The Sunday Times cited a number of security sources as saying that the Britain is ready "to launch an offensive cyber-attack against Russia if it targets the UK's critical national infrastructure," including the National Grid and the NHS.
The sources said that the UK cyber-intelligence agency GCHQ and the country's Defense Ministry are already on high alert to respond "proportionately", with cyber-experts "pre-positioned" inside computer networks of Russian targets.
"We know what's in the Russian playbook, kompromat (embarrassing information) type material, we're all prepared for that. […] It wouldn't be impossible that they get through in some way that really hurts us. If they aggressively come after us, we will certainly have the ability to do some stuff to them."
The Sunday Times recalled in this vein that since the alleged poisoning of the Skripals, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has received "intelligence risk assessments" pertaining to Russia's possible retaliation in the form of releasing "embarrassing material on members of May's Cabinet as well as highly-placed British ministers and MPs."
On Saturday, the Russian Embassy in Britain suggested that "it looks highly likely" that the 'BZ' nerve agent was used in the Salisbury incident, something that the embassy said was not mentioned in the final OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) report.
The embassy recalled that "BZ" is a chemical agent, used to temporary incapacitate people due to its psychotoxic effect which is reached in 30-60 minutes after the agent's application and lasts up to four days.
Earlier this week, the OPCW confirmed that the Skripals were poisoned with Novichok nerve agent, which contained almost no impurities.
The move was followed by the mass expulsions of Russian diplomats from the UK and more than 25 other countries, including the US, Canada and Germany.
Russia has refuted having any role in the Skripal case, pointing at the complete lack of evidence and requesting a joint probe into the matter.
*Novichok, commonly known as the A-234 nerve agent