Cyber-security becomes the focus for UK government
As the internet and computers continue their unstoppable takeover of our everyday lives our reliance on the internet and computer related infrastructure has become one of our largest national security concerns. Recent cases of large scale chaos after cyber-attacks include the Yahoo hacking scandal, in which 600 million users’ personal information was stolen, as well as TalkTalk, whose customers details were stolen along with bank account information affecting an estimated 157,000 people.
There have even been stories of state sponsored hacking of personal information in the US presidential election where the Clinton campaign claims that Russia aided the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks in a number of leaks that have embarrassed Clinton.
The UK government has today recognised these threats and announced a massive investment in to cyber-security. 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. The government has said that to aid the strategy it will invest £1.9 billion in to the scheme in an attempt to recruit the best and brightest computer scientists to work alongside security services.
The £1.9bn to pay for the national strategy was allocated last year and will fund the programme until the end of 2020. The government has explained what some of the money has already been spent on. With the help of industry, it has set up automated systems that limit how much malware and spam can reach UK citizens. Other server projects have helped the government to verify where emails come from to stop specific tax fraud campaigns aimed at the UK.
Future spending plans involved money 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 increase the cost of engaging in hi-tech crime to make it much less lucrative. 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, tablets and other devices.
Security-based start-ups will also get help via an innovation fund. As the head of MI5 this week announced more aggressive and confrontational tactics from countries like Russia this will come as welcome news to security services and the public who are concerned with cyber-terrorism.