Russian cyber attack could kill ‘thousands’ warns Defence Secretary

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The second warning over Russia hits the UK as the Defence Secretary pictures the worst case scenario.

The UK’s infrastructure is at risk of being crippled as Defence Secretary warns of the implications a cyber attack from Russia could bring to the country.

Gavin Williamson spoke to The Telegraph and warned that a cyber-attack from Russia could demolish the UK’s infrastructure, as well as cause “thousands and thousands and thousands of deaths”.

The warning from the Defence Secretary came at the start of a five-long month defence review after it became known last November that Russia had carried out hacks in the UK among its energy sector. Williamson explained that Russia was spying on the UK’s national infrastructure and how it connects to continental power supplies, wondering how to best aim to hurt the country, causing chaos.

“The plan for the Russians won’t be for landing craft to appear in the South Bay in Scarborough, and off Brighton Beach. They are going to be thinking, ‘How can we just cause so much pain to Britain?” he told The Telegraph.

“Damage its economy, rip its infrastructure apart, actually cause thousands and thousands and thousands of deaths, but actually have an element of creating total chaos within the country’.”

Russian cyber attack could kills ‘thousands’ warns Defence Secretary
Russia has been spying on the UK’s energy infrastructure for some time.

The implications of the attack could prove chaotic for the UK and its residents. Currently, Britain homes four undersea interconnectors for electricity and another three for gas. Together the interconnectors provide energy to a staggering three million homes, which is set to increase to eight with the addition of new connections being built over the next few years.

Williamson told the Telegraph that the potential attack from Russia is “The real threat the country is facing at the moment” warning that the country would not be spying on Britain’s infrastructure for no reason.

“Why would they keep photographing and looking at power stations, why are they looking at the interconnectors that bring so much electricity and so much energy into our country?

“What they are looking at doing is trying to do is spot vulnerabilities, because what they want to do is know how to strike it. They want to know how they can kill infrastructure and by killing that infrastructure that means hurting Britain and the British people.”

– GCHQ issued a warning over Russia last November
– Government CIOs focus on cyber security for 2018
– FTSE 350 boards not ready for attacks

Comments from Williamson have been perceived as somewhat hyperbolic. However, security minister Lord West agreed with the Defence Secretary saying he was “absolutely certain” Russia had been spying on Britain’s infrastructure with that intent.

The warning against Russia’s hacking arose last November, following an attack on the UK’s energy sector.