Earlier this year Jonathan Evans, the Director General of MI5 (the UK Security Service), warned that cyber attacks against UK plc were as much of a security challenge as terrorism as far as Britain was concerned. He claimed that UK businesses were being targeted at an 'astonishing' rate driven by "many thousands of people lying behind both state-sponsored cyber espionage and organised cyber crime". Now Foreign Secretary William Hague has joined the fray to warn that "not an hour goes by when a system in the UK is not being attacked" and how hackers and foreign spies are 'bombarding' government departments and business alike.
The Telegraph newspaper reveals that intelligence sources it approached have stated that the true figure is closer to 1000 cyber attacks each and every hour. Attacks that attempt to either disable some systems or steal secrets from others, with infrastructure and communications disruption a favourite aim. My only surprise at this story is that the number is so low to be honest.
Only last year in the aftermath of a Zeus attack which infected British government computers, Hague warned that "sophisticated attacks such as these are becoming more common". Now he's referring to these attacks as "one of the greatest challenges of our time" and is calling on UK businesses to do their bit to ensure that Britain retains the 'Great' when it comes to cyber security.
Jay Huff, a director with HP Enterprise Security, reckons that the UK government has hit the issue firmly on the head. "It is clear that cyber crime is on the up and that as a result the impact is also ever increasing. By putting in place the right thorough procedures however, business can act early to help stave off the multitude of threats they are facing. Our research uncovered that companies using security intelligence technologies were more efficient in detecting and containing cyber attacks. As a result, these companies enjoyed an average cost savings of £0.4 million when compared to companies not deploying security intelligence technologies. However it also showed that compared to the USA, UK businesses suffer only about a third of the cost as a result of cyber crime".