The UK government has had to fend off at least 188 major cyber attacks in the past three months with increased Russian aggression particularly noticeable, according to the head of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
Former GCHQ cybersecurity boss, Ciaran Martin, told The Sunday Times that many of the attacks threatened national security, with China and Russia among the main suspects.
The info-stealing raids are designed to “extract information on UK government policy on anything from energy to diplomacy to information on a particular sector," he said.
Martin also warned that the UK had experienced hacking attempts similar to those that infiltrated the Democratic National Committee and led to the leaking of sensitive emails which some claim helped Donald Trump to win the race to the White House.
This has apparently been linked to a "a step-change in Russian aggression in cyber space" over the past couple of years.
"Part of that step change has been a series of attacks on political institutions, political parties, parliamentary organizations and that's all very well evidenced by our international partners and widely accepted,” he said.
Chancellor Phillip Hammond, who has also been secretary of state for defence and foreign affairs, warned over the weekend that the NCSC had blocked 34,550 "potential attacks" on both government and civilians over the past six months.
The comments are designed to boost support for the centre, one of the key pillars of the government’s National Cyber Security Strategy, ahead of its opening by the Queen on Tuesday.
Peter Carlisle, EMEA vice president at Thales e-Security, welcomed the collaborative approach espoused by the NCSC.
“We all have a responsibility to protect national security and that’s why it’s so important that industry works in partnership with the government to protect the public sector and critical national infrastructure from increasingly sophisticated attacks,” he added.