British government is to massively expand its cyber warfare infrastructure with the creation of a 2,000-strong unit that could absorb some 250 million pounds of annual funding and even more.
The Sky News reported on Thursday that the initiative would represent a near four-fold increase in manpower focused on United Kingdom’s offensive cyber operations.
It said that officials from the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) will be staffed to the plan by the British Ministry of Defense which is aimed at countering the increasing cyber threats from countries like Russia.
“By adopting offensive cyber techniques in the UK we are leveling the playing field and providing new means of both deterring and punishing states that wish to do us harm,” said General Sir Richard Barrons, a former commander of Joint Forces Command.
Some sources said that the annual budget earmarked for the new project will even exceed 250 million pounds.
Britain has claimed that it has faced numerous cyber attacks from Russia over the past few years. Moscow denies the allegations. The two countries have also been at odds over the alleged poisoning of a former Russian double spy. British authorities have accused Russian government of direct involvement in the incident in March in the southern English city of Salisbury. Russia has rejected the claims, saying it is a scenario staged by British intelligence agencies to further undermine the bilateral relations.
British authorities admitted recently that they had used cyber weapons for the first time to fight Daesh, a terrorist group that has now been almost obliterated from its bastions in Iraq and Syria.