The government is ploughing more funding into tackling cybercrime in the wake of the devastating Paris terrorist attacks last week that left at least 129 people dead.
During a speech at the GCHQ in Cheltenham, chancellor George Osborne warned Islamic State (ISIL) is plotting to disrupt essential services, and announced plans to double government cybercrime investment to £1.9bn a year by 2020.
According to one article, Osborne said the stakes "could hardly be higher".
“ISIL are already using the internet for hideous propaganda purposes, for radicalisation, for operational planning too," he is reported to have said. "They have not been able to use it to kill people yet by attacking our infrastructure through cyberattack. But we know they want it and are doing their best to build it.
"If our electricity supply, or our air traffic control, or our hospitals were successfully attacked online, the impact could be measured not just in terms of economic damage but of lives lost," he added.
"Just as our adversaries can use a range of actions against us, from the virtual to the physical, so we are making sure that we can employ a full spectrum of actions in response."
Included in the plan is a dedicated force to ensure faster and more effective responses to online attacks; possible co-operation between ISPs and the government to defend the web; a new institute to train coders and two "cyber-innovation" centres where start-ups can get early-stage support.
The announcement closely follows the prime minister’s statement this week that UK intelligence staff numbers would also increase by 15 per cent.
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