Cyber attacks on the UK are at ‘disturbing’ levels, the director of the Government’s Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) warns.
Iain Lobham said the UK’s “continued economic wellbeing” was under threat. Writing in the Times, he said sensitive data on government computers had been targeted, along with defence, technology and engineering firms’ designs.
Lobham revealed there had been “one significant (but unsuccessful) attempt on the Foreign Office and other government departments this summer”.
Foreign Secretary William Hague told the newspaper there was an "exponential rise" in incidents, with systems such as welfare and tax databases "liable to attack".
"Countries that cannot maintain cyber security of their banking system, of the intellectual property of their companies, will be at a serious disadvantage in the world," Hague said.
Lobham called for an inclusive approach, adding: "We are witnessing the development of a global criminal market place - a parallel black economy where cyber dollars are traded in exchanged for UK citizens' credit card details."
Lobham’s article comes ahead of a London summit on cyber-security this week, which will be attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as other senior representatives from other governments, and leading industry experts.