Head of MI5 Ken McCallum warns ‘regular people’ being targeted by foreign spies

UK’s top spycatcher will say foreign agents have made more than 10,000 “disguised approaches” to members of the public.

McCallum says the impact of hostile state activities – which include cyber attacks and fake news and have the potential to affect everyone – ranges from “frustration and inconvenience, through loss of livelihood, potentially up to loss of life”.

The spy chief will say people should not be scared, but he urged them to “be switched on”.

He will also shine a light on the level of foreign espionage against academics, researchers and business people, saying attempts to steal secrets are “happening at scale”.

The threat he will refer to takes place in a grey zone that sits deliberately under the threshold of what would normally be considered an act of war but can be just as dangerous if ignored.