Cyber security leaks "remarkable"

News of 'new cyber security chief' leaked
News of 'new cyber security chief' leaked

By Alice Cannet

Tories have called on ministers to make a public statement about online security threats after reports revealing government plans were published in several newspapers.

Cripsin Blunt, the shadow home affairs spokesman said the leak to the papers of the plans to hire a new cyber security chief was "remarkable".

The new speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, established in his first PMQ that ministers should make announcements to parliament before speaking to the press.

He said he would investigate the matter but did not know about any intended announcement about cyber security plans.

Mr Bercow also said that Mr Blunt's comment "underlined" the necessity for ministers to divulge any new policy to the House of Commons first.

Announcements from Downing Street about new measures to improve online security were expected to be made this Thursday as part of a modernised national security strategy.

Mr Blunt said that the Independent had revealed on Wednesday the upcoming appointment of a senior civil servant to act as cyber security chief - a new government post.

The Independent reported that the newly created role would involve co-ordinating efforts to prevent terrorist groups from hacking computers and to help clamp down electronic espionage.

The Financial Times also published that a new unit could be created within the Cabinet to head work to secure computer networks and prevent online sabotage.

In a point of order in the House of Commons, Mr Blunt said: "Cyber security is a very important issue and the cyber threat is extremely severe.

"Would it be as well for the government to prepare for an oral statement of some kind?"

The first national security strategy was published last year by the government and emphasised the threat represented by cyber warfare.

It said the attacks which originated from a variety of different groups were "well resourced and sophisticated".