The teenager, who could not be named for legal reasons, is charged with planning terror attacks on the school and other local targets in Leicestershire in central England. Speaking at the boy’s trial, prosecutor Max Hill said the teenager kept a book called “Spree Killers” and had noted down the number of people killed at Columbine and by Anders Behring Brevik in Norway in 2011. Hill added that Facebook chat records showed the boy claimed he wanted to “take some Muslims down” and named a local mosque, a cinema, and government offices in the town of Loughborough as potential targets. The defendant, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, was arrested in February after being found with a machete. Police searching his home later found weapons, including ammunition, partially-assembled gasoline bombs and other explosives. He denies terrorism offenses but has admitted possessing bomb parts. “He denied he had anything other than a genuine interest in the Columbine massacre,” Hill said. Testifying at a London court, a science teacher at the boy’s school said the defendant looked at guns online while he was at school and asked for advice about firearms and making explosives. “He was encouraging me to look at the guns and make some sort of judgment about whether it was a good gun,” said the teacher, who also could not be named to protect the identity of the teenager. “He asked me which gun I would prefer to be shot with.” The teacher and another witness, a former friend of the accused, added that the boy was known to launch tirades abusing people of Muslim and Jewish faiths. Join the Discussion You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
UK gears up for cyberwarfare offensives
Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor LONDON | Wed Oct 2, 2013 9:46am BST LONDON (Reuters) – British construction activity eased slightly in September from a near six-year high in August, a survey of purchasing managers showed on Wednesday, but residential construction rose at its fastest rate in nearly a decade. The Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers index (PMI)edged down to 58.9 from 59.1 but was still well above the 50 threshold that separates growth from contraction. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 59.2. All three sub-sectors of construction grew last month, with the sharpest rise in housing since November 2003, potentially easing some concerns about Britain’s shortfall of new homes. “Construction is no longer the weakest link in the UK economy,” said Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit. “The third quarter of 2013 ended with output growth riding high amid greater spending on infrastructure projects and resurgent house building activity,” he said. Optimism was also up, with 51 percent expecting output would rise over the next 12 months and only 9 percent of respondents predicting a fall, the highest level of confidence since August 2010. Employers created jobs for the fourth straight month. “Having been in the doldrums for so long, builders are using this renewal as a platform to invest, with employment seeing the most dramatic upturn in close to six years,” said David Noble, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply. PMI data on Tuesday showed Britain’s manufacturing activity grew at a slower rate than expected in September, but also showed that employment picking up. The Bank of England is keeping a close eye on the UK labour market, having said that it would not consider raising record-low interest rates until the jobless rate falls to 7 percent. On Friday, mortgage lender Nationwide said British house prices rose for the fifth straight month in September and hit record highs in London. The day before that, finance minister George Osborne asked the Bank of England to make annual assessments of his controversial “Help to Buy” housing programme to ensure that its support to lenders does not lead to a property bubble.
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.