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25 Jun 12. State-sponsored cyberattacks against the computer systems of a major listed British company cost it £800m in lost potential revenues, the head of Britain’s domestic Security Service MI5 said on Monday, highlighting the huge threat that UK business faces from internet-based espionage. Jonathan Evans, MI5’s director-general, said the amount of hostile activity being generated by foreign states in cyberspace was now “astonishing”. In a speech to the City of London, Mr Evans said that, as they investigated threats across the internet, the security services were discovering “industrial-scale processes involving many thousands of people lying behind both state-sponsored cyber espionage and organised cyber crime”. Mr Evans did not reveal the identity of the “major London listed company” that had suffered the estimated £800m loss in revenues. Nor did he say which state was responsible for the attack. He said the company had incurred the financial damage “not just through intellectual property loss but also from commercial disadvantage in contractual negotiations”. Neil Fisher, vice-president of Global Security Solutions at Unisys, said the £800m figure cited by Mr Evans was startling for a single company. “That is a very large figure to put into the public domain. It will heighten concern that the scale of cyber espionage is a great deal bigger than we had thought.” Both the US and UK governments have made little secret that they regard both China and Russia as the world’s major actors in state cyber espionage. Last month, the Pentagon said China would continue to be an “aggressive and capable” collector of sensitive US technological information, including that owned by defence-related companies, and represented a “growing and persistent threat to US national security”. (Source: FT.com)

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