The UK's major infrastructure, including power grids and emergency services, could be the target of a cyberattack, the Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) has warned.
According to the BBC, director Iain Lobban revealed at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, government computers are being targeted by some 1,000 malicious emails every month.
"Cyberspace lowers the bar for entry to the espionage game, both for states and for criminal actors," he said.
"Cyberspace is contested every day, every hour, every minute, every second. I can vouch for that from the displays in our own operations centre of minute-by-minute cyber attempts to penetrate systems around the world."
He added that making that making UK networks secure would "lead to a competitive advantage for the UK".
"We can give enterprises the confidence that by basing themselves here they gain the advantages of access to a modern internet infrastructure while reducing their risks."
Lobban also said national security was being affected by intellectual property [IP] theft which is happening on a "massive scale".
"There's a clear defensive angle. In order to flourish, a knowledge economy needs to protect from exploitation the intellectual property at the heart of the creative and high-tech industry sectors. It needs to maintain the integrity of its financial and commercial services."