Margaret Beckett, chair of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy
Margaret Beckett, chair of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy

The UK government will be launching a national inquiry on cyber-security to assess the extent to which Britain is protected from the growth in attacks worldwide.

The inquiry comes two days after US intelligence agencies claimed Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to help US president-elect Donald Trump's electoral chances in the US 2016 presidential election.

The intelligence report tracks leaked documents from hacker “Guccifer 2.0” to Russia's intelligence agency, the GRU.

“The national security implications of the leap to cyber are a matter of increasing concern. Attention has recently focused on the potential exploitation of the cyber domain by other states and associated actors for political purposes, but this is just one source of threat that the government must address through its recently launched five-year strategy,” said Margaret Beckett MP, chair of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy.

Cyber-attacks have been on the rise in the UK, particularly targeted at banks and retailers. Reported attacks on financial institutions in Britain grew from only five in 2014 to 75 in the year to October 2016, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says.

It is hoped that the National Security Strategy will help to determine what measures need to be taken to ensure the country can protect itself from cyber-attacks aimed at government bodies, businesses and critical national infrastructure.

The inquiry forms part of the second National Cyber Security Strategy launched in November 2016, which has a total budget of £1.9 billion running until 2021.

The Joint Committee has issued a call for written submissions which closes on 20 February 2017.