Security vendor McAfee has warned that the UK isn't well equipped to deal with a potential cyber attack. Greg Day, a security analyst at McAfee, says that the problem stems from the fact the "responsibility for dealing with such critical emergencies in the UK remains unclear".

The vendor warns of the potential for a threat as the anniversary of the mass cyber attack on Estonia approaches. In April 2007, cyber criminals crippled most of Estonia's web-based public services. Rumours abound that a similar attack could re-occur.

"The UK has been less forthcoming on such issues compared to other countries and James Brokenshire, the UK Shadow E-crime Minister, recently highlighted this as an area where the UK lags behind other nations," added Day.

Malicious activity

"For instance, NATO has established an international Cyber Defence Management Authority to tackle cybercrime and the US military is developing its own cyber-attack capabilities.

"This is clearly an area that is being viewed as growing in importance and was one of a number of topics we discussed at the Council of Europe's recent Co-operation Against Cybercrime conference in Strasburg," he said.

McAfee's Virtual Criminology Report has predicted that cyber attacks are moving towards highly funded and well-organised operations for political and economic purposes.

Likewise, Symantec's Internet Security Threat report says that malicious activity has become increasingly web-based, with attackers targeting end users instead of computers.

It says that attacks are no longer centred around specific browsers or operating systems, but are carried out through scripting attacks or similar, with attackers becoming increasingly adaptable.