Cybersecurity Espionage

The UK is readying itself for the ‘fourth generation of espionage’ according to the head of MI6, Alex Younger, in order to cope with the growing ‘hybrid threats’ of cyberattacks, fake news and interference in domestic politics.

The 55-year-old Younger – or “C” as he is known in MI6 spy slang – is set to warn Russia, in particular, to never underestimate the UK’s ability to hit back in the wake of the recent nerve-agent attacks in Salisbury.

Fourth-gen espionage

Younger is set to address students at his alma mater, St Andrew’s University in Scotland, later this month to explain his strategy to develop MI6 to cope with the numerous threats – both virtual and real – that he sees emerging in the new world order.

Specifically, Younger will focus on issues of national cybersecurity – the spread of fake news by online social networks and attempts by Russia and other hostile states to use these and other new and emerging technologies to interfere in domestic politics and elections.

MI6 needs to update many of its traditional techniques that were developed during the two world wars, the cold war and after 9/11, to counter these new types of ‘hybrid attacks’, Younger will explain.

The MI6 boss will urge Russia “or any other state intent on subverting our way of life not to underestimate our determination and our capabilities or those of our allies”.

Fusing human and artificial intelligence

MI6 needs to fuse the information it gets from human intelligence with information from artificial intelligence (AI), as Younger is set to explain:

“The era of the fourth industrial revolution calls for a fourth generation of espionage: fusing our traditional human skills with accelerated innovation, new partnerships and a mindset that mobilises diversity and empowers the young…

“I want to speak to young people who have never seen themselves in MI6 … it doesn’t matter where you are from. If you want to make a difference and you think you might have what it takes, then the chances are that you do have what it takes, and we hope you will step forward…

“That was the way I was recruited. We have to go to people that would not have thought of being recruited to MI6. We have to make a conscious effort. We need to reflect the society we live in.”Via The Guardian

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