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Volume 520: debated on Monday 13 December 2010

12. What recent steps his Department has taken to reduce the risk of cyber-attacks on the defence estate; and if he will make a statement. (29888)

As we set out in the strategic defence and security review, we attach a high priority to the cyber-defence of our systems. The Government have placed a renewed focus on that threat. We have recognised attacks through cyber-space as a tier 1 risk to national security and put an extra £650 million in place to enhance our protection. There are technical and procedural measures in place to protect MOD systems from cyber-attack and to ensure we can mitigate the impact of those attacks. The House will understand if I do not comment further on the detail of those measures.

I thank my hon. Friend for his reply. Following the welcome Stuxnet viral attack on the Iranian nuclear facility, what steps is the Ministry of Defence taking to avoid a similar assault on our internet infrastructure?

Our cyber-defences are regularly tested by intruders, and we are confident in our defences. The threat, of course, is changing in extent and complexity, which requires continual improvements in our security measures and novel approaches to deal with the more sophisticated threats.

Recent news reports have indicated that cyber-attacks by WikiLeaks on critical national infrastructure are only likely to grow. Does the Minister agree that we must involve the private sector in ensuring that we can be ahead of the game when it comes to our cyber-security?

Yes. We are committed to working closely with the private sector in defence not only of our own systems but of those across Government. Many are, of course, provided by the private sector, so it is essential that we have the strongest possible partnership with it.