EXPERTS at GCHQ in Cheltenham are playing a key role in protecting the UK from cyber attacks.
That was the message from the Government yesterday as it updated Parliament on security measures being taken.
A written statement by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude was laid before both Houses of Parliament.
It detailed progress against the Government's Cyber Security Strategy, which was unveiled a year ago.
Mr Maude said: "I would like to point to the work of GCHQ in addressing cyber threats. Its work underpins our ability to contend with the many challenges of the cyber age that threaten our national security.
"We have invested in new and unique capabilities for GCHQ to identify and analyse hostile cyber attacks in order to protect our core networks and services and support the UK's wider cyber security mission. I cannot reveal details of this work, but it has broadened and deepened our understanding of the threat."
He said the Ministry of Defence had established a tri-service unit, hosted by GCHQ in Cheltenham.
He added: "It is currently developing new tactics, techniques and plans."
The update from the Government came on the day when online retailers were braced for their busiest day of the year. Consumers were expected to take part in the annual pre-Christmas shopping spree dubbed Mega Monday.
Recent years have seen online shopping figures consistently peaking on the first Monday in December, possibly due to many UK consumers having just received their last pay cheque before Christmas.
Mr Maude reminded Parliament that businesses had to guard against attacks, saying: "This is not an issue for Government alone. Industry has the potential to lose the most by not rising to these challenges so together we must work to address cyber threats which could undermine our economic growth and prosperity."
A GCHQ spokesman said: "GCHQ plays a key role in the delivery of the Cyber Security Strategy which sets out how the UK is going to tackle cyber threats. One year in, strong progress has been made."