Following US, MI5 and UK Also Prepare to Retaliate Against “Increasingly Aggressive” Russia

Rafia Shaikh
Posted Nov 1, 2016
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Russia poses an increasing threat to the UK, the director general of MI5 said in an interview today. Following the warning of MI5 chief Andrew Parker, the chancellor Philip Hammond has also said that the UK must be able to retaliate against cyber attacks.

The chancellor talked about the National Cyber Security Strategy in London explaining how the UK government plans to spend £1.9bn on cybersecurity, to defend businesses, retaliate against hostile “foreign actors,” and cyber scammers. He did not refer directly to Russia.

“If we do not have the ability to respond in cyberspace to an attack which takes down our power network – leaving us in darkness or hits our air traffic control system grounding our planes – we would be left with the impossible choice of turning the other cheek, ignoring the devastating consequences, or resorting to a military response,” Hammond said. “That is a choice we do not want to face and a choice we do not want to leave as a legacy to our successors.”

Russia presents a growing cyber threat – UK spy chief

Hammond’s speech comes after a rare intervention from MI5. In the MI5’s 107-year history, it is the first time that the chief has given a newspaper interview. In an interview with the Guardian, Andrew Parker said “at a time when much of the focus was on Islamic extremism, covert action from other countries was a growing danger. Most prominent was Russia.”

“It is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways – involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks,” the security agency’s director general added.

Cyber espionage is not a new threat, but cyber warfare is probably not something we have seen. The governments are now taking drastic – and destructive – measures to retaliate against cyber threats. During the ongoing US presidential election season, we saw several cases where Russian hackers were alleged of hacking the election officials – let’s not forget the DNC hacks too. The US government went as far as formally accusing the Kremlin of trying to influence the 2016 Presidential Election.

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While it was only the US ready to retaliate against Russia, the UK government and its security agencies appear to be working to “strike back” too.

Russia, however, dismisses these allegations. “Until someone produces proof, we will consider those statements unfounded and groundless.”

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