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UK announces cyber security strategy

Press AssociationPress Association 1/11/2016 David Hughes

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a package of measures aimed at protecting the British government, businesses and citizens from online threats including state-sponsored hackers.

Ministers fear society is increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attack, with the rise in the numbers of devices linked to the internet potentially giving hackers a soft target.

The new strategy, underpinned by GBP 1.9 billion ($A3.1 billion) of funding, is aimed at bolstering defences but also involves significant investment in "taking the fight to those who threaten Britain", officials said, through law enforcement and measures to hit back at cyber-attackers.

Ministers did not specify which countries posed a cyber threat but the launch of the strategy follows Russia coming under suspicion about involvement in hacks aimed at Hillary Clinton's US presidential campaign and warnings from the head of MI5 about Moscow's actions.

The Security Service's director general Andrew Parker told the Guardian that Russia "is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways - involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks".

The new strategy also aims at addressing concerns about the vulnerability of the so-called "internet of things" - networked devices including household appliances.

Experts have warned that many of those devices feature little in the way of security, making them easy targets for hackers, potentially opening a way into networks.

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