China’s technological cyber threat is so grave that it could control the global operating system (OS), UK spy chief warned has warned.
The director of the UK’s intelligence and cyber agency GCHQ Jeremy Fleming said the country is now a global cyber power, reports ZDNet.
However, retaining that status in a fast-changing world is far from guaranteed, especially as China and Russia look to spread competing values and project cyber strength via the use of technology, it added.
“Cybersecurity is an increasingly strategic issue that needs a whole-nation approach. The rules are changing in ways not always controlled by the government,” Fleming was quoted as saying.
“And without action, it is increasingly clear that the key technologies on which we will rely for our future prosperity and security won’t be shaped and controlled by the West. We are now facing a moment of reckoning,” he added.
Fleming warned that elements of the global digital environment are at threat from authoritarian regimes and, if left unchecked, that could threaten the design and freedom of the internet as states with “illiberal values” look to mould cyberspace in their image, the report said.
“The threat posed by Russia’s activity is like finding a vulnerability on a specific app on your phone — it’s potentially serious, but you can probably use an alternative. However, the concern is that China’s size and technological weight means that it has the potential to control the global operating system,” said Fleming.
“In practice, that means that states like China are early implementors of many of the emerging technologies that are changing the digital environment. They have a competing vision for the future of cyberspace and are playing strongly into the debate around international rules and standards,” he added.