Terrorism and Cyberattacks Threaten British Firms

By Matthew Harwood

A new report warns that British businesses face major security threats from homegrown jihadist terrorism and Chinese-directed industrial espionage, reports the United Kingdom's Telegraph.

The joint report issued by Lloyd's of London and the International Institute of Strategic Studies recommends businesses  raise their security level to counteract rising threats from terrorism and industrial espionage.

Lloyd's Chairman Lord Levene told the paper that too many business owners and managers are ignorant of the threat homegrown terrorism poses to their businesses. He said, "The business community urgently needs to close the gap between growing awareness of the risk and a lack of understanding of what it means in practice."

Cyberattacks, whether to crash an IT network or steal information, perpetuated by the People's Republic of China are another threat to British businesses (and other international firms) the report says.

The report came as warnings about the threat of Chinese industrial espionage reverberated around Britain's boardrooms. At the weekend it was disclosed that the head of MI5, Jonathan Richards, had written to 300 chief executives and heads of security at major companies about attack from "Chinese state organisations".

It followed similar warnings in America, France, and Germany, that Beijing was seeking to steal industrial secrets. China has strongly rejected the suggestions.

A Times (of London) report yesterday indicates Royal Dutch Shell's office in Houston, Texas, and Rolls Royce were recent victims of Chinese cyberattacks.

Rolls Royce, according to Foreign Policy's Passport blog, is the self proclaimed "number two military aero engine manufacturer in the world" and supplies the engine for the U.S. Air Force's new project, the Joint Strike Fighter. This, according to Foreign Policy's Blake Hounshell, poses serious national security risks for Western nations whose militaries rely increasingly on commercial supply chains, rather than strict  defense contractors.

Hounshell writes:

[F]irms that supply parts to Western militaries obviously represent fat targets for Chinese snoops or saboteurs. Rolls Royce has supplied the British Royal Air Force for many years, so presumably it is no stranger to the security game; but when it comes to more recent entrants, do we really know how secure these supply chains are?

Good question.



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