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Business News

Minister calls on City to attack cyber-crime

The Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude is expected to launch a key part of his cyber-security strategy this week, as the Government attempts to protect big business and Whitehall from mounting digital attacks.

Following a successful pilot project called Auburn, government and industry are poised to unveil what it describes as a "permanent information sharing environment".

This secure online site, called the Cyber-security Information Sharing Partnership (Cisp), will allow businesses, cyber-security experts and government officials to detail attacks that have been made on their IT and how they have tried to repel them. "This is about securing UK plc," said a source close to the development of Cisp.

The Government is concerned by evidence that business is being badly hit financially by hackers, while cyber-crime has been estimated to cost the economy as much as £27bn a year and is rising. The accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers recently found that 93 per cent of large corporations had suffered a cyber attack in 2012, with each breach costing up to £250,000.

Andrew Beckett, head of Cassidian Cyber Security Consulting Services, who has advised the Royal Family and the United Nations, said: "The challenge is to raise awareness among FTSE 100 companies and utilities that the requirements for cyber governance should be the same as those for financial governance.

"We don't have anything that looks at IT security, protecting personal information, staff, suppliers and clients. We need to move awareness up to the boardroom so that they know that this isn't an issue that's going to go away."

The Government's national security strategy, launched in 2010, saw £650m allocated to a cyber-security programme over the following decade.