The UK government is taking warnings about cyber crime seriously, allocating an extra £500 million (€567 million) to defending critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks.
It increased the spend on cyber-defense despite preparing to reveal cuts in public spending designed to reduce the national debt, after warnings cyber crime ranks alongside physical terror attacks and natural disasters in terms of the threat posed.
A National Security Strategy review, published yesterday, also warns of the potential for satellite transmissions to be blocked by hostile states and a possible rise in organized crime targeting the UK.
Ministers are concerned about the potential to disrupt essential services like power supplies, which are increasingly controlled via networks.
Iain Lobban, head of the UK’s GCHQ listening post, last week warned that cyber attacks are now the biggest threat to the country’s critical infrastructure and called for a coordinated response from the government and industry.
However, home secretary Theresa May revealed the UK is not alone in worrying about cyber attacks, telling the BBC that a senior US intelligence officer fears they will be the country’s next Pearl Harbor.
Australian security experts this week expressed concerns over the security of the country’s NBN next-generation network noting that it is a critical piece of infrastructure and that decisions made now will affect the country for the next 30 to 40 years.
Individual country’s fears were recently fuelled by the Stuxnet bot, believed to be the first malicious software that specifically targets supervisory control and data acquisition systems – in this case a Siemens system used to control oil pipelines, power grids and nuclear plants.
And the annual Kroll report shows data theft has now overtaken real thefts as the main problem for global businesses.