UK Industry a Favorite Target for Cyber Espionage, Says MI5

June 26, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

UK industry happens to be one of the favorite targets for cyber attacks, says Jonathan Evans, the chief of the the United Kingdom’s counter-intelligence and security agency MI5.

According to him the country has witnessed ‘astonishing’ levels of cyber attacks on large firms, making clear that the internet attacks are a major concern for the security agency.

Making his first public speech after 2010, the security agency chief said that the chinks in the internet armor are being exploited by cyber criminals and states who are engaged in cyber war fare against the UK.

He also said that the agency has been tackling attacks by thousands of hackers supported by state-sponsored cyber war attempts and espionage.

The revelation shows that not only the government and military information are at threat, but also information related to business and academic institutions.

To describe the gravity of the problem, he also revealed that a big UK firm has suffered financial losses to the tune of £800 million when cyber espionage by foreign entities lifted the research of the company compromising its negotiations with other companies.

Such cyber attacks, according to him, damages the safety and security of the infrastructure and intellectual properties that are crucial for future prosperity.

Pointing to a possible shift in the style of intelligence collection, the intelligence agency chief also said that collection of data from sources such as social networks is very crucial in future counter terrorism initiatives and to check the crime rate in the country.

[Editor’s comment: It looks like the new James Bond is sitting behind a keyboard.]

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