Maude Warns Of The Olympic Cyber Security Challenge

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Cabinet Office Minister discusses cybercrime during his visit to Estonia

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has warned of the cyber threats facing this summer’s London Olympics.

Maude visited the Estonian capital of Tallinn today, to tour the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence and talk about cyber security issues.

In his speech at the International Centre for Defence Studies, Maude talked about increasing cooperation between the two countries, as well as the challenge of defending the London Olympics against cyber attacks.

“Cyber revolution”

Maude warned that the biggest challenges for the online infrastructure are yet to come, saying that “the web does not discriminate between the people it empowers – and we know it can be a powerful tool for those who wish to do harm.”

“Identity theft, phishing scams, card fraud online – are some of the fastest growing crimes in the UK. And as businesses and government services put more of their operations online the scope of potential targets grows,” he added.

Speaking about this year’s Olympics in London, Maude said the Games “will not be immune to cyber attacks”. The Beijing Olympics four years ago saw 12 million cyber security incidents. Since then, advances in technology have put even more tools in the hands of cybercriminals.

“We know that the threat is accelerating. High end cyber security solutions that were used 18 months ago by a limited number of organisations to protect their networks may already be out in the open marketplace – giving cyber criminals the knowledge to get round these protective measures.”

“Our responses have to be fast and flexible. What works one day is unlikely to work a matter of months or even weeks later,” said the minister. He said the UK has been preparing for the biggest sporting event in the world for quite some time, and a dedicated unit will help guard the London Olympics against cyber attacks.

However, Maude warned against the involvement of the governments in policing the Internet. “The Internet has flourished because it has been shaped by its users, not by governments,” Maude added. He recognised the intention of the Estonian government to work closely with businesses to provide a safer online experience and said it was a model the UK was certainly seeking to follow.

Earlier this week, Maude announced the UK government’s  G-Cloud initiative is making “good progress”, at a current cost of about £4.93 million.

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