Possible part-time spies for GCHQ
PART-TIME civilian spies might be recruited by intelligence agency GCHQ to help fight cyber crime.
Compute experts will work one to two days a week at Cheltenham headquarters, under plans being discussed by ministers.
The Daily Telegraph reported this morning that the move is part of an ongoing drive to harness the best skills in the combat the growing threat of hackers.
This comes after concerns about keeping staff at GCHQ, because of higher salaries being offered in the private sector.
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Ministers are now considering plans to hire these private workers while making sure national security was not at risk.
Jonathan Evans, director-general of MI5, said in June government secrets were being threatened by an extremely high level of cyber attacks.
Last week, Foreign Secretary William Hague said the threat of cyber crime was rising. He announced that £6 million would be spent in the next three years to advise other governments on how to deal with hackers sabotaging UK computer systems.
A GCHQ spokesman said the suggestion of a part-time army was "purely speculative".
The spokesman said: "We are constantly examining new ways to harness and attract the talents of cyber security specialists we need."