MoD: Cyber threat of increasing concern

Cyber crime

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has raised concerns over cyber threats facing the department, claiming it is ensuring levels of awareness are being addressed.

While the MoD has come under fire for its device losses in the past, it has now admitted worries over outside threats are rising.

"The risk presented to the department by threats to cyber security is of increasing concern," said accounting officer Bill Jeffrey, in an MoD report.

"The department is working to improve awareness of the risks of cyber attack, and capability to respond to it flexibly and effectively."

As for data security efforts, the department has introduced new measures such as encryption of removable storage devices.

The department has also ramped up its awareness initiatives to minimise data loss incidents and now 92 per cent of MoD workers have finished "the appropriate level" of training, Jeffrey said.

This has helped cut laptop losses from 326 in 2008-09 to 121 in 2009-10, he added.

Jeffrey also pointed out that a number of recent Judicial Reviews "have exposed limitations in the department's capacity to identify and retrieve information for legal disclosure."

There are flaws in the current systems, Jeffrey admitted, as they make it harder for the MoD to guarantee access to data needed to respond to time-critical judicial enquiries or other requests.

The department is now working on improving its data management infrastructure, he added.

Last month, it emerged 340 laptops worth around 620,000 had either been lost or stolen from MoD staff in the past two years.

Furthermore, 215 USB memory sticks and 13 mobile phones had gone missing, with personal data placed at risk.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.