MI5 to open new cyber crime unit in London

A secure Facebook for cyber threats.

New Statesman
Photograph: Getty Images.

The British Security Service, often known as MI5, is planning to open a new unit at an undisclosed location in London to protect the UK companies from the growing threat of cyber attacks from China, Russia and Iran.

Around 12 officers from the Government Communications Headquarters and MI5 will work with business representatives to monitor potential threats. GCHQ, part of the UK’s National Intelligence and Security machinery, will analyse data traffic across the world, while MI5 will examine state-sponsored and terrorist threats to the UK.

Some 160 companies, mostly listed on the FTSE 100 and responsible for managing Britain’s critical national infrastructure, are involved in the scheme, creating what officials are calling a secure Facebook group for cyber threats.

A senior Whitehall official told the Financial Times: “The operational centre will give us a much richer picture than we have had before of what is going on in cyber space. The security service representatives will be able to tell business what threats are emerging in cyber space. In turn, the businesses will be able to tell the security services when they have been subjected to attack.”

Meanwhile, the British government has refused to disclose the list of cyber threat countries. Experts, however, say that the UK companies have cyber threats from China, Russia, and Iran. All three countries have denied the accusations citing that they are themselves the victims of hacking.

The new unit was formally known as the Cyber Security Information Sharing partnership.