The UK Government is about to launch a new National Security Strategy which outlines attacks on computer networks as one of the largest threats to national security, according to comments made by Home Secretary Theresa May.
In her comments to the BBC, the Home Secretary describes the danger posed by cyber threats as “new and growing”, which is only partly true. Yes the threat is growing, but no, the threat is not new. The first computer virus was created in 1986, the first spam email to be identified was as early as 1978, and the first sustained cyber attack on a country was 2007.
There have been repeated calls for international co-operation to fight cybercrime, which is now a global industry – one without borders and with the flexibility to set up shop in a multitude of nations simultaneously. Countries have tried to make an impact on an individual level – for example the FBI made over 100 arrests a few weeks ago – but there can be no long-term solution without major international co-operation.
It is interesting that the UK Government seems to be taking the threat of cybercrime more seriously now, especially when you consider the spending review currently underway. Let’s hope that action is taken as a result of the strategy and that it is long term and persistent.