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MoD appears to bolster cyber defenses as ransomware attacks ramp up

The Ministry of Defense (MOD) has announced its intention to hire 300 scientists to combat cybercrime and other threats from abroad.

The announcement comes a day after the National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC) warned of increasing ransomware attacks against the UK government and businesses.

The Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), which is part of the Ministry of Defence, said it plans to invest £6bn in R&D spending over the next four years to maintain its “strategic advantage”.

The 300 features will be advertised this summer with more to come in 2022 and include roles in cybersecurity, electronics, data and AI. It is clear that the roles will include a focus on the threats of the future, such as increased hostility and aggression from Russia and China’s technological advancements, as well as the dangers of organized crime and terrorist groups and cyber hackers.

The recruitment drive is the largest in Dstl’s 20-year history and reflects the government’s stated ambition to make the UK a “science and engineering superpower” by 2030, with the ability to “monitor the country’s interests.

” “protect and defend”. Defense Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said: “Our investment of over £6 billion in research and development is at the heart of the evolution of defense and security.

“This will ensure that MOD’s science and technology programs upgrade and adapt our forces to face a range of future threats.” Dstl’s recruiting campaign paves the way for the next generation of highly skilled scientists to work on cutting-edge projects to design and build groundbreaking military equipment.

” Lindy Cameron, head of the National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC), warned during a lecture yesterday about the increasing trend of ransomware attacks in the UK.

Ransomware is a form of cyber attack that locks files and data on a user’s computer and demands payment to release them back to their owner. The high-profile WannaCry attack on NHS computers in 2017 was so severe it jeopardized patient care.

“Ransomware has traditionally been the domain of high-end cybercrime groups with access to advanced technical skills and capabilities in overseas jurisdictions that turn a blind eye, or otherwise fail to act or fail to prosecute these groups,” Cameron warned.

“But the ecosystem is evolving through what we call Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) and the as-a-service business model, where ransomware variants and commodity entries such as listed credentials are readily available for a one-time fee. or part of the profit.

“We know there are campaigns to recruit new affiliates and as a result, users can buy from developers without the costs and risks of developing themselves. “And that allows less experienced actors to acquire tools to launch their own ransomware attacks.

“As the business model has become more and more successful, with these groups securing significant ransom payments from large profitable companies that cannot afford to lose their data to encryption or suffer the downtime while their services are offline, the ransomware market is growing.

became bigger. professional.” Last month, a cyber attack on a vital US pipeline by a criminal group known as DarkSide caused oil prices to soar in the country.