Games 'not immune' to cyber attacks
UK Government computer networks are "regularly targeted" by foreign intelligence agencies and groups working on their behalf, a Cabinet minister has said.
And Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, speaking during a visit to Estonia, warned that this summer's London Olympics "will not be immune to cyber attacks by those who would seek to disrupt the Games".
Mr Maude said the UK was aware of the dangers from "the dark side of cyberspace", citing last year's launch of the National Cyber Security Programme and the decision to rate electronic attacks a tier one UK threat to national security, with £650 million allocated over four years to fund a response.
A dedicated unit is helping to guard the London Games against cyber-attack, he confirmed. And he announced that £400,000 was being committed this year to expanding the Get Safe Online campaign providing education, information and advice on internet safety.
Online offences including identity theft, phishing scams and card fraud were "some of the fastest-growing crimes in the UK", said Mr Maude, who has departmental responsibility for the Office for Cyber Security.
"A recent survey showed that one in seven large organisations have been hacked in the last year, with large organisations facing one outsider attack per week; small businesses face one a month," he said.
"Intellectual property theft through cyber crime is a major concern. Countries and organisations across the globe are losing billions of pounds each year to cyber criminals. UK Government networks continue to be regularly targeted by foreign intelligence agencies, or groups working on their behalf.
"And we know that the threat is accelerating. High-end cyber security solutions that were used 18 months ago by a limited number of organisations to protect their networks may already be out in the open marketplace - giving cyber criminals the knowledge to get round these protective measures.
"Our responses have to be fast and flexible. What works one day is unlikely to work a matter of months or even weeks later."
Mr Maude was speaking to the International Centre for Defence Studies in Estonia. During a three-day visit, he was also touring the Nato Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence and meeting President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Prime Minister Andrus Ansip.