$1.6b cyber attack tip of iceberg, says top official

Cyber attacks by a foreign state resulted in a British company losing £800 million ($1.58 billion) in revenue, the head of MI5 revealed yesterday.

This “was not just through intellectual property loss but also from commercial disadvantage in contractual negotiations”, said Jonathan Evans.

“They will not be the only corporate victims. The extent of what is going on is astonishing, with industrial-scale processes involving thousands of people lying behind both state-sponsored cyber espionage and organised cyber crime.”

Most state-organised cyber attacks in Britain are believed to be carried out by China and Russia, with an array of targets ranging from weapons manufacturers to petroleum producers.

The director general said the Security Service was involved in the investigation of “cyber-compromises in over a dozen companies and is working with many others that are potential future targets of hostile state activity. But this is only a tiny proportion of those affected.”

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