A shortage of skilled IT individuals is leaving the UK in a weak position, open to online threats and cyber attacks, says the National Audit Office.
The NAO made the claim within its latest report, warning that the lack of relevantly skilled people in the UK is leaving the country vulnerable to preventing, mitigating and recovering from cyber attacks.
Within the report, it is estimated that cyber crime is costing the UK between £18bn and £27bn per year.
In response to the figures, the NAO has urged the government to address key areas of readiness, defence and reaction – with suggested challenges including better industry protection and the need to address the UK cyber skills gap.
Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office: "The threat to cyber security is persistent and continually evolving. Business, government and the public must constantly be alert to the level of risk if they are to succeed in detecting and resisting the threat of cyber attack."
"It is good that the Government has articulated what success would look like at the end of the programme. It is crucial, in addition, that progress towards that point is in some form capable of being measured and value for money assessed."