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UK teams with defense and telecom companies on cyber security

By Brenda Goh

LONDON (Reuters) - Nine of the world's biggest weapon makers and telecoms providers are teaming up with Britain to bolster the country's cyber security, aiming to tackle the increasing threat of hacking and other such attacks.

Britain made cyber security one of its top national defence priorities in 2010, citing the growing menace of digital attacks from criminals and state-sponsored overseas groups.

BAE Systems , Rolls-Royce , Lockheed Martin and Hewlett Packard are among companies that will team up with government to share information on tackling cyber threats, the Ministry of Defence said on Friday.

The country's government and industry networks suffer from about 70 sophisticated cyber attacks a month, with 15 percent of that against the defence sector, said GCHQ, the government spy center which is also involved in the scheme.

The partnership also comes as contractors such as BAE build up their cyber businesses in anticipation of rising demand from governments and companies, at a time when demand for equipment suffers in defence budget cuts.

The so-called Defence Cyber Protection Partnership will look to implement controls and share threat intelligence to increase the security of the defence supply chain.

"This is a clear demonstration that government and industry can work together - sharing information, experience and expertise" said Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne.

Other companies in the partnership are Finmeccanica's Selex unit, EADS's Cassidian arm, Thales , CGI Group and BT Group Plc .

(Editing by David Holmes)

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