The UK’s intelligence and security organisation, GCHQ, has launched an investigation into a personal data breach which affected almost 6m Dixons Carphone customers.
The incident involved hackers gaining unauthorised access to the personal records of 1.2m customers and the credit card details of some 5.9m customers, in what could be the largest personal data breach of its type in the UK.
According to Dixons Carphone, the breach was discovered during a review of cybersecurity systems, and additional cybersecurity measures will be introduced to prevent further concerns. While there is currently no evidence that the data breach resulted in fraud, the attack is one of a number of recent cyber strikes against European targets.
Are cyberattacks and data breaches increasing?
A recent report by cybersecurity company Thales, which surveyed 400 senior security managers, found that 37% of respondents experienced data breaches in 2017, up from 22% in 2016. This indicates not only that the volume of cyberattacks is increasing, but that the UK in fact experienced more breaches in 2017 than any other EU countries.
Further, a number of recent cyber and hacking incidents have been linked to state actors, in Russia and North Korea, suggesting that these concerns are poised to take on a greater role in the future of warfare, and that far greater threats than a personal data breach could be posed to UK critical infrastructure. For this reason, a co-ordinated response is needed to anticipate and respond to these threats.
How is the UK responding to malware, hacking and other cyber threats?
UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, said that the country’s efforts in this arena have put it at the forefront of cybersecurity, saying that “the UK is at the cutting edge of the technology” in terms of responding to threats. As part of this work, the UK is also aiming to increase its international exports of cybersecurity technology, which are currently much lower than its more traditional defence exports.