Chancellor Hammond Vows UK Would Retaliate Against Cyber-Attacks

Chancellor Philip Hammond has publicly announced that the UK will strike back against any nation launching cyber-attacks on the UK’s critical national infrastructure. The statement was issued when the Chancellor unveiled an expanded $1.9bn, five-year national cyber security strategy. Even though the announcement for funding was already made by Hammond’s predecessor George Osborne in November 2015, the Britain’s vow to take offensive against attackers and not simply turn the other cheek.

Moreover, Hammond highlighted tactics and strategy around cyber security to protect the nation’s critical national infrastructure and business. Earlier in October, Defense secretary Sir Michael Fallon had claimed that Britain used cyber warfare against ISIS as part of the bid to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul. Addressing Microsoft’s Future Decoded conference in London on Tuesday, Hammond alleged that “we will deter those who seek to steal from us, or harm our interests,” adding that “we will strengthen law enforcement to raise cost and reduce rewards.”

Mr. Hammond promised the UK would “continue to invest in cyber defense capabilities – the ability to trace and retaliate in kind is likely to be the best deterrent.” He explained that “if we don’t have the ability to respond in cyberspace to attack that takes down power networks or air traffic control systems we would be left with the impossible choice of turning the other cheek or resorting to a military response – that’s a choice we don’t want to face.” He pointed out that “no doubt the precursor to any state-on-state conflict would be a campaign of escalating cyber-attack. We will not only defend ourselves in cyberspace but will strike back in kind when attacked.”

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