Increasing concern about ‘Hackers for hire’

Britain’s cyber-chief has warned about the growing threat from “hackers for hire” and rogue states that are weaponising computer viruses to steal academic research and government secrets.

Ciaran Martin, the outgoing chief executive of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), also expressed fears about the largely unregulated global market where “cyber-tools”, including ransomware, can be purchased by anyone to carry out attacks ranging from data and identity theft to disrupting a country’s critical infrastructure such as its power grid.

Martin says such cyber-weapons — which are often used for financial gain, or deployed by rogue states to intrude into government networks — could easily spin out of control to infect and disrupt companies and public services they did not mean to attack.

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