31/10/2011

Cyber Attacks 'Disturbing'

A director at the intelligence agency has revealed the UK has been subject to a "disturbing" number of cyber attacks.

The Director Of Communications at the intelligence agency GCHQ, Iain Lobban, said sensitive data on government computers had been targeted, along with defence, technology and engineering firms' designs.

Writing in The Times on Monday, Mr Lobban said there was a "significant" unsuccessful internet-based attack on Foreign Office computer systems this summer.

"I can attest to attempts to steal British ideas and designs – in the IT, technology, defence, engineering and energy sectors, as well as other industries – to gain commercial advantage or to profit from secret knowledge of contractual arrangements," said Lobban.

"Such intellectual property theft doesn't just cost the companies concerned. It represents an attack on the UK's continued economic wellbeing.

"We are also aware of similar techniques being employed to try to acquire sensitive information from British government computer systems, including one significant (but unsuccessful) attempt on the Foreign Office and other government departments this summer."

On Tuesday, the Government hosts a two-day conference to analyse the UKs Cyber defence strategy.

Foreign Secretary William Hague convened the London Conference following criticism that not enough was being done on the issue.

It aims to bring together political leaders, such as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU digital supremo Neelie Kroes, with leading cyber security experts and technology entrepreneurs such as Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Cisco vice-president Brad Boston.

(DW)

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