The UK and US intelligence agencies are going to conduct transatlantic cyber “war games” in order to test their resilience to the global cyber attacks. The heads of the two countries have started negotiations on the topic and will announce that a simulated attack will target banks in the City of London and Wall Street later in 2015.
The simulated “war game” against the financial sector will be carried out with the help of specialists of the Bank of England and other financial institutions and coordinated by a new joint “cyber-cell” of the two countries. The latter will be created by agents from GCHQ and MI5 on the UK side and the NSA and the FBI on the US side.
The US and UK leaders do not underestimate the threat of Islamist extremists in Syria, Iraq and in Europe and the dangers represented by cyber-warfare. Obama pointed to the “urgent and growing danger” posed by cyber attacks, and the example was a recent attack on Sony Pictures. Previously, the president spoke of the need for a “shared mission” with the participation of the government and the private sector. Considering that most of the “critical infrastructure” of the United States is owned by the private sector and runs on networks connected to the Internet, the conclusion can be made that neither the government nor the private sector can defend the nation alone.
Cooperation between the US and the UK is supposed to pool their effort and allow them stay one step ahead of those who seek to attack. The heads of the states believe that the joint exercises and training of the next generation of cyber experts may ensure that the countries have the capability required to protect critical sectors like energy, transport and financial infrastructure from the potential threats.
In the meantime, David Cameron has some questions to ask Obama and will apparently press him to influence the tech giants, including Facebook and Twitter, to intensify their efforts in cooperating with the intelligence agencies, which want to monitor the communications of suspected terrorists. David Cameron has announced his plans a few days ago to build a stronger legal framework that would allow intelligence agencies to break into encrypted communications of the suspects, but he needs support of the US-based companies, including the largest social media websites.