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Philip Hammond outlines £1.9 billion cybersecurity counter-attack

Chancellor will highlight legacy IT systems as a security hole for UK firms

Whitehall street sign outside the Cabinet Office

Businesses' legacy IT systems are at risk from increasingly sophisticated hackers, according to Chancellor Philip Hammond, who will spell out how the government is fighting back against cyber attacks today.

Hammond will use a speech at Microsoft's Future Decoded to detail how he intends to spend a 1.9 billion five-year cybersecurity budget first announced in March by his predecessor, George Osborne.

"Old legacy IT systems used by many organisations in the UK" will be cited as one major area of risk, according to the Guardian, and Hammond will launch the National Cyber Security Strategy to combat risks created by the Internet of Things (IoT).

"No longer the stuff of spy thrillers and action movies, cyber-attacks are a reality and they are happening now," said Ben Gummer, Cabinet Office minister, in a statement.

"Our adversaries are varied - organised criminal groups, 'hacktivists', untrained teenagers and foreign states."

Measures under the scheme include capabilities to shut down thieves' sites fronting as legitimate banking portals, as well as tools to intercept phishing emails.

Some money has been spent already on defending the UK against malware and spam, but some of it will also be allocated for hiring 50 IT security specialists to work in the National Crime Agency, according to the BBC.

As part of the scheme, Hammond will also set out a plan to create a Cyber Security Research Institute to group together UK universities on defending laptops, smartphones and tablets from hacking.

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