Revenue and Customs: Cybercrime

Treasury written question – answered on 14th January 2022.

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Photo of Carla Lockhart Carla Lockhart DUP, Upper Bann

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many cyber attacks against Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs have been recorded in each of the last three years.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The Government can neither confirm nor deny whether HMRC has been the target of any cyber-attacks.

HMRC is responsible for the collection of around £700 billion in tax annually and undertakes a range of actions to monitor and maintain the security of their systems and services from cyber-attacks. To disclose the number is likely to attract additional questions which may include specific threats or incidents identified and dealt with, aiding criminals to determine weaknesses in HMRC’s defences or the methods used to identify and respond to such threats.

To provide the information requested would reveal the extent to which HMRC had been subject to such attacks, revealing where cyber intrusion had been successful.

The National Cyber Security Centre advice continues to be that Government departments should withhold detailed and specific information which may provide insight into the likelihood of success of specific techniques. In some cases, the successful application of such insight may still pose a security risk with the potential to prejudice the prevention of crime and/or national security. A successful attack could lead to the loss of confidentiality, integrity, and availability of Government information.

HMRC publish details about security breaches reported to the Information Commissioner in their annual reports: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmrcs-annual-report-and-accounts

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