GCHQ has warned that the cyber sercurity threats against national security has doubled in just a year.
It has been reported that the agency recorded 200 cyber attacks in a single month, this includes state-sponsored attacks. Some also target organisations such as banks and other businesses. To compare, the figure was just one hundred last summer, according to The Telegraph.
GCHQ also has had access to the US internet monitoring programme PRISM since at least June 2010. PRISM is said to give the National Security Agency and FBI easy access to the systems of nine of the world’s top internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, and Skype.
In February 2014, The Guardian, based on documents provided by Snowden, revealed that GCHQ had indiscriminately collected 1.8 million private Yahoo webcam images from users across the world. In the same month NBC and The Intercept, based on documents released by Snowden, revealed the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group and the CNE units within GCHQ. Their mission was cyber operations based on “dirty tricks” to shut down enemy communications, discredit, and plant misinformation on enemies. These operations were 5% of all GCHQ operations according to a conference slideshow presented by the GCHQ.
While the number of actual cyber attacks could be more than what GCHQ identifies, the intelligence agency records attacks that pass a certain threshold in their criteria of seriousness. Personal hacking attacks on civilian home computers may not be recorded as serious attack.
However, cyber attacks on banks, nuclear establishments and power plants will be identified and recorded by the agency. In addition, organised crime group cyber attacks are also recorded. In worse cases, state-sponsored hackings are also identified.
GCHQ did not mention any state or nation that they had caught snooping around in the UK’s network.