InfoSec 2013: Ministers Optimistic In Face Of Cyber Attack Onslaught

Chloe Smith

We can all make money from cyber attacks, government says at London conference

Cyber threats, especially spear phishing attacks, are pummelling government every day, but there is a massive opportunity for UK businesses to make the most out of the rising threat level to make some money, UK cyber minister Chloe Smith said today.

Smith, speaking during the opening keynote of the InfoSec 2013 conference, said government was hit by 33,000 malicious emails every week, which are “likely to contain a link to sophisticated malware”.

Government at InfoSec

Fotolia: Virtual tanks attacking computer data © maninblack #33281402She said government was targeted by a variety of actors, including other nations, cyber criminals and hacktivists. “This is just how popular government is.”

But instead of panicking about the state of security in the UK, businesses in the UK are primed to reap the benefits of a growing security industry, said Smith.

“Undeniably there is growth potential for UK businesses and innovators to do well and continue doing well in the cyber security sector,” Smith added.

She pointed to the 2,300 companies operating in the cyber security sector, saying it supported as many as 26,000 jobs, representing 15 percent of employment in all areas of security. The cyber industry has produced sales of £3.8 billion with exports of over £800 million, Smith said, without providing details of what period those sales were seen in.

David Willetts, minister for science and universities, agreed there were plenty of opportunities for businesses to both protect UK infrastructure and boost their own profits.

“We recognise this is not solely a military issue,” Willets said, in a pre-recorded speech for InfoSec. “We need to ensure cyber security risk is factored in to board level risks.”

He pointed to the Cyber Growth Partnership, which he is chairing alongside BT’s chief executive Ian Livingston that aims to foster collaboration between public and private sector bodies on cyber issues.

Earlier in the day, the government announced a £500,000 pot for small and medium-sized businesses, who could bid for £5,000 to bring in outside cyber security assistance.

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