MI5 chief Jonathon Evans has warned that UK internet vulnerabilities are allowing for an "astonishing” level of cyber-attacks on British industry. He said in a speech on Monday evening that these weaknesses were being taken advantage of by both cyber criminals and states alike.
Last year, the MOD said that they had investigated more than1000 attacks on their systems over the course of the previous year.
He also said that the upcoming Olympic Games, to be held in London, posed an "attractive target” for terrorist organisations but added that the Games would not be an easy target due to the level of security already in place. IT organisers for the event have been working for some time to ensure that systems are prepared for any form of attack or system failure; a number of test runs and scenarios have taken place over the course of the past year.
It’s thought that surface-to-air missiles could be deployed during the games at six different sites in the UK capital.
"This is a threat to the integrity, confidentiality and availability of government information but also to business and to academic institutions," Mr Evans warned.
"What is at stake is not just our government secrets but also the safety and security of our infrastructure, the intellectual property that underpins our future prosperity and... commercially sensitive information."
Evans also said that current plans to push through ‘snooping laws’ were necessary in order to tackle online criminal activity, including terrorism.
"It would be extraordinary and self defeating if terrorists and criminals were able to adopt new technologies... while the law enforcement and security agencies were not permitted to keep pace with those same technological changes," he commented.
In other, related news, Ofcom are due to announce the Digital Economies Act’s draft "initial Obligations Code today. The controversial bill is intended to help fight online piracy but has been criticised ever since it was pushed through by Labour, just before they lost power.
It has been described as ill-thought out and an infringement on people’s civil liberties and is expected to push up communications costs which will eventually be felt by the end user.
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: "These measures are designed to foster investment and innovation in the UK’s creative industries, while ensuring internet users are treated fairly and given help to access lawful content.
"Ofcom will oversee a fair appeals process, and also ensure that rights holders’ investigations under the code are rigorous and transparent.”