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Government Enlists Business Support For Cyber-Sec

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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The government has published plans to prevent cyber attacks and crime while protecting growth

The government has outlined its new cyber security strategy, detailing plans of how it is going to allocate £650 million to safeguard the UK from cyber attacks, including forging closer links to the private sector.

A range of new initiatives are to be implemented, such as the creation of new standards and agencies, education initiatives and private partnerships.

Crime and Partnership

The government says this “heralds a new era of unprecedented cooperation between the Government and the private sector on cyber security, working hand in hand to make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business.”

It says, with six percent of the UK’s GDP generated by the internet, it wants to protect and nurture the growth of an industry which will create 365,000 jobs over the next five years.

“This strategy sets out how we will realise the full benefits of a networked world by building a more trusted and resilient digital environment, from protecting the public from online fraud to securing critical infrastructure against cyber attacks,” said Minister for Cyber Security Francis Maude.

The government has said that closer partnership between the public and private sector is crucial and has announced plans for a cyber security hub which will allow the government and businesses to exchange information on cyber threats and manage their response.

The possibility of commercial applications which use GCHQ’s expertise will be explored, while the government will also encourage the creation of an industry-led cyber security standard to give UK businesses a competitive edge.

A specialist cyber crime unit will be created within the National Crime Agency by 2013 to deal with the most serious national level crime and police forces will be encouraged to make use of police specials to tackle cyber crime and to enlist the support of specialists from outside law enforcement.

The process of reporting financially motivated cyber crime is to be simplified and the police and courts will be reminded to use sanctions such as restricting access to the internet if there is reason to believe offenders are likely to commit further cyber crimes.

Education Investment

A new cyber operations group will be created in the Ministry of Defence to devise tactics and techniques to deliver military cyber capabilities and the Centre for protection of Critical National Infrastructure will continue to ensure CNI companies take precautions to protect their systems and data.

A number of education and research initiatives were also announced. The role of Get Safe Online will be strengthened with a new interactive website and the government will work with ISPs to offer internet users guidelines on how to protect themselves from malicious activity.

The government will also invest in cyber security research, improve cyber security at all levels of education and establish a scheme to certify cyber security specialists by March 2012.

“With the Strategy very much aligning the country’s economic prosperity with national security, the key to success will be ensuring that private companies see it as beneficial to their business to work in partnership with Government,” commented Martin Sutherland, managing director of BAE Systems Detica. “The question is whether they will do this voluntarily, or whether the Government finds, in addition, that it needs to provide some incentive for this to happen.”