MOST CYBER ATTACKS can be defeated with "basic cyber hygiene", using techniques and software that are already available, says the UK Cabinet Office.
Speaking at the National Security Conference 2012 in London today, director for the office of cyber security and information assurance at the Cabinet Office, James Quinault said that defence against cyber crime would be a lot easier if people would do simple things to protect themselves, like using strong passwords and being careful about what they share online.
"We keep saying it," Quinault said. "But it remains true that 80 per cent of attacks we're seeing in the UK could be defeated by basic cyber hygiene using the techniques and software that are already available."
Highlighting the increasing concern of cyber crime in the UK, Quinault said the Government rates it a tier one risk to the security of the UK - on the same level of international terrorism and the threat of a major military crisis.
"That might seem strong," Quinault said. "But given harm and disruption that could be caused to daily life in the UK, it can hardly be rated as anything less."
"As the dependence on the internet grows, so does our vulnerability."
Quinault said the government is not just working with the companies that provide and manage an "active national structure" to make sure they're protected, but it is also trying to raise awareness to businesses and the public about the problem of cyber crime so they take several steps to protect themselves.
"The goverment is building strong partnerships with businesses and trying to create a trusted environment where the information of a threat and how to tackle it can be shared for mutual benefit," he said.
He added that to get the message out, the government is funding marketing campaigns.
"The government is clear we can't just do outreach if [people] don't know what [cyber crime] is. Until it is widely recognised we don't think companies will invest."
"Ministers are clear that awareness raising by itself isn't a solution to changing behaviour and more than anything this is an appropriate area for regulation giving the fast moving nature of the threat."
Quinault added that the government is also looking at "industry lead standards" to give firms that are good at protecting themselves against cyber crime something they can use as a differentiator in the market.
"We are looking at kite marks as rewards for good cyber security on products and appliances because consumers and businesses can't tell difference between those that can really help them," he said. µ
'Some of us like the misery'
That'll surely affect its credit score