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Government Doubles Cyber Security Funding to Tackle Islamic State Hackers

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In the battle to defeat Islamic State militants, the UK Government has stressed that guns and knives will not be enough, it must also bolster its cyber security armoury.

The tragic event in Paris over the weekend, which killed at least 129 people, was a powerful reminder of how close to home the threat from IS really is, should such a reminder have been required. But George Osborne has stressed that the physical threat is only part of the problem; cyber threats must also be accounted for.

Speaking at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK’s intelligence centre, the Chancellor said: “We are building our own offensive cyber capability – a dedicated ability to counter-attack in cyberspace. When we talk about tackling (Islamic State), that means tackling their cyber threat as well as their guns, bombs and knives.”

Indeed, the Government has announced that it is going to double the amount of funding available for cyber security, with Whitehall revealing that it will double cyber security investment over the next five years to reach £1.9 billion, Ploughshare Innovations reported.

In explaining the risks posed by cyber terrorists, Mr Osborne added: “The stakes could hardly be higher. 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. IS’s murderous brutality has a strong digital element.”

The announcement comes after the UK and the US revealed that they are going to carry out a cyber security stress test to find out how well the two nations’ financial sectors would hold up if they came under attack.

It demonstrates the importance of cyber security to countries’ national security and their economies.

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