Hackers have targeted Britain with a serious of cyberattacks following a “step change” in Russian aggression, Ciaran Martin, head of GCHQ’s new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has chillingly claimed.

Mr Martin said there were 188 serious attacks in the past three months, many of which threatened national security.

He highlighted the surge in Russian activity as the Kremlin sought to “assert power and influence against the West”

Martin said: “Part of that has been attacks on political institutions, political parties and parliamentary organisations.

“In the case of government departments, [it is] getting into the system to extract information on UK government policy on anything from energy to diplomacy to information on a particular sector. “With companies, it could be to steal intellectual property and sometimes you would get states in that business.”

Britain is set to pump billions of pounds into the cyber battle against Russia as the threat increases.

British Chancellor, Philip Hammond, said: “The new centre had blocked 34,550 ‘potential attacks’ on government departments and members of the public in the past six months – about 200 cases a day.