U.K. LAWMAKERS SOUND ALARM ON CYBERATTACKS

Wall Street Journal on July 10, 2013, reported that hostile foreign states are stepping up their cyberattacks on the U.K., British lawmakers said in a report that underscores a growing alarm within advanced economies about the threat posed by potential enemies online.

The U.K. parliament’s intelligence and security committee, which oversees Britain’s intelligence services, said in its annual report that the threat from cyberattacks “is at its highest level ever” and is expected to increase, according to evidence it received from the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters, or GHCQ, which monitors such attacks.

Foreign states are increasingly using professional hackers to break into computer systems and steal secrets from government departments and businesses, the committee said in a 57-page report, parts of which were redacted as too sensitive to publish.

“The threat the U.K. is facing from cyberattacks is disturbing in its scale and complexity. The theft of intellectual property, personal details and classified information causes significant harm, both financial and nonfinancial. It is incumbent on everyone—individuals, companies and the government—to take responsibility for their own cybersecurity,” the committee said.

The committee didn’t say which foreign states the security services believe are targeting the U.K. but its report noted that Russia and China are alleged to be involved in cyberattacks…

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The report highlights unease in nations such as the U.K. over their potential vulnerability to sophisticated hackers.

In the U.S., intelligence officials have also warned of the rising threat of cyberattacks to national and economic security and compared their concern more explicitly than they have done previously to the dangers posed by global terrorism.

The U.K. committee’s report said that in 2012 more than 200 email accounts of British government workers in 30 departments were targeted in an attempt by unidentified hackers to steal unspecified confidential information. Government departments were also targeted…

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In one assault, cyber attackers stole data from Britain’s Ministry of Defence, the report said, without providing any further details.

One area of major concern in both the U.K. and the U.S. is the financial system.

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In the U.K., Andrew Haldane, the Bank of England’s executive director for financial stability, said in recent but unrelated evidence to parliament that cyberattacks risked disrupting the stability of the financial system. U.S. regulators have warned banks to better arm themselves against hackers and other online criminals.

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In a sign of how seriously government ministers take the cyberthreat, Mr. Osborne said another £210 million ($312 million) of public money would be added to the £650 million budget for Britain’s cybersecurity program in 2015.

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