Last November, the British government announced a £1.9 billion increase in cybersecurity spending.
Following the referendum vote to leave the European Union, the government has undergone many changes since that announcement, not least a new prime minister (Theresa May) and Chancellor (Philip Hammond).
On November 1, 2016, Hammond formally launched the UK’s new National Cyber Security Strategy, which reaffirms the £1.9 billion spending increase and details action to protect the UK economy and the privacy of British citizens, while encouraging industry to up its game to prevent damaging cyber attacks.
“If we do not have the ability to respond in cyberspace to an attack which takes down our power network – leaving us in darkness or hits our air traffic control system grounding our planes – we would be left with the impossible choice of turning the other cheek, ignoring the devastating consequences, or resorting to a military response,” said Hammond.
Cybersecurity is recognized as one of the greatest threats to business around the world, with the global cost of crimes in cyberspace estimated at $445 billion, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Risks Report.
The world over, society it increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks thanks to the expanding range of connected devices which are creating more opportunities for exploitation; more demand for training and skills; old legacy IT systems used by many organizations and the readily available suite of user-friendly hacking tools, which means everyone from the living room to the boardroom is exposed to malicious hackers.
The Chancellor emphasized the responsibility that CEOs have to make sure their organizations are secure against cyber attacks, and the additional support government will give industry and wider society through the new National Cyber Security Centre.
The new strategy sets out how the British government will strengthen its own defenses as well as making sure industry takes the right steps to protect critical national infrastructure in sectors like energy and transportation.
“We will do this through working in partnership with industry,” said Hammond, “including companies such as the innovative SME Netcraft – to use automated defense techniques to reduce the impact of cyber attacks by hackers, stopping viruses and spam emails ever reaching their intended victims for example.”