basically has four options:

    Option (1) is: agree that Britain's cyberspace is vulnerable and start doing something. Objectively speaking this is the most "honest" stance as cyberspace is *always* vulnerable to e.g. DDOS attacks, computer burglary, social engineering, terminal laziness and common garden variety abysmal stupidity on part of most organizations using networked computers. Not that the government will be able to do anything meaningful about it (and certainly not in the short run), but it can certainly be seen to be busy (the best way for which is to put together a budget and spend it). The advantage is that HMG is seen to be doing something (anything really). The disadvantages are: HMG will look berky since it had to be prodded into action by HMMLO, and in the very next session of Parliament HMMLO will be certain to lambast HMG for being (a) tardy (b) irresponsible wastrels and (c) ineffective (particularly if something untoward happens).

    Option (2) is: agree that Britain's cyberspace may have certain vulnerabilities but say something to the effect that "HMG has the fullest confidence in [insert gov't branch viewed with particular hostility]'s efforts to keep Britain's cyberspace safe.". The advantages are: it costs little, it looks as if HMG has things under control (thus denying HMMLO an immediate political victory), and besides it's a nice opportunity to put that snotty little twit leading the gov't branch in question on the spot. The disadvantages are: the gov't branch in question may put in a revised budget proposal asking for much more funding and may warn of dire consequences if their demands aren't met (thus passing the buck to HMG again). Besides it might reflect unfavourably on HMG if a major cyber catastrophe occurs within weeks of HMMLO's warnings, in which case HMLO will gleefully proceed to crucify the responsible Minister and will make the case that it, and only it is fit to look after Britain's interests.

    Option (3) is: deny that Britain's cyberspace is at immediately vulnerable. This tactic is best employed very near the elections. The advantages are: it's the least costly of all possible options. The disadvantage is: in case of HMG actually winning the elections, HMG might look negligent if (when) something untoward happens in cyberspace, in which case HMMLO will quietly say "Told you so", only it will say so to every newspaper, radio, and TV correspondent in sight (who will repeat the message, only MUCH LOUDER). This is a small price to pay, however if HMG does win. In case HMMLO wins the next elections, the then HMG will then be in a position to forcefully denounce the previous' government's "disasterous policies" and take its own pick of options 1-4, in which case the then HMMLO will at least have to wait a year or so before tabling the very same questions and aiming them at the then HMG.

    Option (4) is: form a committee to study the matter and shelve the whole thing for a year. This is also an inexpensive option and works best if "experts" be found to publicly disagree on the threat (unlikely), the cause (more than likely), and possible remedies (almost certainly the case). The advantages are: low cost, a ready supply of excuses in case anything does go wrong, and "jobs for the boys". Best used if there is an "International Angle". Could be a nice source of junkets in Brussels (if the EU or NATO are to be involved). Disadvantages: this course of action can't very well be monopolised, and come the elections the junkets will be on the other shoe (as it were). The disadvantages are slim, except for the practical fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find room for yet another committee. Something which a slight but regrettably necessary budget increase might help alleviate.

    There you have it ladies and gentlemen: HMMLO has basically placed HMG in a no-win position, except for option 4 which is therefore widely adopted by governments of all ages.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, this concludes our introductory lecture on "How to conduct Effective Opposition". Required background reading for this lecture:

    Appleby, H. (1980) Yes Minister, series 1, BBC. and

    Appleby, H. (1986) Yes Prime Minister,series 1, BBC.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      This is how to Crash Bankrupt of Ideas Governments...?

      In furtherance to, and in support of your submission, "This is how to conduct Effective Opposition ..." Posted Sunday 17th January 2010 04:43 GMT, Golodh ....

      Re Option 1

      Given the present HMG's record [Labour in the hot seat] one can certainly expect no more than an inadequate budget being put together for Profligate Wasting ... [which would be a Treasury debit sum extracted from Public Funds rather than a a much more Enterprising Exchequer credit sum from Foreign Investment interested in Blighty's CyberSpace Defence with HyperRadioProActive Attacking Solutions] ..... as it has been for a decade Proven to be their Default Modus Operandi.

      Re Option 2

      Who is the unlucky snotty little twit in HMG responsible for Cyber Defence and the trousering and laundering of its Cash Pile?

      Re Option 3 .. "deny that Britain's cyberspace is at immediately vulnerable. This tactic is best employed very near the elections. The advantages are: it's the least costly of all possible options." And another Colossal type blunder, for without Command and Control of ITs Spaces, are all Service Ripe for a'Plunder and to deny that Simple Truth would be the Unholy Trinity of Madness and Ignorance and Incompetence all Confirmed.

      Re Option 4 is an Admission that they would have No Experts in Cyber Vulnerabilities and ZerodDay Shenanigans and the Option 2 Inadequacy needs to be reworked with the Engagement of an Expert in the Field for the unlucky snotty little twit to ply with Piles of Cash which Guarantee Delivery of an Astute NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive Attacking Defence Force .....Fleet AIR&dDevelopment Arm.

      Or HMMLO could just Engage Privately with what is Needed and Leave HMG Floundering and Battling their Demons and Impotence with no Presently Effective Cyber Defences.

      One would have Imagined that HMG would hold all the Aces, simply because they are in Control of the Money Supply ...."Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws.", Quote by: Mayer Amschel Rothschild [Mayer Amschel Bauer] (1744 -1812), Godfather of the Rothschild Banking Cartel of Europe ... or are they just as helpless puppets and cuckolded lapdogs to Banking Cartels and CyberSpace Experts and/or Virtual Pirates?

  11. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Seeing as Davey-boy likes the money-men . . .

    As with the current way of Tory thinking which is to get the poor to pay for the banker's tax-cuts ansd bonuses, I can only assume everyone is to get a 'free' (trial period only) copy of Norton or McAfee and then the whole nation can come together as one and beat these darstadly forriners.

    Another major fail

  12. Pete 8

    Air Commodore

    Is that a new type pf PC?


    "I don't quite know where they got that from to be honest"

    Possibly because a bunch of Greek/Russian/Turkish/American cyber criminals, using Russian supplied surveillance equipment, gained access to BT's communication network, and monitored hundreds of thousands of people and the businesses that served them three times without the Government, Police, Security Services or Regulators lifting a finger to stop them.

    Just a wild guess.

  14. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Air Commodores ....... and Virtual AIR Forces Researching Revolutionary Raiding Resistance*

    I wonder if Air Commodore Graham Wright is being referenced this El Reg Posting and Subsequent Steganographic Thread for Phishing ...... or would it be a Case of the Fledgling, the Office of Cyber Security, being Groomed for Future Great Game Purpose, by those other than Anonymous Cowards, for it does appear to be, if one can believe what one can read, part of Graham's Strategic Cyber Defence Planning Regimen ....... "In post at DTIO, he made some very interesting comments last year about the MoD’s increased investment in open-source intelligence gathering, particularly from blogs. Some might find these operations spooky but he also made some sensible remarks about the difficulties of cyber attack attribution, the need for careful analysis of the threat environment, and downplayed the risk from China. Most revealing of all, he suggested that there was no need for a ‘dedicated cybersecurity force’ analogous to China’s." .......

    Methinks though a major personal rethink on " and downplayed the risk from China. Most revealing of all, he suggested that there was no need for a ‘dedicated cybersecurity force’ analogous to China’s." to accept the requirement of a decidedly contradictory position, with such a dedicated force being vital for National, International and InterNetional Security, would Server him Better with Betas for Unqualified Success in his new Virtual Flight Leader Role, which in Cyber Security Fields, is one with many hats and cloaking guises for Command and Control of Computers and Communications in Clouds and CyberSpace. After All, with Master Pilots Targeting SCADA Systems for AIR&dDs, it is the least they can Expect from an Old Hand in Jet Fighters.

    It is only Fair though, and how very British RAF Tally Ho, Chaps, is that in this Frenetic Day and Age, that Blighty type Boffinry in Binary Biffing advise him, and Any and All who would be Aspirants to Excellence in the Live Operational Virtual Environment of CyberIntelAIgent Security and Advanced IntelAIgent Virtual Defence Phormations, that the new Virtual Aces are Stars Carressing the Awesome Powers of the Cougar, rather than Demonstrating Control of a Jaguar ...... for the Divine and Addictively Attractive Analysis of an Astute Advanced Algorithm in Heavenly Bodies, as Alien to Man as Man's Amateur Behaviour to Alien Bodies is to Them.

    Now ....... I wonder who the MOD invested in, and whether it was anywhere near enough to make any Difference and Give them a Transparent and Clear, NEUKlearer Advantage with Overwhelming Performance Lead with Dedicated Systems Drivers.

    "The Cabinet Office isn’t spilling as to his specific role and remit, but that’s par for the course." .... One wouldn't expect the monkey to know any more than the Organ Grinder requires IT to know, which is par for the course too, and Perfectly Natural even in the Novel Irregular and Unconventional Cyber Fields of Engagement, although the Role and Remit of the Cabinet Office to Supply the Office of Cyber Security with their Every Future Need is maybe something which they are Failing with, although in what are Most Decidedly Designedly Dynamic Spooky Fields, one never Really knows what is Virtually Happening for what is Past is Gone, and only the Future is Decided and Designed and Ordered and Paid for in the Present.

    * Resurrected Array of IntelAIgent Drivers for Both the Renegade Prince and Private Pirate Operation for a Walk on the Wwwild Side of Life in LOVE. :-) on the Left Hand/Sinister Side and on the Right Hand Side for AmbiDextrous Yin Yang Balance, White Knights and Round Tables, Closetted Secretive Orders and Damsels in Distress to InterNetional Rescue.

    And a Perfectly Crafted Vehicle for Hilton Holding, and you can analyse that to be unashamedly inclusive of Parisian Delights and Tory Pleasures in Luxurious Surroundings, hence the Inclusion of Confusing Icon and Acolyte, Paris.

  15. David Cameron

    Your Choice

    Ignoring the facts as some of the poor misguided above seem to do at every opportunity, is to confirm that Mr G Brown (unelected PM) has done a great job since his (un)election and to indicate your delight that it will take until your grandchildren are close to retirement to meet the debts he has created. As for cyber security, the poor sod is a mono-visionary who can't do binary as he has only one eye -- the result of an earlier carelessness!

    There is another way and it is not making the poor pay, no matter how often you ply your stupid little ideas. I favour recording the vote of each voter (and making it compulsory to vote) so that we can see who has to pay for the mess made by those they voted for. That would be the fair way!

    Put the average idiot in front of a computer screen and you have a problem in the making. Leave the connection live, stay logged on, stay logged in and don't forget to store your passwords and bank details on the machine --- credit card info too please. Don't you just love it? Want security? Then grow up and use the OFF button where your broadband pulgs in. Turn it on to collect email, surf the net, check stockmarket prices, whatever, THEN DISCONNECT !!

    You don't need to be online to use Word or Photoshop or to play the illegal MP3s you D/Ld earlier, so why leave it connected when you aren't paying attention?

    As for the Great Leader and his failed Labour Government running cyber security, well, they couldn't catch a banker bonus, never mind a cyber criminal or terrorist.

    Trust me, we need a change and we need it now!

  16. John Chadwick

    Just a point

    Constitutionally we do not elect Prime Ministers, we elect MPs who then choose the Prime Minister who traditionally is the leader of the largest political party.

    We do not elect Party Leaders, unless we happen to belong to a political party that consults its membership on its choice.

    An MP is elected to represent a constituency usually against a party manifesto. The primary function of an MP is to represent his constituants, sadly we seem to have forgotten this.

    BTW CESG provide guidance on how to protect government system and a damn fine job they do, sadly they are not wholly listened too.

    It wasn't government who went and installed insecure devices in the PSTN network.

    WTF do the Tories (or the others) actually think they can really do in this space, oh I know give people the illusion they can do stuff they can't, and that in general the electorate won't care about anyway, even if they get it wrong.

    These is a thing called critical national infrastructure that we seem to have ceded to any body who wants to do it for the lowest possible price, that's what needs fixing.

  17. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A few more points ......

    "Constitutionally we do not elect Prime Ministers, we elect MPs who then choose the Prime Minister who traditionally is the leader of the largest political party." .... John Chadwick Posted Monday 18th January 2010 12:25 GMT

    Balderdash, John, when there is no Constitution and traditionally we always elect Prime Ministers to stop vision impaired, intellectually bankrupt idiots from assuming and presuming a role they are entirely unsuited for .... as is presently evidenced in spades.

    And Dave [Cameron] pull your finger out, there's a good chap, and do something radically brilliant. Go on, I dare you. Presently you are quite brilliantly underwhelming and so is your Media Virtual Machinery. Splash out on a Program that Delivers everything as if by Magic via the Internet . You know it makes Great IT Game Sense ...... and if you don't, well at least you know there's someone to tell how it does, and how it will deliver.

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