Thales launches £2m cyber security ‘battle lab' in the UK

Site will create a realistic but safe simulator environment for cyber security testing to take place

Defence company Thales has announced a new Cyber Integration & Innovation Centre that aims to help improve the security of the UK's critical national infrastructure and government organisations.

Thales described the £2 million centre as a 'battle lab', created to respond to the cyber threat facing the UK's critical national infrastructure. It is based at the company's Mountbatten House site in Basingstoke.

Sam Keayes, vice-president for security and consulting at Thales UK, said: "Cyber security is a pervasive problem that threatens at an individual, organisational and national level. The Cyber Integration & Innovation Centre is part of Thales's holistic response to the growing cyber security threat, which addresses connected cyber, physical and human security vulnerabilities."

The centre costs of three working system integration labs (SILs), which can be interconnected to create a replica of networks or training facilities. One of the labs is a critical national infrastructure lab, where Thales will test systems and carry out real-life integrations.

Activities to be carried out at the centre include cyber security research and development, including co-innovation with government, universities, SMEs and customers. The centre will also model customer networks to help clients understand the security implications of proposed changes, in a safe environment.

In addition, the centre will provide a 'simulator' environment, with the necessary tools, support and skills development activities, for Thales' cyber security consultants' training programme.

This includes the use of more than 6,000 pieces of malware to train security professionals staff to protect systems, spot vulnerabilities and respond to breaches in a controlled environment.

Furthermore, Thales will also test, validate and accredit the security of networks, products and systems at the site.

It expects to have more than a 100 cyber experts and consultants based out of the site when the team is complete.

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