MI5 & firms tackle cyber threat

Cyber security industry experts are to work alongside MI5 and GCHQ for the first time in an attempt to combat the growing online threat to Britain's firms.

Cyber attacks 'cost UK economy billions each year'

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has warned that cyber attacks cost the UK economy billions of pounds each year.

Speaking on the launch of a new security cell to combat cyber attacks, he said the government intends to make Britain one of the safest places to do business in cyberspace.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude
Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Mr Maude said: "We know that cyber attacks are happening on an industrial scale and businesses are by far the biggest victims of cyber crime in terms of industrial espionage and intellectual property theft."

Read: Security cell launched to combat costly cyber attacks

Security cell launched to combat costly cyber attacks

Up to 160 businesses, including household names, will be part of an information-sharing scheme
Up to 160 businesses, including household names, will be part of an information-sharing scheme Credit: Oliver Berg/DPA/Press Association Images

The government has formed a security cell comprising experts from MI5, GCHQ and the private sector to combat the growing threat from cyber attacks.

There will be around 12-15 analysts working for the so-called "fusion cell" from a secret location in London.

The cell is part of the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership, which has grown out of a pilot project last year whereby 80 companies shared information about cyber threats and methods of countering them.

Under the partnership, companies will have access to a web portal, described as being "like a secure Facebook", for sharing intelligence.

Cyber attacks are a growing problem, not just in terms of national security but also industrial espionage and intellectual property theft among British businesses.

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