Cyber and other threats

The UK is facing an ongoing, persistent threat of electronic attack from other states, terrorists and criminals operating in cyberspace.

Cyber threats

Cyberspace lies at the heart of modern society; it impacts our personal lives, our businesses and our essential services. Cyber security embraces both the public and the private sector and spans a broad range of issues related to national security, whether through terrorism, crime or industrial espionage.

E-crime, or cyber-crime, whether relating to theft, hacking or denial of service to vital systems, has become a fact of life. The risk of industrial cyber espionage, in which one company makes active attacks on another, through cyberspace, to acquire high value information is also very real.

Cyber terrorism presents challenges for the future. We have to be prepared for terrorists seeking to take advantage of our increasing internet dependency to attack or disable key systems.

CPNI works with the Cabinet Office and lead Government departments and agencies to drive forward the UK's cyber security programme to counter these threats.

Other threats

Other threats include serious crime and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction:

Serious crime

Businesses are constantly being targeted and exploited by professional criminals. The potential loss from fraud and money-laundering runs into billions of pounds each year.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) tackles serious organised crime that affects the UK and its citizens.

Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) poses a potential threat to the UK's security. A number of countries continue to develop WMD programmes which give cause for concern.

The UK is committed to preventing the spread of WMD and their means of delivery, in particular long-range missiles.

WMD encompass nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The UK has obligations under a number of international treaties, conventions and export control regimes such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions and the Missile Technology Control Regime.