Latest from the UK government press office;
The Government has published its new National Cyber Strategy which sets out how the UK will solidify its position as a global cyber power. This is the first major milestone following the publication of the Government’s Integrated Review earlier this year. The strategy builds on the significant progress made on cyber over the last five years which has seen the UK cyber security sector grow rapidly, with over 1,400 businesses generating revenues of £8.9 billion last year, supporting 46,700 skilled jobs, and attracting significant overseas investment.
Through the strategy, the Government is calling on all parts of society to play their part in reinforcing the UK’s economic and strategic strengths in cyberspace – this means more diversity in the workforce, levelling up the cyber sector across all UK regions, expanding our offensive and defensive cyber capabilities and prioritising cyber security in the workplace, boardrooms and digital supply chains.
Steve Barclay, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said:
The new National Cyber Strategy transforms how the UK will advance its national interests in cyberspace and is a major milestone following the publication of the Integrated Review earlier this year.
It sets out a clear vision for building cyber expertise in all parts of the country, strengthening our offensive and defensive capabilities and ensuring the whole of society plays its part in the UK’s cyber future, and comes with record funding to match.
JUNIOR HACKER SQUAD
The Government is announcing a new “Cyber Explorers” online training platform which will teach young people cyber skills in classrooms, and is taking steps to improve diversity in the cyber workforce through a new adult scheme which will ensure that people from all backgrounds have access to these high skill, high priority jobs. In addition, a new “Royal Charter” for the UK Cyber Security Council has been approved by the Queen, which will help improve cyber careers and bring the cyber workforce into line with other professional occupations like engineering.
To promote growth and innovation in the UK cyber industry the Government is investing in the Cyber Runway scheme which is helping 107 innovators grow and develop their businesses, with the majority of member companies outside of London and the South East, 45% led by women and 52% run by founders from black and minority ethnic groups.
FORGET LONDON OK?
Funding for these growth and skills programmes will be reoriented away from large, often London-based initiatives to a regionally delivered model which will mean more jobs and better opportunities for people across the UK.
Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez, said:
This ground-breaking strategy will help secure the UK’s position as a leading cyber power and ensure people right across the country have the knowledge and skills they need to stay safe online.
It’s great news that the UK Cyber Security Council’s Royal Charter application has been approved and we will continue to work closely with the sector to inspire the next generation to consider a career in cyber.
The strategy also sets out the Government’s plan to keep citizens safe in cyberspace and stamp out cyber crime by:
- Bolstering law enforcement with significant funding so that they can ramp up their targeting of criminals;
- Increasing investment in the National Cyber Force which represents the UK’s offensive capability to counter, disrupt, degrade and contest those who would do harm to the UK and its allies;
- Expanding GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre’s research capabilities, including the new applied research hub in Manchester;
- Implementing the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill to enforce minimum security standards in all new consumer smart products; and
- Investing in public sector cyber security to ensure that key public services remain resilient to evolving threats and can continue to deliver for citizens who need them.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said:
Cybercrime ruins lives and facilitates further crimes such as fraud, stalking, and domestic abuse. Billions of pounds are lost each year to cybercriminals who steal or hold personal data to ransom and who disrupt key public services or vital sectors of the national economy.
This strategy will significantly improve the Government’s response to the ever-changing threat from cybercrime and strengthen law enforcement’s response in partnership with NCSC and the National Cyber Force. We all have a part to play in protecting ourselves from cybercrime. It is important that as a society, we take this threat seriously.
NEW PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP BOARD
The strategy recognises the vital role of the private sector in ensuring the UK’s cyber future through the establishment of the new National Cyber Advisory Board (NCAB) which will bring together senior leaders from the private and third sectors to challenge, support and inform the Government’s approach to cyber.
This new body comes alongside the creation of a National Laboratory for Operational Technology Security which will bring Government, industry and academia together to make sure that the UK economy is built on the highest level of cyber resilience.
Further support will also be made available to help regional firms to become world class exporters including through a new online “Export Faculty” Hub for SMEs in the defence and security sector.
All of these plans are supported by the £2.6 billion investment in cyber announced in this year’s Spending Review.
Andrew Kays, Socura CEO
“Following other recent government cyber announcements, the UK security industry will welcome the strategy, and the understanding that modern public services are completely reliant on digital technology. The UK is highly targeted, and it is important that, as a nation, we defend our ability to support our citizens and the services they rely on. I would question whether £37.8m is enough to help local authorities improve cyber resilience, given their current level of resources and the threats they face. It may prove to be a drop in the ocean, but at the £2B investment overall is a significant sum.
“The formation of the Government Cyber Coordination Centre and the ‘Defend as one’ mantra is a sensible approach. It is always better to adopt a strategic approach to how public services are protected, so I expect to see improvements on how information and support is shared across public services. Of course, how this is implemented is pivotal. Cyber security relies on fast action and response to protect services when they are under threat. Sadly, most governments are slow, weighed down by bureaucracy, and do not excel when it comes to quick information sharing and decision making. Overall the focus on cyber by government is encouraging and we hope that the overall strategy will help the UK lead the way in protecting its valuable public services.”
If you hire the best IT people you have the best chance of spotting cyber threats and denial of service attacks. Their race, religion, age, postcode or sexual preferences are completely irrelevant.
The recent attacks on AWS show how vulnerable modern Cloud-based systems are and how easy it is to disrupt the supply chains that underpin everyday life. There can be little doubt that it’s a question of when, not if, a major attack on say the DWP benefits payment system, or switching off city/regional power distribution, could occur.
If you look at how long it took utilities companies to restore power in the NE of England recently, you can imagine the social unrest that would be caused after just a few hours of power cuts across London, never mind days. There is definitely a need for training, especially in project management, cyber defence planning and chain-of-command/decision-making. The weakest link in this cyber strategy is that it does nothing to address the chronic aversion to decision making, that infects every public sector department in the UK. People are too scared to see a threat and take immediate action, as the enquiry to the Manchester Arena bombing highlights. Tragic.
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