Officials from the British Intelligence Agency have recently reported their fears of the government becoming “the biggest free bank in the world for internet criminals“, according to an article published by The Telegraph. The article indicates that the GCHQ – the British Government’s “listening agency” – is seriously concerned with “Ukrainian hackers” and their attacks – which can “harvest hundreds of customer passwords every day.”
The GCHQ feels, according to the article, that the state is “vulnerable to losing tens of millions of pounds” to invading internet criminals since additional government services like “tax collection” are moved to the online space. The article says that there are heightened concerns for the “incoming Universal Credit welfare system” and the “student loan book” since they may be particularly vulnerable to malicious hackers. Compromising these systems would allow attackers to “collect large sums by carrying out thousands of individual frauds“, according to the report.
The Technical director of Communications Electronics Security Group (a division of GCHQ), Dr Ian Levy, was quoted in the article to say, “The Government ends up being the biggest free bank in the world, if we’re not careful.” He continued in the article to say, “Hackers are now acting like major businesses with ‘dashboards’ monitoring the success rate of different operations in real-time. There is a substantial online market place where specialist hackers remotely trade coding, server space and customers’ passwords in order to pull off sophisticated hacks.”
The article stated that one fear of the GCHQ is that security on websites run by the British government could be easily breached since “people are using the same passwords for all their online accounts.”