UK faces serious 'online juhadist attacks' : Security Minister

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London, Feb 2 (ANI): British security minister Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones has warned that the UK national infrastructure faces serious cyber threats from terrorists.

The Telegraph quoted her as saying that the government is not only developing defences against cyber attacks from hackers linked to countries like China and Russia, but finding out ways to destabilise terrorists seeking to shut down infrastructure such as power stations and communications networks.

Jones said there was a risk, "likely to grow over time" that terrorists will develop "serious cyber-attack capabilities."

Addressing a conference on online jihadism, she said: "In some form, a cyber-attack attempted by terrorists, if not inevitable, is of so great a likelihood that we bear it in mind in developing operational capabilities."

Neville-Jones also said that the internet was "increasingly the key resource" that links al-Qaeda's various groups and provides a tool for logistics, publicity and recruitment, helping spread techniques about weaponry, armaments and training and techniques for taking hostages, kidnapping and assassination, the paper said.

Although very little of such material is hosted in Britain, she said: "In some countries domestic legislation not only inhibits take downs but protects those who are hosting the relevant sites."

"We are beginning to find that action by the general public is an important and in many ways more powerful component in action to express society's disapproval of extremism and violence than that of government. We find that ISPs respond to complaints from their customers more willingly than to complaints from governments," she added.

She further raised concerns about cases like that of Roshonara Choudhry, who was jailed in November for stabbing the MP Stephen Timms after watching hours of extremist videos on Youtube. The website was later forced to take down many of the videos.

A new police squad, the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit, has been set up to receive public complaints about extremist websites and take them down, the paper said.

The Strategic Defence and Security Review had allocated 650 million pounds to improving cyber security in October. Although details of how the new budget will be carved-up across Whitehall are still being finalised, Neville-Jones said it is a priority to ensure that "terrorists find it hard to conduct cyber-attacks", it added. (ANI)

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