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UK cyber defense unit promises to 'strike back' at enemies

Alexis Santos

The UK government announced last December that it was building a "Cyber Reserve" to protect itself, and now it has a few more details to divulge. Crucially, rather than merely focusing on defending the country from attacks, it'll also have an "offensive capability" to help it act as a deterrent. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said Britain needs to be able to "strike back in cyber space against enemies who attack us, putting cyber alongside land, sea, air and space as a mainstream military activity."

Although it's a fair guess to suspect that other countries are honing offensive cyber skills too, the Financial Times reckons that the UK is the first nation to admit it's doing so. According to Hammond, the strikes could be used to disable enemy chemical weapons, communications, planes, ships and hardware. As for the forces carrying them out, they could be given a budget of up to £500 million ($800 million). Work on the Joint Cyber Reserve is already underway, with reservist recruitment scheduled to start next month. If the required physical military test intimidates you, there's nothing to worry about: a less rigorous version will be used to let those of us with desk-bound physiques protect (and fight for) the Queen.

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