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GCHQ’s Head of Cyber identifies cyber attacks as one of UK’s top threats


By dxw

On the day that the Strategic Defence Review named cyber attacks on computer networks as one of the biggest threats to UK security, policy makers, security experts and analysts met to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Cyber security: managing the risks

Monday 18 – Wednesday 20 October 2010 (WP1056)


Marcus Willett, Head of Cyber at GCHQ made the keynote speech at Wilton Park’s first Cyber Security event
 Listen to our Podcast on Cyber Security 

Programme Director, Julia Purcell says:

“This was the first exploration at Wilton Park around  the threats and opportunities of Cyber incidents. We were energised by the high level of interaction between the broad spectrum of senior level participants.”

The UK government receives over 20,000 malicious emails each month, of which, 1,000 are deliberately targeted. In addition to the threat posed to national infrastructure and the theft of intellectual property, the growth of e-crime puts the well-being of individuals at risk.

Julia adds that:

“In the border-less environment of cyber-space, ways forward include a need for more effective international partnerships, stronger interaction between governments and industry, and a raised awareness of the ways in which people can improve their own internet security.”

In a post-event note of thanks, Anne Bader, Principal, Bader Resources LLC, Washington DC and Director of North American Programs, Institute of Statecraft and Government, University of Oxford, wrote:

“Many thanks for a substantial and creative cyber security programme. Wilton Park remains a singular experience for those of us lucky enough to participate.”


WP1056 podcast Burge-Tamm-Ilube-Bader-461x
Taking part in our podcast – from left: Colonel Ilmar Tamm, Tom Illube, Richard Burge, Anne Bader and Harvey Rishikof


Other speakers included:

  • Colonel Ilmar Tamm (Director, Co-operative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, Tallinn)
  • Graham Wright (Deputy Director, Office of Cyber Security at the Cabinet Office)
  • Robert Dick (Director General, Cyber Security, Government of Canada)
  • Senator Eduardo Azeredo (Chair, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Brazil)
  • Professor Ross Anderson (University of Cambridge).


Further Information

Conference on Cyber security: managing the risks

 Wilton Park Dialogues – Cyber Security Podcast 

BBC Radio Four: Today Programme – Cyber Security News
The Home Secretary Theresa May has said that cyber-attacks on vital computer networks present a “new and growing threat” to the security of the United Kingdom. Interviewed by Today presenter John Humphrys in advance of the publication of the government’s National Security Strategy, Mrs May added that more than half of all the computer attacks so far identified were made in 2009.

Strategic Defence Review