Be very afraid! British Army might scrap battle tanks for keyboard warriors – report

Before you go all Colonel Blimp, remember it's budget-setting season


The British Army is looking at ditching its tank regiments and spending the money on keyboard warriors instead, according to reports.

Although the proposal to scrap the Army's 200-odd Challenger 2 main battle tanks is clearly a public talking point intended to rally support ahead of long-predicted cuts to defence spending, The Times reported today that "the changing character of warfare demands more investment in cybercapabilities, space and other cutting-edge technologies."

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been ploughing ever more time and effort into all things cyber, most recently raising a dedicated Security Operations Centre regiment after a previous Chief of the Defence Staff called for fat and wheezy techies to join up as cyber-squaddies.

Current Army thinking is that "digital", "cyber" and "autonomous" capabilities will be more valuable in future wars than battalions of riflemen or regiments of heavy armoured vehicles. They're not alone: earlier this year the Royal Navy issued a tender for robot submarines capable of withstanding depth charges.

man looks confused using ipad

UK's Ministry of Defence: We'll harvest and anonymise private COVID-19 apps' tracing data by handing it to 'behavioural science' arm

READ MORE

Rob Pritchard of the Cyber Security Expert consulting firm, an associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute think tank, opined: "This pervasive idea that investing in vague 'cyber capabilities' can somehow replace actual defence spending on things that are useful for defence has gone on way too long. When Putin sends tanks rolling across the eastern European border I'll be interested to see how much effect the 101st Hacking Division has against the heavy artillery."

Another recent MoD tech innovation is its jHub unit, which somehow inserted itself into the national conversation about fighting coronavirus. Military enthusiasts for blockchain, AI and behavioural science convinced themselves the Great British Public would be delighted if personally identifying health data was passed to jHub as part of an opaque data sanitisation exercise. This plan sank without trace along with the first iteration of the UK's COVID-19 contact-tracing app.

Britain is not alone in thinking cyber weaponry is becoming more important: last year French defence minister Florence Parly declared "cyber war has begun", saying that the Fifth Republic would attack its foes using cyber techniques as well as traditional methods of warfare. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Robotics and 5G to spur growth of SoC industry – report
    Big OEMs hogging production and COVID causing supply issues

    The system-on-chip (SoC) side of the semiconductor industry is poised for growth between now and 2026, when it's predicted to be worth $6.85 billion, according to an analyst's report. 

    Chances are good that there's an SoC-powered device within arm's reach of you: the tiny integrated circuits contain everything needed for a basic computer, leading to their proliferation in mobile, IoT and smart devices. 

    The report predicting the growth comes from advisory biz Technavio, which looked at a long list of companies in the SoC market. Vendors it analyzed include Apple, Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, TSMC, Toshiba, and more. The company predicts that much of the growth between now and 2026 will stem primarily from robotics and 5G. 

    Continue reading
  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022