Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a new National Cyber Security Strategy to boost Britain’s defences against increasing cyber threats.

The strategy plans to make the UK one of the safest places in the world to do business and includes plans to spend an extra £1.9 billion to prevent damaging cyber-attacks.

The investment is almost double the amount set out in a similar strategy in 2011.

It will be used to improve automated defences to safeguard citizens and businesses and encourage the industry to up its game to prevent attacks.

Jason Hart, chief technology officer, data protection at Gemalto said: “It’s encouraging to see that the Government is making cybersecurity a priority in its latest round of investment, especially with less than two years until General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect, but the focus needs to be on securing our most valuable asset: data, instead of just on the perimeter, which hackers can and will breach if they want to.

“In order for the Government’s strategy to be successful, they need to encourage businesses to understand where their most valuable data is, and bring security controls closer to the data in order to ensure user and device access controls are in place.”

Cyber security is recognised as one of the greatest threats to businesses 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.

According to research by Kaspersky Lab, one in four under 25s (27%) have considered a career in cybersecurity, with 47% regarding it a good use of their talent. However, only half (50%) would actually join the fight against cybercrime; while 17% would prefer to use their skills for fun (17%) and financial gain (11%).

The majority of employers do not have entry-level cybersecurity roles, most promote from within (72%) or recruit seasoned professionals externally (53%), whilst 62% of IT professionals claim the education system should be responsible for training new generations of cybersecurity.

David Emm, principal security researcher, Kaspersky Lab, said: “The next generation hold the key to plugging the widening cybersecurity skills gap. It is critical that we harness young people’s natural curiosity and strong digital capabilities to prevent cybercrime. If we can’t, we will not only struggle to fill the talent void, but we may also lose bright minds to the ‘dark side’, further exacerbating the problem.

“Unfortunately, our research shows that as it stands, employers themselves do not have entry-level cyber security roles and the industry is currently failing to provide a clear path for young people to find work, hone their skills, and serve society. This must change, and it needs a collaborative effort.

He added: “The government, educators and industry must work together to enthuse young people about entering the cybersecurity field. Industry and educators must then ensure that students are taught the right skills to ensure they are work-force ready upon graduation.

“The final responsibility lies with industry alone, to ensure enough entry-level positions, and a nurturing environment for cybersecurity specialists to hone their craft and develop in the role. By working together we can ensure that their talent and curiosity is harnessed and nurtured for society’s good.”