The UK is focusing on understanding and developing its own cyber warfare capabilities, the new armed forces chief has said.
Reuters reports that, in his first public speech since taking over as Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards said that cyber warfare is “very genuinely a huge priority” for the UK.
"Along with like-minded nations in NATO for example, we are more actively expanding our understanding and weaponry in this area than in any other area," he said.
The government has already committed £500 million to develop new strategies to defend the UK from the risk of cyber attacks after having highlighted it as a Tier 1 threat to national security.
The fear is that organised cyber attacks could cripple specific areas of the UK’s national infrastructure, such as transport, power grids or the banking system.
"I often say to people, even today you might take out a country's infrastructure by bombing the hell out of it. Within no time at all you'll do it through cyber attack," Richards said. "It's a huge area of risk."
The announcement follows a speech by UK Defence Minister Nick Harvey to leading think tanks at Chatham house, in which he said that the military will integrate cyber warfare capabilities into future operations.
“We still live in a physical world - so physical capabilities will never be replaced. But they should be supplemented by cyber capabilities which will give protection where necessary and greater flexibility where required,” Harvey had said.