Islamic State militants are trying to develop the capability to launch deadly cyber attacks against Britain's infrastructure, according to finance minister George Osborne. As Ivor Bennett reports, he's doubling spending on cyber security as a result.
It's already one of their most powerful weapons. The internet a vital platform for Islamic State's propaganda. The group's latest video threatens more attacks will follow those in Paris. The fear being not just where and when, but how they might be carried out. SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER GEORGE OSBORNE SAYING: "The Internet represents a critical access of potential vulnerability - from our banks, to our cars, our military to our schools, whatever is online is also a target." Britain's Finance Minister George Osborne was speaking at the UK's GCHQ. The eyes and ears of its security services. where he pledged to double spending on cybersecurity over the next 5 years to 1.9 billion pounds. SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER GEORGE OSBORNE SAYING: "The stakes could hardly be higher. If our electricity supply, or our air traffic control, or our hospitals, were successfully attacked online, the impact could be measured not just in terms of economic damage, but of lives lost." According to Osborne, GCHQ dealt with 100 online threats per month last summer. This year, it was 200. But the increased spending comes at a time when other department budgets are being slashed. CMC Markets' Michael Hewson. SOUNDBITE (English) MICHAEL HEWSON, CHIEF MARKET ANAYLST, CMC MARKETS, SAYING: "As long as you can keep consumers and the population in general fairly secure, or feeling fairly secure, then it's going to bode well for the UK economy simply because the services sector is the best performing sector this year." But that is a big if. The attacks in Paris putting not just France on edge but the UK as well.