UK Treasury Under Constant Cyber Attacks

The UK chancellor, George Osborne, says that the British Treasury’s computer systems face cyber attacks from hostile agencies every day. Most of the attacks appere to be coming from foreign government agencies.

“During the last year, we have seen hostile intelligence agencies make hundreds of serious and pre-planned attempts to break into the Treasury’s computer system. In fact, it averaged out as more than one attempt per day.”

George Osborne


This illustrate the security risks as the government strives to make more public service data available online, the Financial Times writes. Speaking at the Google Zeitgeist event in Hertfordshire, Mr. Osbourne said  the government in general and the Treasury in particular faced a constant barrage of online attacks, many of them appearing to come from foreign government agencies.

“In any given month there are over 20,000 malicious e-mails sent to government networks,” he says.

In fact, it averaged out as more than one attempt per day.”

“During the last year, we have seen hostile intelligence agencies make hundreds of serious and pre-planned attempts to break into the Treasury’s computer system. In fact, it averaged out as more than one attempt per day.”

According to the British chancellor, the recent attacks on Sony has  demonstrated the risk of putting more personal and financial information online.

Millions of Sony customers’ personal data including credit card details were put at risk last month when hackers broke into its PlayStation Network.

This illustrates the “challenges alongside opportunities” of digitizing public services, Mr. Osborne points out, and set out an ambition to post online more of the “most valuable data sets still locked up in government services” over  the next 12 months.

“This is the raw data that will enable you, for the first time, to analyse the performance of public services, and of competing providers within those public services,” he says.

“A year from now, websites and services will use this data to help the public find the answers to important questions” such as how well hospitals are performing, local teaching quality and progress of criminal investigations, he explain.

The Internet of Things

Mr. Osborne also speak enthusiastic about the “internet of things”, as cars, electricity meters and other devices become connected to the global network.

The government is publishing regulation from a variety of sectors to encourage suggestions for simplification from businesses and members of the public, a scheme called the “Red Tape Challenge”.

All new reforms will be “digital by default”, with ministers forced to explain why new services should be delivered in offline channels, Mr. Osborne says.

“The internet is forcing us to rethink government from the bottom up.

“If we think about how internet banking has gone from a standing start to the mainstream in just over a decade, there’s no reason why public services can’t be the same.”

Full story at Financial Times.

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3 responses to “UK Treasury Under Constant Cyber Attacks

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