British intelligence agency MI5 has hired many teenage hackers for its new secret operation to combat cyber terrorism.
At least 50 new computer-savvy hackers, including many teenagers, have been roped in the newly formed Cyber Operations Command, and they had to sign the Official Secrets Act, the Sunday Express reports.
The Act forbids them from telling their parents or girlfriends what they do in the windowless basement area in the Security Service building beside the Thames, the report adds.
The teenagers, most of whom are of Asian-origin, are subjected to the same high level of background security checks used to clear other intelligence staff.
The paper quoted Lord West as saying that these are youngsters who use their talents to stop other hackers from closing down this country.
MI5 head Jonathan Evans has reportedly told his staff to combat cyber warfare, which has been traced to China, Russia and Pakistan.
The hackers of Cyber Command, which works closely with the Pentagon, have also intercepted messages from terrorists in Belmarsh maximum security prison.
According to a report, British Security Minister Evans has revealed that over 1,000 hits were made on computers in Whitehall during the summer.
A confidential MI5 report also warned 300 banks and accounting firms that they are already under cyber attack from Chinese state organisations, the paper says.