Cyber Security & the British Army

Published on the British Army’s YouTube page today. The British Army takes all threats extremely seriously and is constantly working to safeguard its cyber security. Threats are always changing and becoming increasingly sophisticated. Cyber security is vital to the welfare and defence of the nation. The British Army is constantly working to improve its cyber defences. It is able to anticipate threats, assist in significant cyber incidents and can respond to cyber attacks. It is working with other nations and creating teams of dedicated experts.

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Royal Navy conducts AI and Cyberspace exercises

 

This weekend, the Royal Navy will be conducting naval exercises off the coast of Scotland along with several NATO allies under Exercise Joint Warrior. The exercise will test ships and their crews in a range of scenarios that could be realistically encountered on operations across the globe including countering terrorist activity and piracy. As part of the overall exercise the Royal Navy will also be undertaking Exercise Information Warrior 17 which will be the service’s first large-scale cyber warfare exercise.

Type 45It will also mark the debut of a new artificial intelligence (AI) system called STARTLE that aims to greatly improve situational awareness and response times. STARTLE continuously monitors and evaluates potential threats by utilising the intricate sensor suite aboard a warship and using its own artificial intelligence to effect an appropriate response. The software is actually based along similar lines to the way the human brain works by emulating the human fear response mechanism. In a sense it would act like a digital colleague to the Principal Warfare Officer and will allow the command team to make more informed decisions at a much faster rate thus saving vital seconds in combat.

Speaking about the exercise, Fleet Commander of the Royal Navy, Vice Admiral Ben Key CBE said;

We must use information as a weapon in itself, to deliver effects with greater precision in both time and space; protect our information effectively; better integrate a comprehensive approach to planning; and exploit technology.

Information Warrior 17 will build on experience the Royal Navy gained last year under Unmanned Warrior 2016 and in addition to trialling AI systems it will also evaluate Royal Navy vessels’ abilities to resist cyber attacks. The increasing use of wireless technology to transmit information between military units has opened up a potential new weakness which a sophisticated enemy could exploit either by disrupting the signal thus reducing a force’s overall effectiveness or even sending contradictory information/instructions. With China, Iran, Russia and North Korea all having shown a willingness to manipulate events across the world through cyberspace, the west and NATO in particular have placed greater emphasis on countering these potential adversaries on the 4th dimension battlefield.

The social media threat to service personnel

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There’s no escaping that social media has been playing an increasing part in our everyday lives for the last decade and it is this fact that now have military chiefs worried about what information is being shared online by those under their command. This fear has been reinforced as reports have begun to circulate about fake profiles being created in order to follow the activities and locations of serving personnel and even members of youth cadet organisations.

The MailOnline has published reports from members of the British Army’s University Officers’ Training Corps that shows a worrying increase in the number of fake profiles being created and aimed at befriending members online. Security experts are concerned that with last year’s attempted abduction of an RAF NCO as he jogged near his base, members of Jihadist groups operating in the UK are trying to use social media to plot similar kidnappings or attacks.

Other sources claim that Russia is attempting to carry out covert reconnaissance and intelligence gathering operations on British forces via social media or even use it to recruit or coerce service personnel. It is also likely that news and other media outlets are following service personnel online hoping to uncover a story.

The MoD has been aware of the potential impact social media could have on security for quite some time and in 2012 published a booklet that provided a guide on what was acceptable or not. This included asking the following questions about anything put online;

• What if this ends up on the front page of the papers?
• Would I say this to my CO in front of 100 people?
• Would I leave this information lying on a park bench?
• What if a terrorist or criminal gets this information?

British forces aren’t the only ones who have had to learn this lesson with most of the world’s military and government organisations having to regulate their personnel’s use of social media. In July 2014, a Russian soldier named Sergeant Alexander Sotkin posted a photo of himself online with the image being tagged as having been taken in eastern Ukraine despite Russia repeatedly denying it had Russian soldiers fighting alongside pro-Russian rebels there.

Cyberspace represents many challenges when it comes to security. Firstly, unlike secret military equipment it is readily available to anyone and exists well outside the chain of command. Keeping government secrets has always been a part of military life but instead of shady, backroom dealings with mysterious strangers in trench coats the people trying to gather information online will often seem like anyone else with similar interests, personalities and no obvious indications that they are someone whose goal is more nefarious than simply sharing a funny cat video.

NEWS: MoD to hold event to tackle national security threats on the “Deep Web”

Laptop Deep Web Mod

Ever opened a Google or Bing search and felt that you weren’t getting all the results for what you were looking for? The truth is that the average person is only able to access a limited amount of what exists in cyberspace through regular methods. The so-called Deep Web is a part of the internet that is hidden away unless you have the right methods of searching for it such as a specialised search engine exchanged between groups who have reason to hide their site’s content. The urban legend that has developed about the Deep Web as a result is that it is a place where you can literally get anything you want such as drugs, child porn or videos of brutal violence to name but a few. It has also long been suspected that it is a place where a great deal of terrorist activity takes place such as radicalisation and training videos and now the Ministry of Defence is launching an offensive against this realm of the internet.

The MoD in collaboration with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) will be hosting an event in London between the 25th to the 27th September where software developers, data scientists and innovators are being invited to put forward their ideas and solutions for investigating the Deep Web in order to support the national security interests of the UK. The event will build on work already carried out by DSTL with the US Department of Defence’s Defence Advanced Research Project Agency (Darpa) as part of the effort to improve Deep Web searching and limit its use by terrorist networks.

As an added incentive prizes will be awarded in various categories for those taking part in the event.