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Cyber Defence Team To Recruit Ex-Hackers To Protect Britain

The new cyber crime operations centre to be set at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham has employed a team of so-called naughty boys, white hat or ex-hackers.

Lord West who has been appointed as the first Cyber security minister told the BBC that the current government had sought the help of former hackers to help it fight back against state sponsored cyber attacks.

He also revealed that vital parts of the countries infrastructure face coordinated cyber attacks on a regular basis from other countries like Russia and China but stopped short of saying whether these attacks were backed by the governments of these countries.

However, there are claims that back in 2007, the Chinese government tried to hack into the foreign office computer system to siphon UK data, prompting the government to review its cyber defense startegy.

Amongst the targets that could be attacked are key businesses - like mobile phone networks or Internet service providers - the National power grid, airports, financial markets as well as Whitehall departments.

UK's security minister also told the Daily Telegraph that al-Qaida is set to launch a cyber-warfare campaign against Britain and its allies. However, he stopped short of providing with more details.

He added that "It would be silly to say we don't have any offensive capacity" and did not rule out having to use cyber attacks in the future but not for commercial or industrial spying.

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Our Comments

Since the government is serious about recruiting ex-hackers, it should probably try to free Gary McKinnon, a fine hacker who wouldn't mind doing community work to help his country. Furthermore, this new initiative from the government comes amidst regular instances of information or data mishandling by public bodies like the Police or the NHS.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.