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Summit explores cyber attack risks

The vulnerability of Britain's essential services to cyber attack is being discussed at the first summit bringing together intelligence and security chiefs with regulators.

Business Secretary Vince Cable is heading the meeting focused on the financial, water, energy, communications and transport sectors.

Mr Cable warned there was a "serious and growing threat" of issues such as power failures, travel delays and late payments as criminals and terrorists sought to exploit IT systems.

"Cyber attacks are a serious and growing threat to British businesses," he said.

"But it is particularly important that those industries providing essential services such as power, telecommunications and banking are adequately protected to avoid disruption to our everyday lives.

"We can only achieve this objective through a partnership between Government, the regulators and industry.

"Today's event marks the next step in highlighting the important role of the regulators in overseeing the adoption of robust cyber security measures by the companies that supply these crucial services."

The Bank of England is expected to use the meeting to reveal the result of a recent exercise - codenamed Waking Shark - which subjected the wholesale banking sector to a simulated cyber attack.

Deputy governor Andrew Bailey, who is chief executive of the Prudential Regulation Authority, said: "It is essential for financial stability that the UK financial system and its infrastructure continues to work towards improving its ability to withstand cyber-attacks."

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