By Russell Hotten
The security service MI5 has asked consultants KPMG to lead a group to
monitor cases of industrial espionage and co-ordinate information
between Britain's leading companies.
MI5 is increasingly concerned at attempts by foreign governments to hack
into the computer systems of major firms, and last week accused China of
trying to steal corporate secrets.
KPMG, which works closely with the GCHQ listening station, is creating a
"risk management information exchange", with a team of security and IT
experts to assess "threat levels" and warn of imminent dangers.
If a company discovers attempts to breach computer security through,
say, viruses, the information can be passed to MI5 and other companies
using the KPMG group.
Last week, the director-general of MI5, Jonathan Evans, sent
confidential letters to 300 chief executives and security heads at major
companies warning about "electronic espionage" from "Chinese state
It was later reported that Rolls-Royce and Royal Dutch Shell had faced
attempts to breach their computer security systems. The US and France
have accused China of industrial espionage - which Beijing strongly
denied. China has yet to respond to the MI5 claims.
Martin Jordan, principal adviser to KPMG on IT security, and head of the
new group, said: "The intention is to give an early warning when threats
appear. The information will be disseminated through a small group of
people, but it will hopefully give MI5 a bigger overview of what is
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