London: Britain`s Foreign Office and other
government departments were targeted for "significant but
unsuccessful" cyber attacks earlier this year, a top official
said on Monday.
The UK`s "continued economic wellbeing" was under threat
because of a "disturbing" number of such attacks on the
government, industry and members of the public, warned Iain
Lobban, the director of communications intelligence agency
Writing in the Times, he said sensitive data on
government computers had been targeted, along with defence,
technology and engineering firms` designs.
"I can attest to attempts to steal British ideas and
designs - in the IT, technology, defence, engineering and
energy sectors, as well as other industries - to gain
commercial advantage or to profit from secret knowledge of
contractual arrangements," Loban wrote.
He added: "Such intellectual property theft doesn`t just
cost the companies concerned. It represents an attack on the
UK`s continued economic wellbeing. We are also aware of
similar techniques being employed to try to acquire sensitive
information from British government computer systems,
including one significant (but unsuccessful) attempt on the
Foreign Office and other government departments this summer."
According to him, criminals were using cyberspace to
extort money and steal identities, as well as exploit the
"We are witnessing the development of a global criminal
market place - a parallel black economy where cyber dollars
are traded in exchange for UK citizens` credit card details.
Tackling cyber crime matters and it is a very real threat to
our prosperity," Loban wrote.
A major cyber security conference is scheduled to be held
here from tomorrow. It will be attended by Hillary Clinton,
the US secretary of state, and Jimmy Wales, co-founder of
Wikipedia, among others.
Foreign Secretary William Hague told the Times: "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."