Governments across the globe could be brought to their knees by successful cyber attacks, according to Ministry of Defence (MoD) head of information security, Adrian Price.
Price said that the threat posed by state-sponsored hackers and hacktivist groups to national security and stability is increasing to worrying levels.
"From my perspective the state sponsored and terrorist groups [are a major issue], and to a lesser extent the hacktivist groups as they try to deface our websites as a matter of routine or get into our systems to steal our information to pass on to the press," he said during a debate at Infosec in London.
"Any of these could affect a military operation or damage the reputation of the government - depending on sensitivity they could even bring about a vote of no confidence in parliament, taking down the current regime."
Price said the government will have to work more closely with academia and private industry to ward of the increased threat posed by cyber attacks.
"We are looking to join up and get clever about this but we could still do a lot more. It's really about educating people that we're all in this together and get people to share information amongst the community," he said.
FBI legal attaché at the US embassy London, Scott Cruses, supported Price, saying the US government is detecting a similar increase in the number of cyber attacks targeting its systems.
"I've sat in a number of meetings over the last few years with directors and senior members of the FBI and cyber is fast emerging as the next threat on the horizon to eventually surpass counter terrorism," he said.
"We've also changed some of our priorities, to prevent cyber-attacks against our critical infrastructures, reduce the national vulnerability of these cyber-attacks and lastly, to minimise the damage and recovery time of cyber-attacks when they do occur."
Price and Cruses' comments mirror those of numerous other politicians and security vendors. Prior to it UK minister for Universities, David Willetts issued a similar call-to-arms for businesses to work more closely with the government to combat cyber attacks.
Russian security expert Eugene Kaspersky also warned that it is only a matter of time before terrorist groups begin mounting cyber attacks on governments and businesses.
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