The UK is exposing itself to unnecessary risk because it's still unable effectively to defend against cyber attacks, according to a report presented to parliament by the head of the Foundation for Information Policy Research.
Cambridge university professor Ross Anderson argued that the UK needs to create its own equivalent of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology to prepare for and tackle emerging security threats.
The comments came during a Commons Science and Technology Committee meeting involving experts from Microsoft, the London School of Economics and the London Internet Exchange.
Anderson suggested that better security will follow better understanding, and recommended that regulators such as Ofcom and Ofgem should employ technical staff at high levels to become more "IT aware".
The UK is exposed to risks because vendors are too quick to rush to market with ideas, and fail to take security into account, according to Anderson.
"Security is usually an afterthought," he said, referring specifically to the decision to put smart meters in people's homes.
Anderson criticised the government for closing down organisations like the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, and said that such a move is indicative of a lack of understanding.
He also warned that the transition to IPv6 is likely to lead to "software failure", and that the government must have one office that co-ordinates security initiatives.
This suggestion was supported by Robert Hayes, a senior fellow at the Microsoft Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments, who said that having one body to work with would offer a more collaborative approach.
"It is hard for Microsoft to coherently help. A single point of contact would be very helpful," he said.
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