Boss of UK cyber security says threat could affect anyone
Hacking by foreign organisations and governments is putting UK companies out of business, Maj Gen Jonathan Shaw, the head of the Ministry of Defence’s cyber security programme, has told the Daily Telegraph.
Shaw told the newspaper that the UK was in danger of losing its position as one of the world’s leading homes of hi-tech manufacturers unless businesses get to grips with cyber security.
The Telegraph report tells the story of a company based in Warrington that went bust after hackers broke into its systems and stole blueprints for a new type of wind turbine blade and used them to produce cheaper versions.
"The biggest threat to this country by cyber is not military, it is economic. The cyber threat could affect anyone, and we all need to take measures to protect ourselves against the threat it poses," Shaw said. "If the moment you come up with a brilliant new idea, it gets nicked by the Chinese then you can end up with your company going bust."
Although he claimed the biggest threat to the UK’s cyber borders comes from the Chinese, Shaw also said business here could learn a lot from them in terms of protecting themselves. He said the government in China has implemented training schools to teach business about protecting their defences.
"Anyone can take part in these courses and learn how to implement effective precautions against cyber attacks. We should do the same here," he told The Telegraph.
Maj Gen Shaw also criticised the "cyber hygiene" in the UK, stating: "About 80% of our cyber problems are caused by what I call poor cyber hygiene. Many of them would go away if our cyber hygiene was better. We have embraced the opportunities provided by new technology, such as computers and mobile phones, without giving proper consideration to the downsides."
He also repeated figures released earlier this year that claimed the UK economy loses £27bn every year from cyber crime. Those figures were criticised at the time by both Sophos and Kaspersky Lab, who said the lack of an accurate way of measuring cyber crimes means it is difficult to put an exact figure on losses.