UK to increase national cyber-defence grid

Automatic defences to stop hackers hijacking websites or spoofing official domains will get a boost from a £1.9bn government cybersecurity strategy.

Other defences that intercept booby-trapped emails or shut down thieves impersonating bank websites will also be expanded.

The strategy will also help enlarge specialist police units that tackle organised online gangs, some cash will go towards education and training of cybersecurity experts.

Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to formally launch the scheme, called the National Cyber Security Strategy, on Tuesday.

The speech coincides with a warning from MI5 that Russia poses an increased cyber-threat.

“It is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways - involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyberattacks,” Andrew Parker, the domestic security agency’s director general told the Guardian. Teens and foreign states

The National Cyber Security Strategy will set out action needed to protect the UK economy and the privacy of British citizens, and will also encourage industry to ramp up efforts to prevent cyber-attacks.

Mr Hammond said Britain “must now keep up with the scale and pace of the threats we face”.

“Our new strategy… will allow us to take even greater steps to defend ourselves in cyberspace and to strike back when we are attacked,” he added.

Ben Gummer, paymaster general, said in a statement: “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, ‘hacktivists’, untrained teenagers and foreign states.” Finding talent

The £1.9bn to pay for the national strategy was allocated last year and will fund the programme until the end of 2020.

In its strategy, the government explained what some of the money has been spent on already.

With the aid of industry, it has set up automated systems that limit how much malware and spam reaches UK citizens. Other projects have helped the government verify where emails come from to thwart specific tax fraud campaigns aimed at the UK.

Future spending plans involved cash for recruiting more than 50 specialists who will work at the cybercrime unit at the National Crime Agency. These will help tackle organised gangs and aim to raise the cost of engaging in hi-tech crime to make it much less attractive.

The cyber-plan will also involve the creation of a Cyber Security Research Institute that aims to unite researchers across the UK’s universities to work together on improving defences for smartphones, laptops and tablets.

Security-based start-ups will also get help via an innovation fund that will commercialise work on novel tools and defences.

Full story at BBC News website; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-37821867

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