Convicted Hackers Could Go Legit With New UK Cyber Defence Unit

By Gerald Lynch on at

They've been given a slap on the wrist (or worse) for their clandestine computer network misbehaviours, but hackers could soon get the opportunity to do some legitimate work for a new UK cyber-security taskforce.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Lt Col Michael White said that the Joint Cyber Reserve Unit would be "looking at capability development, rather than setting hard and fast rules about individual personality traits," and that could include employing the skills of convicted hackers.

"I think if they could get through the security process, then if they had that capability that we would like, then if the vetting authority was happy with that, why not?" added White.

The £500m initiative is being organised by the Ministry of Defence, with recruitment kicking off in October. However, notable UK hackers have already moved to distance themselves from any possible recruitment. Mustafa al-Bassam, the youngest of the convicted Lulzsec hacking group, said that authorities would be difficult to trust following the GCHQ and NSA surveillance scandals.

"I can understand the need for a government to protect itself, but when you go ahead and stomp on everyone's civil liberties - as we've seen with all the mass surveillance stories that have been out over the past year - I think you can rest assured that you're going to repel talented people," he said. [BBC]