CABINET Office Minister Francis Maude visited Worcester today - heaping praise on Worcestershire for "leading the way" in tackling internet hackers.

The high-flying Conservative visited a rapidly-expanding city business which has seen phenomenal growth since it launched in 2009.

Titania, which has just moved to a new plush HQ in Barbourne Road, has won a string of awards and now has customers in more than 60 countries worldwide for cyber security and software.

It only employs 25 people but has grown 400 per cent in five years, and now boasts clients including Manchester City FC, Sony, Visa, Mastercard, UK Government departments, the US army, navy and air force, the Australian military and the FBI.

The company is flourishing just down the road from Malvern's now world-renowned 'cyber valley', based at Malvern Hills Science Park.

Mr Maude delivered a speech to the Titania workforce this afternoon, humouring them by saying he was determined not to make a "gaffe" by suggesting he was in Malvern.

"Thank you for saying the Government has helped, that's not always the case," he joked.

"It's one of those great lies often told, I'm here from the Government to help."

He told them the UK is a world leader for cyber security, saying he believes Worcestershire is at the beating heart of that.

"When people say Malvern they think 'the Malvern Hills, Elgar, but cyber security, how is that'?

"But it's becoming increasingly important in Worcestershire, it's growing all the time, companies are becoming bigger, taking on more staff and I'm privileged to be here."

He also said internet security was all about "tackling rogues" that want to target Britain and the country has a world class reputation in tackling it.

He said: “Today that heritage is alive in Worcestershire. It’s home to dozens of small, cutting-edge cyber security companies that belong to the Malvern Cyber Security Cluster.

“When I first visited in 2012 there were about 45 firms – now there are nearer 75 across the region.

“They’re growing all the time, taking on new staff and winning new contracts. This place is fast becoming Britain’s ‘cyber valley’ – showing that it’s not just Silicon Roundabout which is putting the UK on the map for digital technology.

“We want to replicate this success across the country, with new clusters in places such as Cardiff, Cambridge, Bristol, Southampton, Edinburgh and Brighton.”

“As the minister with responsibility for cyber security, I know how important it is that people and businesses to protect themselves online.

“As part of this Government’s long-term economic plan, we want the UK to be one of the safest places in the world to do business.

“But as the Malvern cluster demonstrates, cyber security is also a business of the future in its own right.”

During an interview with your Worcester News, he said Worcestershire has "huge" potential to grow its cyber security even more.

"You have the base here, you have that growing cluster which is gaining in reputation," he said.

"I'm really impressed. It's really leading the way.

"The rest of the world is really quite envious of Britain, our cyber security skills are recognised everywhere I go and in Worcestershire, you've got this growing corner which is taking it on further."

Ian Whiting, CEO of Titania, said: "We employed four people just five years ago and now we're on more than 20, and we're currently expanding and hiring more.

"It's been very rapid and we had to move buildings because we needed to be somewhere bigger in order to grow.

"With the internet, it's all about making sure the bad people can't get in."

The cyber security industry employs 40,000 people in Britain now and is worth £6 billion to the economy.

Mr Maude, who cut the ribbon on the new HQ yesterday, also said the cyber industry is expanding at around 10 per cent a year.