Admiral Lord Alan West, the Security Minister, has spoken out today about the cyber-threat that Britain faces. I am pleased that he has tackled the subject so directly. Too many businesses and too much of Government have been complacent about what has been happening for years.
When I first started raising the problem in the House of Lords more than five years ago, I was repeatedly assured that there was no significant threat and that the protection around the critical national infrastructure was more than sufficient to fend off any problems.
When I started asking questions of each Government Department about how often their systems had been compromised, it was apparent from the answers that some Departments simply didn’t know. I was clearly making progress when two years ago, I started being told it was “not in the national interest” to divulge the information.
When I found three reputable penetration-testing companies prepared to check Government systems pro bono, I was assured such external testing was not needed.
Now – at last – the real and present danger of such cyber-attacks is being acknowledged and the necessary systems to combat it are starting to be put in place. I just hope it is not too little too late.