France to boost cyber warfare force
The French defence ministry on Wednesday announced plans to significantly boost the country's four-year-old cyber warfare force, citing the "growing number and gravity" of hacking attacks on the country.
The government had already planned to add an additional 1,100 recruits to a unit created in response to the growing number of cyber attacks on the West, mostly blamed on Russia and China.
Defence Minister Florence Parly told a cyber security conference in the city of Lille on Wednesday she had decided to go further to try make France "a cyber security champion".
Warning of a "Cold War in cyberspace" she said she would hire an extra 770 cyber combattants on top of an additional 1,100 already planned, bringing the force's staffing level to 5,000 by 2025.
France and other Western countries are alarmed over a growing number of increasingly aggressive cyber attacks, including data breaches and ransomware attacks, which typically see hackers encrypting victims' data and then demanding money for restored access.
Recent high-profile targets have included a US oil pipeline, Ireland's health service and India's flag carrier Air India.
Parly said that the French army needed to increase it use of the "cyber weapon".
"Our opponents do not shy away from doing so, whether state powers, terrorist groups or their backers," she said.