by Charlie Osborne September 30, 2013 8:08 AM PDT The UK government is planning to recruit hundreds of computer specialists to defend core infrastructure against cyberthreats, Conservative Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said Sunday. Speaking at the annual Conservative party conference, Hammond said the United Kingdom was dedicating additional resources and funds to building a strong cyber intelligence and surveillance network, according to Reuters . As cybercrime continues to prove a lucrative way for hackers to steal valuable data for profit or as part of state-sponsored jobs — and many governments struggle to catch up and protect networks adequately against rising attacks — defense budget funds now need to not only consider physical threats, but digital warfare as well. Hammond commented: “Last year our cyber defenses blocked around 400,000 advanced malicious cyber threats against the government’s secure internet alone, so the threat is real. But simply building cyber defenses is not enough: as in other domains of warfare, we also have to deter. Britain will build a dedicated capability to counterattack in cyberspace and if necessary to strike in cyberspace.” In February, the National Audit Office named “addressing the UK’s current and future ICT and cybersecurity skills gap” as a “key challenge.” The NAO report was published as part of the UK’s 650 million pound ($1.09 billion) Cyber Security Strategy scheme, and said it could take “20 years” to address the skills gap at all levels of education. Not only could a dedicated task force of offensive security experts deter hackers in the future, but the Defence Secretary told the Mail on Sunday that cyberstrikes could work “alongside conventional weapons in future conflicts,” disabling communications, nuclear weapons, ships and critical hardware. To establish the new cybersecurity force, the UK will recruit experts in their hundreds from a number of fields. The recruitment drive will include civilian computer experts who will be part of the “Joint Cyber Reserve,” and their role will be to work alongside members of the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ to protect critical infrastructure and prevent data theft. The cost of the program was not disclosed, but recruitment is due to begin in October. Hammond commented : “Increasingly, our defense budget is being invested in high-end capabilities such as cyber and intelligence and surveillance assets to ensure we can keep the country safe. The cyber reserves will be an essential part of ensuring we defend our national security in cyber-space. This is an exciting opportunity for Internet experts in industry to put their skills to good use for the nation, protecting our vital computer systems and capabilities.” The UK is also seeking ways to train the next generation of cyberspecialists. In May, two UK universities — Oxford and Royal Holloway — were granted 7.5 million pounds in funding to help develop the country’s skills in online security.
Rules on how companies are audited, drawn up by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), are mandatory in Britain and elsewhere in the European Union, but a decision in 2010 to drop a specific reference to prudence has been questioned by some investors. Prudence requires accountants to err on the side of caution when treating something not covered by a specific IASB rule and the investors said its omission from the foundation for the IASB’s rules, known as the conceptual framework, was inconsistent with some EU and British laws. They argued it could help banks mask any problems they were suffering, a particular concern given banks were given a clean bill of health just before taxpayers had to rescue them in the 2008 financial crisis. One of the critics, Tim Bush of shareholder pressure group Pirc, challenged the IASB rules in a 24-page letter in 2010 in his role as member of a UK Accounting Standards Board committee. Britain’s government is “entirely satisfied that the concerns expressed are misconceived”, consumer affairs minister Jo Swinson said in a statement on Thursday. Melanie McLaren, a director at the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), which regulates accounting in Britain, said the government statement, backed by a legal opinion for the FRC, ended the uncertainty over accounting practices. “We felt we needed to listen to the investors and give the matter due consideration. Having done that we needed to make sure we were quite firm to close that uncertainty down as we approach the financial year-end,” McLaren told Reuters. Bush said the debate over IASB rules could continue. He told Reuters it was difficult to see how the matter is conclusively settled if there is a situation where the latest legal opinion seemed to be disagreeing with an earlier opinion and also with other judges and a Law Lord. The IASB is reviewing its conceptual framework and the UK government and FRC maintain a reference to prudence should be reinserted. “It’s not as if there is no concept of exercising caution in the conceptual framework, but we feel it has been de-emphasised,” McLaren said. IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst has so far resisted such calls, saying prudence was there “in spirit”. A 2011 report from Britain’s upper legislative chamber, the House of Lords, said the IASB rules led to a “culture of box-ticking and ‘neutrality’ at the expense of prudence”, especially for auditing banks. “The government should reassert the vital role of prudence in audit in the UK, whatever the accounting standard,” it said.
UK mother of starved boy jailed for 15 years
3, 2013. Mother of eight Hutton has been found guilty Thursday in the manslaughter of her four-year-old son Hamzah Khan. (AP Photo / West Yorkshire Police) | AP Get Crime Newsletters: Subscribe Follow: Amanda Hutton , Crime , Amanda Hutton Sentence , Amanda Hutton Starves Son , Hamzah Hutton , Mom Starves Son Orders Pizza , Mother Starves Son Orders Pizza , Crime News LONDON — LONDON (AP) An alcoholic British mother who let her 4-year-old son starve to death and left his body in a cot for almost two years was sentenced Friday to 15 years in jail. Judge Roger Thomas said Amanda Hutton had failed “to fulfill the most basic responsibilities that you, as a mother, should have fulfilled.” The mummified body of Hutton’s son, Hamzah Khan, was found by police at the family’s home in Bradford, northern England, in September 2011. He had died in December 2009. The judge said the boy was wearing clothing made for a 6- to 9-month-old child. “Although it beggars belief that such a thing can happen, it has, of course, happened here,” the judge said. He told Hutton: “It has done so through your purposeful, persistent and gross conduct in failing in that most basic and fundamental requirement that is upon every parent, to feed her child adequately.” Hutton was convicted of manslaughter Thursday at Bradford Crown Court. The judge said the 43-year-old mother of eight had an alcohol problem and that “you placed your own selfish addiction to drink well before your responsibilities to your many children.” The judge said Hamzah’s body was only discovered after a rookie police support officer visited the house following complaints from neighbors about dirty diapers being thrown into their yard. The officer became concerned that something was seriously wrong. Hutton admitted neglecting five of her older children, aged between 5 and 13. The judge said they were found in “appalling conditions of squalor,” in a house strewn with pizza boxes, used diapers, vodka bottles and cat feces and containing the dead body of their brother.