UK firms under threat from foreign hackers.

The country’s head of cyber security has warned that British companies are being put out of business and coasting the economy £27 billion because of hacking undertaken by foreign governments and corporations.

Major General Jonathan Shaw, the head of the Ministry of Defence’s Cyber Security Programme, stated that cyber-attacks are the biggest threat to national security. The main reason for this is that foreign competitors are stealing valuable information from British companies and using it to develop and produce products at a more competitive price. A firm in Warrington, Cheshire, recently experienced this first hand. They had designed a new state of the art blade for wind turbines but soon went out of business after hackers stole the blueprints and produced it for a much cheaper price.

Major General Shaw stated “The biggest threat to this country by cyber is not military, it is economic.”

Major General Shaw later emphasised his point by stating that Britain’s position as one of the world’s leading hi-tech manufacturers is under threat unless if companies improve their security measures and prevent valuable information being stolen and used by foreign competitors.

“The cyber threat could affect anyone, and we all need to take measures to protect ourselves against the threat it poses. If the moment you come up with a brilliant new idea, it gets nicked by the Chinese then you can end up with your company going bust,” claimed Major General Shaw.

He believes that it is the Chinese who are the biggest threat to Britain’s hi-tech manufacturers as it is them who regularly target British companies and attempt to steal highly sensitive and important data.

Major General Shaw believes that in order for Britain to protect itself against cyber-attacks, an effective national response where everybody has to be involved. He argued that “About 80 per cent of our cyber problems are caused by what I call poor cyber hygiene.  Many of them would go away if our cyber hygiene was better. We have embraced the opportunities provided by new technology, such as computers and mobile phones, without giving proper consideration to the downsides.”

In an attempt to develop deterrents which can deal with hostile viruses, the Government has invested an extra £650 million. This extra amount of money has been given to the GCHQ eavesdropping complex in Cheltenham which is the nerve centre of Britain’s cyber defences and the Ministry of Defence.

Major General Shaw wants the government to introduce training schools which will educate businesses how to best protect themselves from cyber-attacks and reduce the chances of important and potential life changing data being stolen.

“Anyone can take part in these courses and learn how to implement effective precautions against cyber-attacks,” stated Major General Shaw.

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