Armed forces minister Nick Harvey has revealed the UK is working on a cyber-weapon programme with offensive capabilities to counter cyber warfare threats to national security.
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Nick Harvey says action in cyberspace will form part of the future battlefield. He regards cyber weapons as in integral part of the country's armoury, according to the Guardian.
"We need a toolbox of capabilities and that's what we are currently developing," Harvey told the paper.
Harvey says cyber-weapons will not replace traditional weapons, but they will be handled and deployed in the same way as other military assets, such as special forces.
Harvey says reliance on digital networks of transport, power and communications systems brings the capacity for warfare to cyberspace. He says the consequences of a well-planned, well-executed attack against the UK's digital infrastructure could be catastrophic.
The coalition government made cyber-security a tier-one priority and allocated £650m to upgrade cyber-defence as part of last year's strategic defence and security review (SDSR). The Ministry of Defence recently appointed General Jonathan Shaw to head a defence cyber-operations group.
UK representatives will be among the government officials, technical experts and industry specialists from around the world attending the EastWest Institute's Second Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit in London 1-2 June.
Carrying on the work of the EastWest Institute (EWI) First Cybersecurity Summit in Dallas last May, the summit is aimed at forging practical solutions for protecting cyberspace.
"Cyber challenges are by definition global and therefore require a global approach," said EastWest Institute president John Mroz.
"Businesses should take a guiding role in joint initiatives with governments, and help achieve international co-operation on cybersecurity," John Mroz said.
According to the EWI, much of the work of the summit will be accomplished by small, international groups of experts called "breakthrough groups", each dedicated to solving a specific cybersecurity problem.