The Home Secretary Theresa May has said cyber attacks are now among the most serious threats facing the country.
Describing it as a 'new and growing' threat, attacks on UK cyber space are put on a par with international military crisis and flu pandemics.
The statements come ahead of tomorrow's Strategic Defence Review, which will outline the how an eight per cent budgetary cut to defensive funding will play out.
May said cyber attacks were of a different nature to the terrorist threats we are more used to hearing about, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We are facing a very serious threat from international terrorism... we must all be vigilant. We have to look at the whole picture. That is what we have been doing and that is not what has been done in the past."
It seems likely web-based threats will be an increasingly important part of the UK's national defence procedures, since the issue has been steadily rising up the agenda in Whitehall for the last few years – often prompted by key figures in IT industry