Multimillion-pound cyber-force to be launched in Britain, reports say

A cyber-force unit that will combat terrorist groups and domestic gangs is to be set up, it has been reported.

The Times said it understands the £250 million unit will be set up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and GCHQ.

The newspaper said experts will be recruited from the military, security services and industry.

A Government spokesman said on Thursday night: “The MoD and GCHQ have a long and proud history of working together, including on the National Offensive Cyber Programme.

“We are both committed to continuing to invest in this area, given the real threats the UK faces from a range of hostile actors.”

In July, a parliamentary committee warned that ministers are failing to get to grip with the shortage in cyber security experts despite the “potentially severe implications” for national security.

MPs and peers said the situation is of “serious concern”, but the Government response lacks “urgency”.

In a report, they warned the WannaCry attack in May 2017, which hit the NHS, showed the need to protect critical national infrastructure (CNI) from cyber threats.

But the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy said: “We are struck by the Government’s apparent lack of urgency in addressing the cyber security skills gap, which is of vital importance to both national security and the economy.”

The committee said the Government and private sector was affected by the shortage in skilled cyber security workers.

Developing cyber security skills strategy should be the Government’s first priority, the committee said.

“It is a pressing matter of national security that it does so,” it added.

In July, a Government spokeswoman said: “We have a £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy, opened the world-leading National Cyber Security Centre and continue to build on our cyber security knowledge, skills and capability.”

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