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News - 4 November 2011

GCHQ issues warning about Cyber attacks.

The director of Britain's biggest intelligence agency has warned that Cyber attacks on the Government, industry and individuals are at "disturbing" levels.

Iain Lobham, of the Government's listening centre, GCHQ, said that the "UK's continued economic wellbeing" was under serious threat, with sensitive government data that has been targeted as well as defence, technology and engineering firms'.

The Foreign Office was hit by "one significant (but unsuccessful) attempt" in the summer, he added.

He was writing ahead of a London conference on cyber-security which will bring together political leaders and technology experts to tackle the issue.

He warned that attempts to steal British ideas and designs to gain commercial advantage were becoming increasingly prevalent.

He wrote: "Such intellectual property theft doesn't just cost the companies concerned: it represents an attack on the UK's continued economic wellbeing."

An IT specialist warned that it can be difficult to establish exactly how often successful attacks occur and
"If an attack was successful, (the victim) may not even know."

Foreign Secretary William Hague, who will be speaking at the upcoming conference, said attacks were rising exponentially.
"Countries that cannot maintain cyber-security of their banking system, of the intellectual property of their companies, will be at a serious disadvantage in the world."

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