A senior army general has been appointed by the Government to take charge of Britain's £650 million cyber security defence programme.

After the acknowledgement by the Prime Minister David Cameron that cyber crime is one of the key focus areas for national security, the Government confirmed an initial £500 million of funding, later raised to £650 million, to push research and defence forward.

According to Computing, a senior general who is as yet unnamed will take control of the security programme to fight cyber crime. Minister of State for the Armed Forces Nick Harvey told MPs last week that a UK global operations and security control centre is now active. He said: “We have commissioned a new monitoring system to detect cyber attacks against our defence systems.”

He has also previously claimed that the Ministry of Defence has been working to form an ‘enhanced relationship' with other countries to tackle cyber issues, saying that international engagement was ‘critical' to how the Ministry of Defence responded to cyber space challenges.

Frank Coggrave, general manager EMEA at Guidance Software, welcomed the appointment, saying it was ‘a positive sign in the progression of the Government's approach'.

He said: “It's another key step in their efforts to bolster protection, and whilst there is no detail on all the measures that are being taken, it does signal the seriousness with which the cyber crime threats are being taken.

“The Armed Forces minister Nick Harvey has also said that the MoD is developing a joint approach with industry and cooperation will be vital in strengthening defences.  We have to remember that we're dealing with cyber criminals who are becoming increasingly skilled in evading detection, a collaborative approach between public and private sectors will be vital to mitigate these new threats.

“What we must remember though is that Government initiatives can help set the agenda, they can't protect all of the country or all of the businesses in it.”