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Electronic Warfare

Volume 508: debated on Wednesday 24 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the likely level of resilience of critical infrastructure to the effects of an electromagnetic pulse. (324043)

The Government’s Cyber Security Strategy of the United Kingdom, published alongside and reflected in the National Security Strategy update of June 2009, considers a number of methods of cyber attack, including those that generate high levels of radio frequency power that can damage or disrupt unprotected electronics. It also outlines the new governance structures and workstreams which are now building 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.

Businesses and organisations in the critical national infrastructure are encouraged to implement appropriate protective measures and develop contingency plans to help ensure business continuity.

It would not be in the interests of national security to publish information about specific vulnerabilities, assessments or protective measures relating to electromagnetic pulse attack.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the likelihood of a (a) natural and (b) deliberately initiated electromagnetic pulse affecting critical infrastructure; and what systems are in place to mitigate the effects of such an event. (324045)

The Government’s Cyber Security Strategy of the United Kingdom, published alongside and reflected in the National Security Strategy update of June 2009, considers a number of methods of cyber attack, including those that generate high levels of radio frequency power that can damage or disrupt unprotected electronics. It also outlines the new governance structures and workstreams which are now building 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 publish information about specific vulnerabilities, assessments or protective measures relating to electromagnetic pulse attack.