Whitehall is set to unveil the details of the basic level of cyber security UK companies will need in order to bid for lucrative government contracts.

"The cyber attack will remain a serious threat to our national security," said the minister responsible for cyber security, Francis Maude.

"We still have work to do but investment, partnerships, skills, resilience and awareness are in a far stronger position today than before this programme was launched."

Britain's National Cyber Security Strategy was launched in 2011 with £650m (€773m, $1bn) of investment over four years. This has been boosted with an additional £210m.

The UK government has estimated that cyber crime costs the economy up to £27bn per year and, three months ago, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said cyber defences had blocked around 400,000 attacks on the government's secure internet alone last year.

Cyber crime and espionage costs the global economy $500bn annually and are a main contributor for dragging down economic growth across the world.

According to a study by security firm McAfee and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIC), the US, the world's largest economy, loses about $100bn (€76bn, £65bn) from cyber crimes and espionage, including loss of key business data and intellectual property.

In the US, the malicious activities are also resulting in the loss of as many as 500,000 jobs in connection with the loss of intellectual property and sensitive business information.

"Extracting value from the computers of unsuspecting companies and government agencies is a big business," said the 20-page report.