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Cyber-attacks as dangerous as terrorism, GCHQ head says

(Image credit: Image Credit: BeeBright / Shutterstock)

Cyber-attacks are as serious of a threat as terrorism, the head of UK security body GCHQ has said. 

Writing in  Daily Telegraph, Jeremy Fleming said extra funds the institution is getting are being spent on making GCHQ a ‘cyber-organisation’, as much as a counter-terrorism, or intelligence one.

Fleming said there had been almost 600 ‘significant’ cyber-attacks in the last year, all of which needed a national response.

His article added that UK adversaries are “quick to spot new ways of doing us harm”. "We see that in the way terrorists are constantly changing their weapons, or states are using their full range of tools to steal secrets, gain influence and attack our economy".

He also said that until the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was formed in 2016, GCHQ's work on cyber-security "too often felt like the poor relation".

But things are different now, he added. The NCSC now has a "world-leading programme to reduce the incidence and impact of cyber-attacks without users even noticing."

"If GCHQ is to continue to help keep the country safe, then protecting the digital homeland - keeping our citizens safe and free online - must become and remain as much part of our mission as our global intelligence reach and our round-the-clock efforts against terrorism."

There have been many high-profile cyber-attacks lately, with the ones against the NHS and the parliament echoing the loudest amongst the general public.

Image Credit: BeeBright / Shutterstock