The head of the British Army has called for an increase in high-tech cyber defences instead of military hardware such as ships and fighter jets.
Technological advances mean that Britain will need to develop better defensive and offensive measures to ward-off cyber attacks, General David Richard said in an interview with the The Sunday Times.
His comments come ahead of a defence review scheduled after the forthcoming UK general election.
State-sponsored cyber attacks have come under the spotlight after Google's recent announcement that its IT systems had been breached in December by China-based hackers using sophisticated methods.
According to Richards, the emerging threat of cyber attacks against Britain's infrastructure has made a change in defence spending unavoidable because this is how wars between states are more likely to be fought in future.
This view is supported by the 2009 Virtual Criminology Report by security firm McAfee, which found that an increasing number of attacks carried out over the internet have explicitly political goals.
The US, Russia, France, Israel and China are armed with cyberweapons, with several other nations preparing similar capabilities, the report said.
Cyber attacks will increasingly become a component of war in the next 20 to 30 years, according to report contributor William Crowell, a former deputy director of the US National Security Agency.