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Is critical infrastructure now vulnerable? Former GCHQ chief on the new cyber threat

David Omand says power grids and telecoms have been “pretty well reconnoitred” by hostile states. This article features in Prospect’s new cyber resilience supplement

By Alex Dean  

GCHQ turns 100 this year. Photos: Shutterstock

Britain faces a new kind of threat. The digital world has given hostile international actors an entirely new toolkit. Cyberattacks are now one of the foremost security risks. The consequences range from disruption to compromised information and even physical harm. Targets have included banks, the NHS, power systems and notoriously, democratic elections.

The furore over the involvement of Chinese technology giant Huawei in Britain’s telecoms infrastructure brought the cybersecurity issue to national attention. Yet foreign state interference is only one aspect of…

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