Britain is facing an onslaught of up to 1,000 cyber-attacks every hour by a combination of enemy states and criminals in the latest dire warning to be issued by intelligence officials.
An unholy mix of hackers, spies and activists are said to be targeting government departments and big business in a bid to nab state and trade secrets, a potentially lucrative industry whilst others try to disrupt vital national infrastructure such as water, electricity and communications.
One such attack saw 200 government email accounts targeted across 30 government departments, an attack which was seen off by existing security systems.
Speaking to The Telegraph foreign secretary William Hague said: “There are attacks made every hour and the losses can be great. I see evidence every day of deliberate, organised attacks against intellectual property and government networks in the UK from cyber criminals or foreign actors with the potential to undermine our security and economic competitiveness.
“This is one of the great challenges of our time and we must confront it to ensure that Britain remains a world leader in cyber security."
It is estimated that cyber-crime costs the UK around £27bn annually.