For the Public’s Eyes Only: U.K. Launches Cybersecurity Inquiry



In the 23rd James Bond film, “Skyfall,” MI6’s servers get hacked and M—the head of the British intelligence agency, then-portrayed by Judi Dench—receives a taunting message from the hackers before the MI6 building explodes. This may be a drastically exaggerated example of the possible dangers, but even in reality, there is no doubt that the potential damages that can be caused by cybersecurity threats are significant and can’t be ignored. And the U.K. government is asking the public for input.

The U.K. Parliament’s Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy Chair Margaret Beckett Jan. 9 called for written submissions on the “types and sources” of cybersecurity threats faced by the U.K. and the “ways in which the U.K. government can work with the private sector to build cyber resilience and cyber skills.” The national security implications “of the leap to cyber are a matter of increasing concern,” Beckett said in the announcement. The government also seeks to find out “whether the UK has committed sufficient human, financial and technical resources to address the scale of cyber security challenge,” the announcement said.

Calling for public input, Beckett noted that the impact of technology “is one of the major security challenges facing the U.K.” She said in a statement that “attention has recently focused on the potential exploitation of the cyber domain by other states and associated actors for political purposes.”  

Of course, she was referring to recent findings by the U.S. government that hackers working for Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russia has denied the allegations and vowed retaliation after President Barack Obama expelled Russian officials over the hacking. 

Whether the perpetrators were “From Russia With Love” for politically-motived hacking or were just hacking for fun with a “Live and Let Die” attitude remains unclear. 

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