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Is the NatWest chaos actually due to a ‘cyber attack’ by a foreign state?

There was a strange coincidence last week. At about the same time (morning of Thursday 21 June) as the NatWest had its supposed computer crash, BT’s broadband services for the whole of Britain also went down. In BT’s case, it only took about 4 hours to restore services, NatWest have obviously taken a bit longer. Both NatWest and BT blamed the problems on ‘computer upgrades’ that hadn’t worked as planned. I spoke at length to one of BT’s Indian call centres to try to get some understanding of what the supposed ‘upgrade’ was and why nobody had known about it before it went ahead, but nobody could answer my questions as they were all reading from the same prepared script. Then in a speech yesterday, the head of Britain’s security services said there had been a series of cyber attacks by foreign countries on some major British companies, in one case costing a company about £800m.

I’m not a mad conspiracy theorist who believes Elvis is alive and well and living in Milton Keynes or that President Kennedy was shot by aliens. However, I am tempted to put two and two together and conclude that both BT and NatWest were actually hit by cyber attacks and that management of both companies (encouraged by our security services) used the same excuse of a ‘systems upgrade’ to explain away their problems because they don’t want to admit how vulnerable their systems are.

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