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Vince Cable warns of increased risk of cyber-attacks

In a summit speech to regulators Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned that more needs to be done to counter the threat of cyber-attacks on essential services.

Regulators for the financial, water, energy, communications and transport sectors met with ministers and intelligence agency officials to discuss potential cyber-attacks by criminal gangs and terrorists.

Among the subjects discussed was the outcome of the large-scale exercise to test the security of UK financial organisations, dubbed Operation Waking Shark 2.

Andrew Bailey, the Bank of England's Deputy Governor, claimed that last year's simulation proved that the financial sector had made significant progress in protecting itself from attacks.

Related: Operation Waking Shark 2 – UK banks simulate massive cyber 'war game'

One possible outcome of the operation would be the creation of a single unified body across the industry designed to manage cyber-attack crises.

Speaking at the summit, Cable said that systems needed to be put in place to protect against the increasingly sophisticated criminal methods used to breach firm's security.

"It is particularly important that those industries providing essential services such as power, telecommunications and banking are adequately protected to avoid disruption to our everyday lives," Cable said.

The idea of forming partnerships between government, the regulators and industry was enforced by the Business Secretary, claiming that it was the only way to avoid such disruptions to essential services.

"Today's event marks the next step in highlighting the important role of the regulators in overseeing the adoption of robust cyber security measures by the companies that supply these crucial services," he added.