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US and China co-operate on cyber security

The US and China are to set up a working group on cyber security to co-ordinate joint efforts in safeguarding cyberspace

The US and China are to set up a working group on cyber security to co-ordinate joint efforts in safeguarding cyber space.

Commentators have said the move is aimed at easing months of tension fuelled by mutual accusations of hacking and espionage, according to Australian reports.

In February, US security firm Mandiant released a report saying a secretive branch of China's military, based in Shanghai, is probably one of the world's "most prolific cyber espionage groups".

China, which officially opposes hacking, has also claimed that it is the victim of large-scale cyber attacks from the US, but has given few details.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the two countries agreed on the need to speed up action on cyber security.

The US, like the UK, has identified cyber security as a top national security concern, mainly because of the reliance of critical national infrastructure and financial services on computer systems.  

Cyber attacks were rated as one of the top four threats to UK national security – alongside international terrorism – in the British government's National Security Strategy of 2010 and a re-assessment in 2012.

In February, US President Barack Obama signed a long-awaited executive order requiring federal agencies to share cyber threat information with private companies.

A month later, the UK government announced a partnership with industry to share information and intelligence on cyber security threats.

The Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP) delivers a key component of the UK national cyber security strategy in facilitating information-sharing on cyber threats.

The initiative – aimed at making UK businesses more secure in cyberspace – follows a successful pilot scheme involving over 160 companies across five key UK sectors.

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