Cyber crime: One of the biggest threats to UK security


The coalition Government has admitted cyber crime could do "grave damage" to the UK and has pledged to tackle the threat with a boost in funding.

In a document published today entitled "A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The National Security Strategy," cyber crime was listed amongst terrorism, chemical attacks and natural disasters as one of the biggest threats to the nation.

"[We are] more vulnerable because we are one of the most open societies in a world that is more networked than ever before," wrote Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, in a joint statement to accompany the report.

"Geographically Britain is an island but economically and politically it is a vital link in the global network. That openness brings great opportunities but also vulnerabilities."

The report pledged an extra 500 million to help tackle the danger cyber crime posed and outlined the need for a new strategy to face new threats.

"Businesses and Government will need to work much more closely together to strengthen our defence against cyber attacks and to prepare for the worst, so that if it happens, we are able to recover rapidly and keep Britain moving," the leaders added.

It is the first time cyber security has been recognised as a serious threat in the leagues of international terrorism and biological weapons.

In an interview with the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning, Home Secretary Theresa May reiterated how serious the threat was, but would not be drawn on saying which type of attack posed the biggest risk.

"I don't think it is terribly helpful at this phase to talk about equal threats I think what is important is for us to look at the priorities and how we will be addressing those," she said.

However, May added: "Cyber security is a very growing threat. It is a threat to Government, it is a threat to businesses and indeed to personal security."

"We have identified this and you just have to look at some of the figures. In fact over 50 per cent of the malicious software threats that have been identified ever [were] identified in 2009, so you can see the scale of the problem."

The report is a precursor to the Strategic Defence and Security Review, set to be launched in parliament tomorrow.

Both reports come on the same week as the Chancellor's Spending Review, due to be announced lunchtime on Wednesday, which is expected to see massive cuts announced for several Government departments.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.