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15 February 2021

UK’s National Cyber Force (NFC)

I didn’t know what to write this week in the blog but I wanted to write. I’ve been reading about the new European Cybersecurity Policy, which is still a draft policy. I’ve been also reading about FortiNAC, F5 BIG-IP, Kubernetes & Nginx but I didn’t feel like writing about it. Finally, I’ve come across a news, I saved weeks ago, about the new National Cyber Force (NCF) announced by the UK government. Therefore, I’m going to write about this new taskforce and what are the principal objectives of the NCF.

At the end of the last year, the UK Primer Minister announced a new partnership: the National Cyber Force (NFC). This new partnership is the result of cooperation of four organizations: MoD, GCHQ, MI6 and DSTL. In fact, these four organizations are going to collaborate under one unified command for the first time. It seems there is no other organization like this in the world, to date. This specialist cyber unit is going to multiply tenfold the number of government employees in offensive cyber and cyber-crime roles over the next ten years, which are to be drawn from security services, the military and industry.

What’s amazing is that this specialist cyber unit has the objective to degrade, disrupt and even destroy communications systems of those that pose a security threat. Therefore, they can use whatever they want, such as hacking tools, intelligence information or deception tools, to attack to somebody, company or country who is a security threat for them. It’s also interesting the NFC will use behavioural science tactics to communicate with attackers to undermine their morale and dissuade them. All of these tactics are in contrast to the actual NCSC body which main function is to help the public sector, businesses and the public to respond to, and recover from, cyber incidents.

The change from defensive to offensive is the result of a comprehensive government review into security and defence policies. In fact, the defence spending will raise to 2,2% of GDP where there is also a budget for a new agency dedicated to Artificial Intelligence and a new "Space Command". This change, from defensive to offensive, is due to the fact that China and US are also changed to offensive operations in 2019. Moreover, Brexit and COVID-19 have increased the threats of hybrid warfare influencing the creation of NFC.

I would like to have more information about the Force’s activities but most of them will be secret and clandestine. In fact, the secrecy will be crucial for the success of operations. However, all operations will have to be approved by the government. We’ll see! As offensive operations will have to be coordinated with defensive operations, maybe, we’ll see a little bit weird defensive operations.

Have a nice day my friends! Did you know this Force?

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