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GCHQ Backs Cyber Security Start-ups

GCHQ Backs Cyber Security Start-ups

GCHQ is backing a new hub for tech start-ups in a rare look into its approach to cyber security.

Among the companies is a firm using artificial intelligence to monitor workplace behaviour.

The start-ups will have access to staff at the UK’s most secretive agency and help bolster the country’s online security.

The hub is based in Cheltenham but not inside GCHQ’s complex.

Professor Anthony Glees, the director of the Buckingham University Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, said: "On the one hand the people at GCHQ work very hard to keep us safe from terrorists and increasingly, you hope, from hackers."

He added that although GCHQ had long worked with outside contractors it would need to manage the risks of other firms having access to its staff and resources.

A spokesman for the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator suggested the agency was aware of the risks.

He said: "All of the companies have been selected through a rigorous competition and have been subjected to appropriate background checks."

Cyber security expert at the University of Surrey, Professor Alan Woodward, said: "What GCHQ and the government recognise is that it's no longer just the big companies where you will find innovative ideas on cybersecurity."

The start-ups will be given a £5,000 grant each, access to government tenders and the opportunity to work with GCHQ’s network of international partners. 

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