David Cameron has claimed the Government faces cyber attacks on an "industrial scale".
Speaking at the London Conference on cyberspace, he outlined the threat posed by cyber criminals: “Every day we see attempts on an industrial scale to steal government secrets – information of interest to nation states, not just commercial organisations”.
He claimed the threat was worth $1 trillion globally and £27 billion to the UK alone - citing studies that have been criticised as exaggerating the cost of online crime.
"It costs just 69p – about the price of a song on iTunes – to buy someone’s credit card information online," he added. "Cyber criminals have their own ‘online shopping websites’ where they can buy and sell stolen credit card details in just the same way you’d buy a book from Amazon."
Despite this, he said the UK needed to strike a balance between security and freedom online. "Governments must not use cyber security as an excuse for censorship, or to deny their people the opportunities that the internet represents," he said. "The balance we’ve got to strike is between freedom and a free-for-all."
Following the PM’s speech, US Vice President Joe Biden said: "The internet is neutral, but what we do there isn't neutral".
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it and it would be misguided to break the system that has worked so well,” he argued, saying “existing principles of international law should apply online just as offline”.
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk