Government to spend additional £1.9bn on cyber security

New national cyber security strategy will look to "make the UK the safest place in the world to do business"...

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Chancellor Philip Hammond has today outlined the government’s new national cyber security strategy for 2016 to 2021, with plans to spend an extra £1.9bn to prevent cyber threats.

The strategy, intended to make the UK the safest place in the world to do business, will cover three areas; defence, deter, and develop.

Under defence, the government will work in partnership with companies such as SME Netcraft to use automated defence techniques to reduce the impact of cyber attacks by hackers and to stop viruses and spam emails.

Under deter, the government plans to strengthen law-enforcement capabilities to raise the cost of cyber crime and make it “clear that the UK will defend itself in cyberspace and strike back”.

While under develop, the government will increase investment in students and experts to develop abilities to deal with cyber threats.

This investment includes the development of a new Cyber Security Research Institute; a virtual collection of UK universities which will look to improve the security of mobile devices and “could one day make passwords obsolete”.

Hammond also referenced the launch of the UK’s first cyber security innovation centre in Cheltenham which will run a Cyber Innovation Fund next year to develop and fund cyber security start-ups.

Hammond commented:

“Britain is already an acknowledged global leader in cyber security thanks to our investment of over £860m in the last parliament, but we must now keep up with the scale and pace of the threats we face.

“Our new strategy, underpinned by £1.9bn of support over five years and excellent partnerships with industry and academia, will allow us to take even greater steps to defend ourselves in cyberspace and to strike back when we are attacked.”

Sonia Blizzard of Beaming, a specialist business providing high security communications networks, said she welcomed the news but said the onus is on the private sector too:

“[The government’s] commitment to fighting cybercrime is good news but it doesn’t guarantee our safety.  It is a work in progress and the private sector needs to take responsibility here.

“The onus is on businesses to protect themselves. The biggest threat of all is human and all employees are responsible for data security, not just the IT department. Employees clicking on compromised links are a common cause of problems and ransomware is so sophisticated now that this can cause real issues very quickly.

“We are seeing an arms race between businesses that rely on the internet and those who use it for malicious purposes. Companies need to recognise this, understand where their data is kept and take steps to secure it.”

To read the strategy document in full, click here.


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