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UK government unveils national cyber security plan

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Additional support is also pledged to industry and wider society through the government’s new National Cyber Security Centre

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Hammond: the UK must keep up with the "scale and pace" of the threats it faces
Hammond: the UK must keep up with the "scale and pace" of the threats it faces
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Society is increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks thanks to the expanding range of connected devices

“No longer the stuff of spy thrillers and action movies, cyber-attacks are a reality”

The UK government has given the green light to a five-year national cyber security strategy in a bid to make the country one of the safest places in the world to do business.

 

The chancellor Philip Hammond formally announced a package of measures, which will be underpinned by £1.9bn of investment, at Microsoft’s Future Decoded conference in London yesterday.

 

He outlined how cyber security underpins our daily lives such as through domestic devices in our homes and cars, air traffic control, power grids and other infrastrucutres. He said the UK will defend itself in cyberspace and strike back against those that try to harm the country, warning how increasingly vulnerable society is to cyber-attacks thanks to the expanding range of connected devices.

 

“Britain is already an acknowledged global leader in cyber security thanks to our investment of over £860 million in the last Parliament, but we must now keep up with the scale and pace of the threats we face,” he stated. “Our new strategy, underpinned by £1.9 billion 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.”

 

The chancellor also emphasised the responsibility of CEOs to make sure their organisations are secure against cyber-attacks.

 

The new strategy sets out how: the UK will use automated defences to safeguard citizens and businesses against growing cyber threats; it will provide support for the UK’s growing cyber security industry; it will develop a world-class cyber workforce; and deter cyber-attacks from criminals and “hostile actors”.

 

Additional support is also pledged to industry and wider society through the government’s new National Cyber Security Centre.

 

“No longer the stuff of spy thrillers and action movies, cyber-attacks are a reality and they are happening now. Our adversaries are varied -- organised criminal groups, ‘hactivists’, untrained teenagers and foreign states,” said Ben Gummer, minister for the cabinet office & paymaster general. “The first duty of the government is to keep the nation safe. Any modern state cannot remain secure and prosperous without securing itself in cyberspace. That is why we are taking the decisive action needed to protect our country, our economy and our citizens.”

 

The new strategy also focuses on three critical areas: defence, deter and develop.

 

The first part sets out how government will strengthen its own defences as well as making sure industry takes the right steps to protect critical national infrastructure in sectors like energy and transport achieved through working in partnership with industry.

 

For the deterrent element, significant investment will go towards taking the fight to those who threaten Britain in cyber-space and relentlessly pursuing anyone who persists with their attacks. This includes recruiting more than 50 specialist cyber-crime investigators and technical specialists working within the National Cyber Crime Unit.

 

Meanwhile, develop places strong emphasis on advancing the nation’s capabilities to keep pace with cyber threats including a new cyber security research institute -- a virtual collection of UK universities which will look to improve the security of smart phones, tablets and laptops.

 

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