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State sponsored cyber attacks could bring down governments, warns MoD

Believes it is the most dangerous security threat
Thu Apr 25 2013, 10:02
FBI at Infosec

INFOSEC: THE UK MINISTRY OF DEFENSE (MoD) has warned that state sponsored cyber attacks, where individuals steal information that they pass on to the press, could bring down governments.

Speaking at the Infosecurity 2013 conference in London on Wednesday, MoD head of information security Adrian Price said that the biggest cyber threat organisations should defend against is hacktivists and foreign intelligence services breaking into systems and acquiring information "of use to their cause".

"This is particularly important to protect this information because of national security implications and more importantly international relations, and if we do lose [...] sensitive military information, the impact is potentially a wholesale loss of life, which is something that we clearly wish to avoid," Price said

He added that state sponsored intelligence services and terrorist groups and, to a lesser extent, hacktivist anti-war groups trying to deface websites as a matter of routine, or trying to steal information that they happily pass on to the press, could have impacts like military operations.

"The impact could potentially be damaging to the reputation of the government and depending on the information could bring about a vote of non-confidence in parliament and the fall of the government itself," he added.

Price said that cyber fraudsters that are looking to exploit businesses for financial gain are "zero profile" as far as the MoD is concerned, but that state sponsored terrorist groups are "key threat actors".

Price was part of a discussion panel when he talked about the MOD's position relative to cyber security today, joined by the legal attache for the FBI in the US embassy in London, Scott Cruse, who said cyber crime is emerging as a threat to surpass terrorism. µ


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