...By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.
Revealed: UK National Cyber Force and its Tactics
The UK’s National Cyber Force (NCF) has come out of the shadows for the first time. The top-secret force of hundreds of cyber experts and spies from GCHQ, the Ministry of Defence, and MI6 was established in 2020 to combat a range of threats to the UK, prevent terrorism and support military operations.
The NCF has been shrouded in secrecy until now but is now revealing some of its tactics to counter enemy states, criminals, and terrorists.
James Babbage, a high-ranking spy who has worked at GCHQ for almost 30 years, is publicly identified for the first time in the document outlining the unit’s operations.
The commander of the NCF leads a large team infiltrating digital communications of hostile states, influencing their systems to “sow distrust” and create doubt in their own data and decision-making.
The NCF’s tactics include paralyzing enemy technology to prevent critical communication and fiddling with IT networks to limit states’ ability to use the internet to spread disinformation.
The document highlights how the targeted lightning strikes of the NCF have an effect on an adversary’s understanding, capability, and willpower to change its behavior by decreasing morale and weakening the ability of hostile states to plan and conduct activities effectively.
Other tactics include trying to win over “hostile actors” or calling out their destructive activities, forcing them to abandon their plans.
The unit’s tactics can also have a direct impact on battles fought many miles away as modern armies use sophisticated digital capabilities to command forces.
The NCF is due to grow to 3,000 workers in the next few years and has disrupted terrorist groups by spreading distrust among members, degrading their propaganda networks and preventing them from putting extremist media online.
Sir Jeremy Fleming, the director of GCHQ, said that the NCF has prevented tens of millions of pounds in fraud against the UK economy and safeguarded countless potential victims of crime around the world.
The release of this information on the NCF comes at a time when cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common, particularly those launched by state actors. The NCF’s tactics and expertise will be crucial in ensuring the UK remains protected against such threats.
The document also highlights the need for countries to be able to contest and compete with adversaries in cyberspace, as it is becoming an increasingly volatile and interconnected world.
The NCF complements the UK’s world-class cyber resilience and gives the country operational cyber capabilities at the scale needed to protect the UK’s free, open, and peaceful society.
The release of this information by the NCF is a positive step towards transparency and highlights the importance of continued investment in cybersecurity measures to protect against modern-day threats.