Gordon Brown is to appoint a national cyber security chief, according to a report in The Independent today.
The paper names Neil Thompson, a “senior civil servant”, as the man to be given the task of protecting the UK’s technology infrastructure from cyber attacks.
The government is currently working on a national cyber security plan, and announced last week that a major exercise will take place later this year to test the country’s ability to withstand a major attack on its communications networks.
US President Barack Obama announced the creation of a cyber security chief’s office last month, as part of his national cyber security strategy, although nobody has yet been appointed to the role.
Both strategies follow an increase in cyber attacks and the growing threat of cyber terrorism.
China has repeatedly denied reports of hacking originating from within the country against vital US defence interests, including the Pentagon.
In the UK, the head of MI5 warned firms in November 2007 that China's People's Liberation Army was conducting a concerted campaign of cyber espionage against UK businesses.
And in October 2007 Nato chiefs met to discuss cyber warfare policy after Estonia was almost crippled by a series of co-ordinated attacks – believed to have originated within Russia – on web sites of the Estonian presidency and its parliament, almost all the country's government ministries, political parties, three of the country's six big news organisations, two of the biggest banks, and firms specialising in communications.