MPs question UK’s cyber attack defences

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A skills shortage and “chaotic” handling of personal data breaches are undermining confidence in the government’s ability to protect the UK from cyber attacks, MPs have warned.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee said ministers had taken too long to consolidate the “alphabet soup” of agencies tasked with stopping attacks.

Cyber attacks are ranked among the top four risks to UK national security.

The government said it had acted with “pace and ambition” on the issue.

In November, Chancellor Philip Hammond said that hostile “foreign actors” were developing techniques that threatened the country’s electrical grid and airports.

‘Nato targeted’

And in a speech on Thursday night, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon warned that Russia was carrying out a sustained campaign of cyber attacks targeting democracy and critical infrastructure in the West.

Media captionFormer GCHQ deputy Brian Lord tells Today the lack of cyber security skills leave UK ‘vulnerable’

Moscow was “weaponising misinformation” in a bid to expand its influence and destabilise Western governments and weaken Nato, he said.

Russian hacks ‘aim to destabilise West’

The committee of MPs found that the role of the Cabinet Office, which is responsible for protecting all government information from attack, remained unclear.