Companies that operate in the biotech, pharmaceutical, IT and chemical sectors are the worst affected as stated by a study into the "endemic" by the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance.
The report showed that £9.2bn was lost through intellectual property (IP) theft, £7.6bn from industrial espionage and £2.2bn from extortion and large companies are the targets. In total, British businesses lost twenty one billion pounds, while the cost to individual Britons hit £3.1bn and Government £3.1bn.
The UK National Security Strategy in the last year had named cyber attacks as one of the greatest threats to the country's safety, along with terrorism, war and natural disasters.
The report had further warned that attempts to tackle the problem have been hindered due to a real lack of understanding and insight. As a result, the Government now plans to invest six hundred and fifty million pounds into a new national cyber security program.
The managing director of BAE Systems-owned information intelligence experts Detica, Martin Sutherland has stated that they must mobilize joint government and industry forces to build a logical picture of the threat and create a steady mechanism that will enable businesses to report cyber crime without the risk of reputation damage. Detica helped to compile the report.
Earlier in this month, the foreign secretary, William Hague had appealed for global governments to come together to agree to a set of rules in the midst of growing fears of cyber war between states.
Mr. Hague, while speaking at a conference in Munich, said that the UK had come under attack from a hostile state intelligence agency which was looking for penetrating the Foreign Office IT system as recently as last month.
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