Spy agency chief warns of growing cyber threat

The British Government and the public face a growing and severe threat from cyber warfare, the head of Britain's most secretive intelligence agency has warned in his first public speech.

Iain Lobban, director of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, revealed that there were more than 22,000 malicious emails each month on government networks and thousands of stolen UK credit card details are on sale online for less than $2 per set, with just one set of software responsible for stealing card and online banking details from up to 12.7 million victims worldwide.

Mr Lobban said that a great deal of the work of GCHQ now revolved around cyber security. "One significant change that's taken place in international communications is that in the modern world the same technology that our adversaries use is used by citizens going about their daily business."

Mr Lobban's appearance at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London last night for the address is regarded as a highly unusual development.