Francis Maude to warn MPs on hacking threat

The Daily Telegraph has branded disgruntled hackers attacking big brands as “terrorists”, as Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude gets ready to brief MPs on a new cyber security initiative that hopes to combat attacks that cost the UK “billions”.

In its ‘terrorism in the UK’ section, the Telegraph warns that big name companies are increasingly facing attacks that bring them down on a ‘daily basis’. It did not point the finger at any specific groups.

Late last month, Paypal claimed in court that hackers afilliated with Anonymous cost it £3.5 million.

Francis Maude will later today outline details of a £650 million initiative that proposes to protect Britain from cyber attacks while also offering to outsource expertise abroad as a business venture, the Drum reports.

Just how much DDOSing companies who operate in the UK is costing the wider economy – considering the latest in the PAC tax fiasco that focused on just three firms – is up for debate. However, unnamed senior government officials told the Telegraph that they were shocked to hear from Adidas who consider online attacks part of a “daily routine”.

Aside from big business losing out, the official warned that the Ministry of Defence’s networks also get attacked daily, although he didn’t comment on just how much and the severity of the attempts. A former staffer at the MoD told us under condition of anonymity last year that the department faced thousands of botnet attacks a day – and that many of them came from China, with the attacks decreasing ‘significantly’ when Chinese IP addresses were blocked.

There were also attacks against Britain’s critical national infratructure (CNI), and that the official’s department spends “an awful lot of our time helping and advising members of the CNI to protect their infrastructure”.

The official conceded that part of the conversation now is understanding options in the cybersecurity space – including offence.