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MoD to recruit 'hundreds' of cyber security experts

The UK is building up its cyber defences

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced plans to hire 'hundreds' of cyber security experts in order to fully embed cyber capabilities in the UK's defences.

It follows defence minister Nick Harvey's acknowledgment earlier this week that the UK is building a 'toolbox' of cyber weapons that will form an "integral part of the country's armoury", and coincides with the launch of the second year of the Cabinet Office-backed Cyber Security Challenge UK. The challenge aims to promote cyber security skills and identify future talent for the industry.

"Our forces depend on computer networks, both in the UK and on operations around the world. But our adversaries present an advanced and rapidly developing threat to these networks.

"Future conflict will see cyber operations conducted in parallel with more conventional actions in the sea, land and air operations. Therefore we must plan, train, exercise and operate in a way which integrates our activities in both cyber and physical space," the MoD said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the MoD said that exact numbers of cyber security recruits have not yet been confirmed and precise details are classified, but that the number will be in the "hundreds".

"We will grow a cadre of dedicated Cyber experts to support our own and allied cyber operations and secure our vital networks," the MoD said.

In addition, the MoD said that the Defence Cyber Operations group, headed up by Major General Jonathan Shaw, is part of the government's aims to integrate cyberspace into its defence capabilities, by bringing together expertise from across the defence department, including the armed forces, and its science and technology community.

Chancellor George Osborne recently said that hundreds of attempts were made to hack into the Treasury's computer system last year, averaging at least one a day, while the Norwegian military admitted to being hit by a potentially serious targeted cyberattack in March.

Defence and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin also last week acknowledged that its information systems network had been a target of a "significant and tenacious attack".

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