Recruit geeks to boost cyber-defence, says MP

4 March 2014
By Tereza Pultarova
Mobile version
Share |
Geeks among cyber-reservists might be the UK's key to boost cyber-security

Geeks among cyber-reservists might be the UK's key to boost cyber-security

IT geeks in army reserves could be the solution for the UK to defend the country against growing cyber-threats, a Conservative MP said today.

Speaking in front of the Commons Defence Select Committee, Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood spoke about his concerns about the UK government’s ability to attract and be able to pay for people with relevant skills. Instead, he suggested, the army reserves should be looked at as they might present an overlooked pool of the much needed skills.

"I'm concerned that state operations don't have the funds to attract the necessary 'geeks' ... the expertise, when they are in demand in the civilian sector,” Ellwood said

"Banks and so forth, and things like that, pay huge sums of money to make sure they are able to fight off any type of cyber security (attack).

"There is a need to use the reserves, who actually have these skill sets, working in businesses, to make sure they can come along to work in the Ministry of Defence, as well."

However, Conservative chair of the Commons Defence Select Committee James Arbuthnot, despite welcoming the idea, expressed uncertainty whether sufficiently capable people are readily available within the reserves.

"I would entirely agree, but the problem may be whether there are enough reserves and whether there are enough people with those skills in the country at all," he said.

Arbuthnot's committee has been looking into the potential cyber risks, in recognition of the armed forces' dependency on information and communications technology.

"If those systems should suffer a sustained cyber-attack, we were worried that their ability to operate might be fatally compromised," he said.

Following a report by the committee, the Government had started taking action to make the UK more resilient to cyber-attacks, but Arbuthnot said there was still plenty more to be done.

In the past months, the government has established a new computer emergency response team called CERT UK, to improve the coordination of national cyber incidents and to share technical information between countries. It also set up a new cyber incidence response team in GCHQ, to help organisations recover from a cyber-security attack.

"It's extending the role for the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, the CPNI, to work with all organisations that may have a role in protecting the UK's critical systems and intellectual property, and it has agreed with regulators in essential services a set of actions to make sure that important data and systems in our critical, national infrastructure continue to be safe and resilient,” Arbuthnot said.

However, he pointed out, as the emerging cyber threat is evolving with ever increasing speed and in unpredictable directions, it is key to boost skills, mechanisms and policies to address the challenge.

Labour MP Madeleine Moon (Bridgend) questioned whether employers would be particularly happy to see their cyber experts working with the reserves due to security concerns.

"They are worried about someone who has been in our cyber reserve being able to transfer to work in another country, or to merely travel through a country perhaps on business or on holiday and actually being prone to personal attack because of the information they would hold, not only on their company but on the UK's cyber defence capability,” she said.

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1605

"We visit Barcelona, one of the smartest cities in the world, to find out what makes it so special. What does it look like and what is the future?"

E&T jobs

  • Senior Development Engineer, Electronics

    Premium job

    Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation
    • Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire
    • Competitive

    We are an innovative, robust and fast growing business, whose main focus is to deliver continues improvement to existing products and offer new sol..

    • Recruiter: Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation

    Apply for this job

  • Smart Grid Research Engineer

    Premium job

    University of Strathclyde
    • Cumbernauld, Glasgow
    • Grade: 6/7* £26,537 - £37,768*

    Work as part of a growing dynamic team on a wide range of technical projects with particular emphasis on experimental validation and testing

    • Recruiter: University of Strathclyde

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Asset Specialist

    Affinity Water
    • Hatfield, Hertfordshire

    Responsible for updating and writing electrical engineering standards, approved codes of practice and safe systems of work

    • Recruiter: Affinity Water

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Electronics Engineer

    York Instruments
    • York, North Yorkshire

    Senior electronics engineer to work as part of a team developing an MEG imaging system; working with the engineering team and external contractors.

    • Recruiter: York Instruments

    Apply for this job

  • Manufacturing Engineer - Circuit Card Assembly

    MBDA
    • Lostock Junction
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What’s the opportunity?   Manufacturing UK is an integral part of the Operations Directorate whose principal mission is to ensure that MBDA’s deliverable commitments are met...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • High Voltage Engineer

    Premium job

    Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment
    • Great Dunmow, Essex

    This High Voltage Engineer will provide design leadership for high voltage cable assemblies up to one megavolt.

    • Recruiter: Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment

    Apply for this job

  • Team Leader - Flank Arrays

    BAE Systems
    • Barrow-In-Furness, Cumbria, England
    • Negotiable

    Team Leader - Flank Arrays Would you like to work in a unique role within the construction of the Astute Class submarines? We currently have a vacancy for a Team Leader - Flank Arrays at our site in Barrow-in-Furness. As a Team Leader - Flank Arrays, you

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Electronics and Software Engineer

    Copley Scientific Ltd
    • Nottingham
    • circa £35,000 per annum + bonus

    Develop new test equipment for the pharmaceutical industry. Good opportunities to grow and develop. Successful family-owned and managed business.

    • Recruiter: Copley Scientific Ltd

    Apply for this job

  • Bridge Test Facility Manager

    BAE Systems
    • Shropshire, Telford, England
    • Negotiable

    Bridge Test Facility ManagerWe currently have a vacancy for a Bridge Test Facility Manager at our site in Telford with our Land UK business.As the Bridge Test Facility Manager, you will be part of our Test & Trials team, working closely with the Mili

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Intelligent Transport Systems Engineer - Highways Technology

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Birmingham, West Midlands

    Our transport technology team in Birmingham is currently growing a highly skilled and customer-focused team to...

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶

Subscribe

Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T