Given the profound importance of the Internet to the UK economy, it is crucial that everyone is aware of the threat posed by cyber attacks and that all parties concerned work together to improve security. The government, private sector organisations and the general public need to join forces in the battle against online crime, which costs the UK economy between £18 billion and £27 billion a year.
These figures are contained in a report released by the National Audit Office (NAO). The publication is a review of the government's Cyber Security Strategy, which was unveiled in November 2011 and outlined implementation plans for the period to 2015. According to the NAO, activities are still in their early stage but they are already bearing fruit.
A secure cyberspace is of immense importance for the UK, the NAO points out. In 2010, the value of the country's Internet-based economy stood at £121 billion, which equals 8% of the nation's GDP. This is the biggest proportion recorded for a G20 country. The UK was also ranked first based on its ability to resist cyber attacks and develop a vibrant digital economy.
Nevertheless, cyber attacks featured among the top four threats to the UK economy in 2010. In 2011, the number of online assaults on the country is estimated to have reached 44 million, while the global figure was one billion. The Internet presents great opportunities for economic growth and improvement in public services but its potential is also being increasingly exploited by malicious agents. The NAO notes in its report that basic computer and network "hygiene" could help prevent 80% of cyber attacks.
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