Cyber Attacks, Terrorism Top List Of Threats In U.K.

Cyber attacks top the list of U.K. concerns, according a recently released report defining its national security and defense strategy.

Specifically, the report called out the most serious, or "Tier 1" threats, concluding that cyber crime will be one of the most significant dangers to the U.K. over the next five years, along with international terrorist attacks, international military crises, a potential flu pandemic and major accidents or natural disasters.

Altogether, the U.K. report, titled "A Strong Britain In An Age Of Uncertainty: The National Security Strategy," highlighted and prioritized emerging and salient dangers affecting national security while outlining a strategy for combating imminent threats.

Above all the report underscored the need for defensive strategy against dangers posed by terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Irish militant groups and adequate resources for troops to fight on the ground in Afghanistan.

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Espionage remained high on the list of challenges threatening the country's economic stability. In particular, the report acknowledged that cyber espionage is increasingly becoming a formidable threat in light of advances in technology and communication. Meanwhile, the report highlighted that organized crime involved 38,000 individuals, while costing the U.K. between 20 billion and 40 billion pounds per year, according to the report.

Next: Britain Calls For Increased Private Sector Collaboration

"The revolution in global communications and increased movement of people, goods and ideas has also enabled the use of cyberspace as a means of espionage. This enables operation from a safe distance and makes the attribution of attacks more difficult, thus reducing the political risk associated with spying," the U.K. government said in its report.

The report also anticipated the ever growing need for collaboration between public and private sector to mitigate mounting threats.

"We all have a part to play in keeping the country safe -- be it from terrorists, cyber attack or natural disasters," the report said. "For example, business and government will need to work much more closely together to strengthen our defense against cyber attack and to prepare for the worse, so that if it happens, we are able to recover rapidly and keep Britain moving."

The report, which made a strong case for enhancing national security defenses, came 24 hours before a comprehensive defense review, which will determine the fate of British military's allotted resources and capabilities.

As such, the report's authors underscored the inevitability of conflict related to U.K. intervention in Afghanistan, while simultaneously urging the decision makers to carefully weigh the impact of any potential financial cuts.

Next: British Military Urges Careful Consideration Of Cuts

"'The UK, like many countries, has a pressing requirement to reduce its fiscal deficit and therefore government spending to create economic security. Government departments dealing with national security cannot be exempt from these pressures," the report said. "But it is vital that decisions on civilian and military capabilities, which may have consequences for decades to come, are taken on the basis of careful prioritization of the risks we may face so that we make the most effective investments we can to deal with them."

Reuters reported that the Britain's Ministry of Defense budget of 36.9 billion pounds, roughly $58.62 billion, will likely be cut around 8 percent, which is far below average cut of 25 percent imposed on other departments. In addition there will be an extra 500 million pounds to bolster cyber security, according to the BBC. Nonetheless, the cuts will likely have significant political and commercial consequences down the road.