The Foreign Secretary told The Sun today that Britain has developed new weapons to counter the threat from computer hackers, and is prepared to strike first to defend the nation’s infrastructure and businesses. But – he added, covering up our almost bare-arsed defences re this one – Hague did quietly warn that the Government ‘could not guarantee they would be successful in repelling cyber attacks’.
I think he probably told the Sun, a print medium, because none of the readers listen to Radio 4, and if they did, the talk in the pub tonight would be about a dastardly cider attack by Normandy farmers, Up Yours Delors etc etc.
What Mr Vague didn’t offer was any solution to the fact that huge cadres of rich Russian oligarchs are already here, are highly active, and Plod is powerless to stop them….unless they take to hacking computers by the use of jemmies. The Slog revealed their presence in June 2011 to a largely apathetic world. Since then their grip on things has increased – as has their technological lead.
Whereas the Russian Federation relies on a judicious mixture of recruited commercial espionage agents and sophisticated gadgetry, the Chinese do almost everything remotely, their technology being in turn miles ahead of the Russians. The way to think about Britain’s state of readiness in the face of these onslaughts would be to see the Chinese as time travellers, the Russians as Polish cavalry, and the British as having just perfected poisoned tips on arrows.
I suppose the other oddity about this announcement from the Mekon is that it didn’t come from Theresa May. But then, the embarrassment of her looking blank when asked about Trojan Horses was probably too big a risk to take.