GCHQ is to recruit part-time computer experts to protect Britain from the growing threat of hi-tech attacks.

According to a report by the Evening Standard, ministers are considering taking on employees to work a day or so per week at GCHQ to improve cyber defences. The report also stated that any concerns about sensitive information leaking out from the spy centre because of the dual job arrangements could be addressed.

It was predicted that hundreds of experts could be taken on and nicknamed them ‘iPlod' special constables. However a GCHQ spokesman said that the move was "purely speculative", but GCHQ was "constantly examining new ways to harness and attract the talents of the cyber security specialists we need".

Mark Brown, director of information security at Ernst & Young, said: “The move to use private sector capability to help the public sector overcome existing skills shortages and tackle cyber security risks is welcome. Closer collaboration between the two sectors is key to protecting the UK against increasing cyber criminal threats.”