British spy agency MI5 is hiring Asian teenage computer hackers to combat cyber terrorism which it claims has been traced to China, Russia and even Pakistan, a media report said.
And, as part of the process, MI5 has already hired 50 hackers — most of them Asians — to work in a newly formed top secret Cyber Operations Command which works closely with the Pentagon in the US, The Sunday Express reported.
Each has signed the 'Official Secrets Act' forbidding them to tell their parents or girlfriends what they do in the basement area in Security Service building beside the Thames.
MI5 head Jonathan Evans has told his staff that the recruits were essential to combat cyber terrorism which has been traced to China, Russia and Pakistan — the hackers have also intercepted messages from terrorists in Belmarsh maximum security prison, the newspaper said.
In a report to Lord West, the Security Minister, Evans has revealed that during the summer over 1,000 hits were made on computers in Whitehall. Other targets have been air traffic control, power stations and the city of London.
Evans sent a confidential memo to some 300 banks and accounting firms warning they "are already under cyber attack" from Chinese state organisations.
The teenagers are subjected to the same high level of background security checks used to clear other intelligence staff. Lord West called them "youngsters who use their talents to stop other hackers from closing down this country".