E-minister warns UK business of hacker threat

The London Infosec conference opens with a stern warning to industry from the government

The Government's e-minister Patricia Hewitt stated just how important fighting the forces of cyber-crime is to the government's vision of a digitally rejuvenated Britain at the Infosec conference in Olympia Tuesday.

In an pre-recorded video address to assembled members of industry Hewitt said that combating "fraud and sabotage" was vitally important to all e-aware businesses. She emphasised concern that, "Computer viruses and computer hackers are becoming more sophisticated."

Tuesday's presentation coincided with the official launch of a report into cyber-crime commissioned by the DTI and carried out by industry partners. The report made the astonishing discovery that as many as 3 in 5 British companies have had a computer security breach in the past two years.

Hewitt emphasised how vital security is to even the smallest modern business. "Information security is about safeguarding your business's money, image reputation and potential -- perhaps its very existence. The consequences of security incidents can be disastrous."

This report, however, encompasses all forms of computer security problems. A more poignant issue for many companies is currently that of Web security. A DTI representative present at Tuesdays speech said that the DTI is considering carrying out more detailed research encompassing Internet security.

In a letter leaked to the British press last week, head of the House of Commons Margaret Beckett warned the Prime Minister of the growing danger of "electronic attack" to the government itself.

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