UK plans new mega unit to counter cyber terrorism: Report

The unit will take on and monitor domestic crime groups as well as hostile states such as Russia and terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS).

Published: 21st September 2018 07:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2018 07:19 PM   |  A+A-

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (File | AP)


LONDON: The British government is set to launch a new 250 million pounds cyber-force unit to help combat terrorist groups, criminal gangs and hostile states, a media report said on Friday.

The taskforce, to be set by the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), will be made up of around 2,000 recruits from the military and security services industry, almost quadrupling the number of people in current offensive cyber-crime roles in the country, The Times reports.

ALSO READ | Teen on trial for UK terror plot with fairy tale code words

The unit will take on and monitor domestic crime groups as well as hostile states such as Russia and terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS).

It is expected to be announced soon and follows a review ordered by UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, the newspaper said.

A government spokesperson said: "The MoD and GCHQ have a long and proud history of working together. We are both committed to continuing to invest in this area, given the real threats the UK faces.

" The unit will be given the initial working name of "joint cyber-force" and have its own headquarters at possible MoD sites of Royal Air Force Wyton in Cambridgeshire and MoD Corsham in Wiltshire.

Robert Hannigan, former head of GCHQ – described as the UK intelligence's listening post, said: "With some nation states (and) criminal groups behaving very aggressively, you do need some capability to be destructive yourself in a targeted way to stop some of those things happening.

" The plans for the new cyber-force emerged as present and former intelligence officers shared some insight into cyber-tactics Britain used against ISIS in Syria and Iraq with the newspaper.

"The military used malware to block terrorists' access to data, disseminated fake news stories to confuse fanatics, and disrupted cash transactions," the report claims.

"The operation also involved the dissemination of fake news to sow confusion among Islamic State's supporters and techniques to disrupt the terrorists' cash transactions.

Measures that interfered with the group's funding and logistics made it harder for it to pay its militants and buy weapons, ammunition, food and supplies," it adds.

Analysts believe that the disappearance of 'Rumiyah', a monthly online ISIS propaganda publication that was translated into 10 languages, may have been thanks to offensive cyber-operations undertaken by Western allies.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp