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Westminster Steps Up Cybercrime Battle

29 November 2011 by Alice Cullen

The fight against cybercrime in the UK was ramped up on Friday with the publication of the government’s Cyber Security Strategy.

The policy paints a detailed picture about how the government will tackle cyber crime, with an unprecedented cooperation with the private sector.

The linkup between the government and private sector will see firms such as Vodafone, Barclays and BT, develop a pilot sharing scheme with the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

It seems the government has recognised that it can’t tackle cyber security alone and it is hoped that the ‘sharing system’ will be two-way stream with some businesses expressing concern over sharing commercially sensitive data. However, an efficient real-time exchange of data would enable organisations and businesses to defend themselves against emerging threats.

Earlier in the year, the government announced a £650 million investment in national cyber security and ranked the cyber threat as tier one priority – the same level as terrorist attacks. Although a sizeable chunk of the budget will be set aside to tackle high-end cyber threats, like cyber warfare and threats to national security (like the Stuxnet worm and cyber-espionage), there will be a nest-egg invested in business concerns.

The policy pledges to support SMEs by opening up public sector procurement and assures that, as part of the Growth Review, at least 25% of the value of government cyber security contracts will go to SMES.

Further aid to UK businesses comes in the form of industry-led cyber security standards for private sector companies. Sticking to these guidelines could become a competitive advantage for UK businesses, promoting them as certifiably cyber secure. The Department for Business and Skills (BIS) will work with domestic, European, global and commercial standards organisations to accelerate this work.

Throughout the strategy, a key focus is set on improving education about cyber security across all levels of the online community so that the general public, along with business owners, is better equipped to stay safe online.

In line with this the strategy also aims to ramp up the role of Get Safe Online, reinforcing the message that everyone has a crucial role to play in keeping cyberspace safe, including the public. In increasing this investment, they aim Get Safe Online the single, authoritative place to go for the public to get the latest information on internet threats and the simple steps they can take to protect themselves.

Read the full strategy.

Do you think that the strategy goes far enough in its aims to make the UK one of the safest online environments? What else should the government consider in its battle against cyber crime?