By Claire West

The National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS), launched in November 2011, provided government with a framework and objectives in tackling cyber threats, promoting awareness and providing a growing platform of strong private sector partnership.

The strategy is supported by £860 million of funding from the National Cyber Security Programme which has helped put in place new initiatives and structures as part of the government’s response to growing threats in cyberspace.

Commenting on 2 pivotal years of activity, Minister with oversight of the Cyber Security Strategy, Francis Maude, said:

2 years of solid work by government, in partnership with the private sector and academia, has seen the UK’s cyber resilience, awareness, skills and capability continue to increase across the board. Partnership across sectors remains as crucial today as it has ever done as this is a shared responsibility.

Our initiatives are ensuring the UK is one of the safest places to do business in cyberspace as well as providing a solid platform for economic growth.

We are already working closely in partnership with the private sector. I want to see that relationship grow to be even stronger, using our extensive engagement with networks and representatives to mainstream cyber security and raise awareness. We know this is important now but this is also vital for our economic growth in the coming years. It will remain an absolute priority as we move to year 3 of our strategy.

Our ability to defend ourselves in cyberspace depends upon a strong skills and knowledge base, Science Minister David Willetts said:

The cyber crime threat facing the UK is increasing. We are working closely with business and universities to ensure the country has the skills and knowledge it needs to meet the cyber challenge.

We want to show students and businesses that cyber security does not simply pose a threat. It gives those who take it seriously an opportunity to gain new expertise, or even a commercial advantage.

With a new £2 billion target for cyber exports, we will also be helping the UK cyber sector to grow and keep the UK ahead in the global race.

Making the UK more resilient to cyber attack and better able to protect our interests in cyberspace, Minister with oversight of the Cyber Security Strategy, Francis Maude, said:

The cyber attack will remain a serious threat to our national security. That is why our work with other sectors, such as academia and R&D, will continue to benefit strongly from secure government funding. As a result of the 2013 spending review we have directed an additional £210 million investment to this area, making £860 million of sustained government investment on cyber to 2016.

We still have work to do but investment, partnerships, skills, resilience and awareness are in a far stronger position today than before this programme was launched.

Government plans for the coming year

Today (12 December 2013) as part of its plans for the coming year, the government announces:

its intention to establish a new Cyber Security Suppliers’ scheme, developed through the Cyber Growth partnership; this will allow businesses to state publicly to prospective clients that they supply government with cyber security products and services - government’s aim is to more than double annual cyber exports from the UK to £2 billion a year by 2016

the UK internet industry and government have co-developed a series of guiding principles to improve the online security of customers and limit the rise in cyber attacks; providing a best practice approach to better inform, educate and protect

the development of an industry-led organisational standard, based on ISO27000-SERIES, for cyber security to give industry a clear baseline to aim for, ensuring focus on basic cyber hygiene and protection from low level cyber threats; this standard will be adopted by government in its procurement where proportionate and relevant thereby encouraging uptake and giving companies a demonstrable competitive edge

the development of a ‘Massive Open Online Course’ in cyber security by summer 2014 for the Open University; the course reaches a potential 200,000 students both domestically and overseas and will be available free of charge to anyone who has access to the internet

launch of a Third Research Institute, which will focus on Trustworthy Industrial Control Systems; this directly supports our national infrastructure, building capability, finding new innovative ways to protect the industrial technologies that support our key services

funding for the Cyber Security Challenge to further expand their schools competition regionally and nationally; since its launch 562 schools nationally have become involved and this programme gives school children the opportunity to develop their cyber skills and to demonstrate them in a competitive environment

increased partnership with Chevening, Commonwealth and Marshall Scholars from Africa, Asia, and America; these scholars will take their knowledge and expertise back to their home countries, where strengthened cyber security will help tackle cyber threats to the UK at source, and where they will reinforce the UK’s reputation as a world leader in cyber.

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