British lawmakers are claiming that foreign states are ramping up cyberattacks on UK soil.
The claims come shortly after it emerged Britain, cooperating with the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, had been engaging in widespread cyber espionage, including in “friendly” or “hostile” foreign states.
The intelligence and security committee said in an annual report that the threat from cyber attacks is at its “highest level ever” and is expected to increase. GCHQ provided the evidence, itself implicated in the Prism and Tempora cyber snooping revelations.
Parts of the report, the WSJ points out, were redacted because they were deemed too sensitive to publish. But it insists foreign states are using professional hackers to crack government and business computer systems.
The message is quite clear: blanket surveillance of citizens is acceptable, as long as government, business and profit is not touched.
The committee said the threat is “disturbing in its scale and complexity”.
“The theft of intellectual property, personal details and classified information causes significant harm, both financial and nonfinancial. It is incumbent on everyone – individuals, companies and the government – to take responsibility for their own cybersecurity”.
Earlier this month, Olympic officials expressed their concern about cyber attacks affecting the games. Likewise, in the USA, much bluster has been said about the potential damage cyber attacks could cause and a new red scare has emerged over contracts with China’s Huawei, with senators alleging it is linked to the Chinese government.
The committee report did not name the foreign states launching the attacks, and in many cases proving where the attacks came from could prove quite difficult.
The announcement comes after further Edward Snowden leaks confirmed the United States and Israel were behind the Stuxnet attacks on Iran’s nuclear centrifuges.