Government fights off 6,500 online attacks

Link: UK companies face daily hacking threat

The Cabinet Office was subject to 1,167 digital attacks last month alone, and 5,857 during the course of the year. But Cabinet Office minister Douglas Alexander said: ‘None of these resulted in compromise, loss or damage to any information held on the systems.’

However, some departments seemed to have remained beyond the grasp of hackers. The Department of Education and Skills, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Treasury all said there were no attacks on their systems throughout the year, although the Treasury admitted that one external website was attacked while under construction.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has detected 564 attacks across the year, with 34 in October. It said: ‘These attacks were all stopped by our existing security measures’.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it was ‘subject to widespread and frequent attempts to probe its electronic boundaries,’ but would not would not comment on its anti-hacking policies on national security grounds. The MoD said there had been 10 hacking incidents, but said ‘none of these had any significant impact on the conduct of military operations’

The figures were released in response to a series of questions by Labour MP for Milton Keynes North East Brian White, who is also chairman of public sector IT body Eurim.

The Department for International Development claimed its systems had suffered just one digital attack in October, when the Bugbear virus entered its system and infected 15 office PCs. The department was also hit by viruses – Elkern and Redlof/A – on two other occasions, but no hacking attempts were made.

The Lord Chancellor’s Office has suffered six virus attacks during the year so far – but said no damage was caused to its key IT systems.

The Department of Transport said the network it shares with the Office of the deputy prime minister had been attacked 266 times in 2002 up to October, with 18 of those during October.

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