‘The Undeclared War’: A Warning of What’s to Come?

If there’s one thing that television excels at, it’s providing a narrative that alludes to real-life events. The recent Channel 4 political drama, ‘The Undeclared War’ tells a story of the UK coming under threat from a cyber-attack, and the potential that this is the new form of war. Whilst the show obviously exaggerates for effect, it does provide a very real problem that we are likely to face in the future regarding data security.

‘The Undeclared War’ takes place in the Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) which exists in the real world as a place that identifies and prevents online threats to the UK. Think of them as like MI5, but for online security. The show explains the situations that businesses will face in the future – showing the development of technology has both positive and negative connotations. The more businesses that are subject to data breaches, the more users that are open to scams and attacks! Within the narrative, BT and half the country is targeted and taken down, providing nationwide chaos. This is unlikely to happen due to protections already in place, but it is not impossible.

This illustrates the real-life hunt for malware, and the impact that they have the potential to cause. The show essentially shows the race between cyber-attacks and protection, and what one will go the furthest. Despite its exaggeration, ‘The Undeclared War’ provides education on cybersecurity, providing information on aspects such as stress tests and sandboxes.

  • Stress test – This sees if code will fall apart under pressure and sees if malware is hiding.
  • Sandbox – This is where code is implemented to see if you can find and trap the virus – almost like a vault.

As mentioned before, businesses have procedures in place to protect from attacks, but well-executed attacks can bypass sub-par security. The average person should not be worried about being attacked themselves, but an individual is more likely to suffer from a business’ data breach as data can be used against you. Businesses will likely have more information on you than you actually realise!

‘The Undeclared War’ teaches us a lesson about how to handle data correctly, and how badly we can be affected by cyber-attacks. By not investing in security, and mishandling data, this can lead to dire consequences from small to large scales. However, a cyber-attack that takes down the entirety of the UK is unlikely, but you should make sure that you know who has your personal data and know what to do in the case of a data breach.

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