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February 12, 2013

UK experiences 120,000 cyber attacks each day

Cyber attacks in the UK cost the country up to £27bn each year.

By Tineka Smith

A report by the National Audit Office warned that the IT skills shortage in Britain could make it vulnerable against cyber attacks for the next 20 years.

The UK suffered over 40 million cyber attacks in 2011.

The findings have spurred a proposal for science and technology to be encouraged in school curriculums to ensure that the number of cyber security professionals meets security demand in the future.

"The threat to cyber security is persistent and continually evolving," said Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office. "Business, government and the public must constantly be alert to the level of risk if they are to succeed in detecting and resisting the threat of cyber attack.

"It is good that the Government has articulated what success would look like at the end of the programme. It is crucial, in addition, that progress towards that point is in some form capable of being measured and value for money assessed."

Cybercrime currently costs the UK between £18bn and £27bn annually.

As the level of risk continues to increase Paul Davis, director of Europe at FireEye security firm says that the government, businesses and general public must be constantly alert in order to be successful in detecting cyber attack threats.

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"It is hardly surprising that we are deemed unprepared to tackle current cyber security threats – as until recently, there has been a long-standing culture of complacency when it comes to proper cyber defence," said Davis. "While it is true that our national bank of computer experts is light in comparison to the number of cybercriminals attempting to break into our networks, there is also the issue that widespread overreliance on obsolete security tools and low awareness of the advanced tactics used by hackers is leaving too many networks wide open to attack.

"The stakes have never been higher, and cyber security is no longer a conversation restricted to the IT team – it is an enterprise-wide concern that must be treated as such. The advanced capabilities of hackers and the increased storage of highly sensitive data has created a perfect storm for cybercrime, and it is essential that board level executives are able to gauge the vulnerabilities within their organisation, and understand what investments must be made to combat that security risk.



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