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National Security

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the potential (a) risk to and (b) effect on critical infrastructure of an electromagnetic pulse caused by a (i) nuclear and (ii) non-nuclear device. (289834)

[holding answer 12 October 2009]: The Government's Cyber Security Strategy of the United Kingdom, published alongside and reflected in the National Security Strategy update, considers a number of methods of cyber attack, including those that generate high levels of power that can damage or disrupt unprotected electronics. It also outlines the new governance structures and work streams which will build on existing work to take forward the Government's plan for reducing the impact on and vulnerability of the UK's interests from cyber attacks

The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) provides advice on electronic or cyber protective security measures to the businesses and organisations that comprise the UK's critical national infrastructure, including public utilities, companies and banks CPNI also runs a CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) service which responds to reported attacks on private sector networks. In addition, CESG, provides government departments with advice and guidance on how to protect against, detect and mitigate various types of cyber attack.

It would not be in the interests of national security to provide information about specific protective measures relating to electromagnetic pulse attack.