The government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has announced plans to create a new facility that will focus on uncovering cyber threats to the UK.
Dstl works to ensure there is a focus on the defence and security of the UK within wider science and technology research.
Cyber attacks are seen as an increasing threat to the UK, as professor Penelope Endersby, head of Dstl’s Cyber and Information Systems Division, explained.
“Cyber security is vital to the nation and defence. Our adversaries present a real threat and it is therefore important that we too have the option to achieve military effects through and in cyberspace," she said.
To strengthen its research into cyber threats Dstl confirmed it will open a new centre, dubbed the Cyber Evaluation and Assessment Laboratory, based at the Dstl's Porton Down site near Salisbury in Wiltshire.
Dario Leslie, programme manager for Cyber at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, told V3 the lab was currently in recruitment mode and would focus on finding faults in key technology kit within the UK.
“The Cyber Evaluation and Assessment Laboratory will assess the cyber vulnerabilities of equipment in order to improve the resilience of military operations and capabilities to cyber-attack,” he said.
“Dstl is currently looking for people to work for us in the Cyber Evaluation and Assessment Laboratory – the work will be both sensitive and exciting so it is a great opportunity for people to work with us and develop specialist skills.”
Leslie confirmed the lab would work with private sector organisations too, “at the appropriate classification”, and that any discoveries will be shared with relevant partners on a “need to know basis.
“Cyber vulnerabilities discovered in the Lab will need to be carefully protected to ensure the resilience of UK capability. They will be shared with trusted partners at an appropriate classifications on a need to know basis.”
The announcement comes in the same week the National Crime Agency (NCA) revealed it had been working with CERT-UK (The UK’s Computer Emergency Response Team) to help identify cyber risks to UK businesses.
This work included uncovering 5,531 compromised servers within the UK that are being used to pump out spam and phishing emails.
The NCA also said it will be working closely with teams who manage key UK infrastructure systems to help counter the threat from malware designed to target such systems, an issue that is affecting many nations around the world.
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