Britain: 65 percent of large companies suffered cyberattacks


Britain's Finance minister Philip Hammond (R) speaks to young financial technology entrepeneurs during a visit to Barclays Rise, a fintech start-up hub, on December 8, 2016 in Cape Town. (Photo Credit: RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s treasury chief has warned that cyberattacks are increasing in severity and sophistication as authorities open a new center devoted to thwarting such threats.

Philip Hammond has urged businesses to “sharpen” their approach as the attacks intensify.

Hammond says 65 percent of large businesses have reported a cyber breach or attack in the past 12 months — but that many businesses don’t have plans in the event of a breach.

The new center’s technical director, Ian Levy, says the government will act as “a guinea pig for all the measures we want to see done by industry at national scale.” The government underpinned the new facility with a 1.9 billion pound ($2.3 billion) cash injection.

Queen Elizabeth II will open the new facility in central London on Tuesday.