In its new drama, The Undeclared War, Channel 4 is highlighting one of the greatest threats facing modern society— cyber warfare. This week, we are reflecting on the ever-blurring boundaries between gritty thrillers and real-life warnings, and considering what threats like this could mean for the future of both our industry and our country.
How Realistic is the Threat?
The Undeclared War is set in 2024, focusing on a team of GCHQ analysts who are attempting to protect the UK from cyber warfare as a general election grows ever closer. The creator of the show, Peter Kosminsky, wishes to call the show “a cautionary tale”, noting that “there are no techniques shown or strategies described that aren’t happening and aren’t real”. Whilst there is an undeniable element of tension inserted into the show, it is not unfounded; these are the sort of socio-political issues that are facing the world, as we become increasingly technologically advanced.
What is GCHQ?
GCHQ, or Government Communications Headquarters, is a branch of government that “provides support and guidance to make the UK safe, whilst pioneering a new kind of security for an ever more complex world”. With MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service, it forms the three UK Intelligence and Security Agencies. The public, by necessity, have limited information on what GCHQ does to protect us, but we do have several examples of its work; for example, the tracing of illicit online activity during British general elections to Russian actors.
What Does This Mean for our Future?
On a national level, GCHQ continues to protect us— but for personal technological safety, there are steps that we can take to ensure that our data is safe. Being careful about the links that you click (especially in suspicious emails), using strong passwords, and installing good antivirus software can help you to avoid drama in your own technological usage. For more information on cyber protection, you can contact the alphatech team here.
Image credit: Channel 4