Ethical, but tough: UK National Cyber Troops for the first time reported on their actions in three years of work
Royal hackers defend England from various cyber threats, disinformation campaigns and the destructive influence of all sorts of illegal associations.
The UK government has officially confirmed that the country’s National Cyber Force (NCF) is conducting offensive operations against unfriendly regimes and terrorist organizations.
Established in 2020, NCF has often been described as a product of partnership and cooperation between the country’s defense and intelligence agencies. The agency’s primary role, according to officials, is “to conduct active operations in cyberspace.” Although the government has never shared the details of what this means and what exactly the NCF does.
However, in recent press release The National Cyber Troops did share some information about what they have been doing for the past three years. The agency added the disclaimer that it could not disclose details due to the high level of secrecy, but said in general terms that it was involved in operations on a daily basis to eliminate terrorist groups, child sexual abusers and military opponents of the UK.
The NCF has also countered disinformation campaigns organized by foreign governments and even prevented outside interference in British political elections. Not worth talking about the usual ordinary fight against cyber threats, which goes without saying for this kind of organization.
“In an increasingly volatile and interconnected world, to be a truly responsible cyber power, a country must be able to challenge and compete with adversaries in cyberspace,” said Jeremy Fleming, director of the UK Government Communications Center (GCHQ).
“The National Cyber Troops complement the UK’s cyber resilience to provide the country with the operational cyber capabilities needed to defend a free, open and peaceful society,” Fleming added.
The agency also published a document titled ” Responsible Cyber Force in Practice to certify that all of its operations were in accordance with domestic and international law and were carried out responsibly.
The document notes that many unfriendly countries “regularly” conduct cyber operations to harm the country’s democracy, but it also states that the UK, as a “responsible democratic cyber power”, will not be likened to the methods of these countries, but will act exclusively in a legal and ethical manner.
There are three main principles according to which NCF operates: accountability, accuracy and calibration. Firstly, all operations are legal and ethical, and secondly, they are timed and precisely verified. And third, the impact of each operation is carefully assessed, and methods for achieving the goal are adjusted to eliminate unnecessary or ineffective types of impact.
The NCF does not hide the fact that sometimes the work of the agency may include covert operations to collect intelligence or counter IT networks or technologies used by adversaries, which can lead to disruption of communications in the systems they use, as well as obtaining other benefits for the UK. After all, not all conflicts in cyberspace can be resolved ethically and delicately.