In a speech describing the UK government’s plans for spending £1.9bn on cyber security, the Chancellor Philip Hammond has said that the UK needs to be able to retaliate in kind against state-sponsored cyber attacks.
In the National Cyber Security Strategy speech at the recent 'Future Decoded' conference, Mr Hammond focused on key national cyber security challenges and the need to “deter those who seek to steal from us, or harm our interests”.
Mr. Hammond stated that the ability of the UK to trace cyber attackers and to retaliate in kind would be a deterrent.
The chancellor talked of the need for the UK to keep up to speed with the threats that the country faces such as those carried out by “perpetrators who then try to deny their involvement”. Although he didn’t refer to one country directly, many political and tech commentators appear to believe that he was referring to the threat of Russian state sponsored cyber attacks.
This is especially likely, considering that MI5 recently reported that Russia poses an increased cyber-threat. Those speaking on behalf of the Kremlin have described the MI5 report as “unfounded and groundless”.
Somewhere Between Ignoring It And A Military Response.
Mr. Hammond put the idea of being able to respond and retaliate to cyber attacks such as those designed to disable the UK’s power network or an air traffic control system as being the middle choice between simply “turning the other cheek” or choosing a “military response”.
Spending The £1.9bn Strategy Budget.
The £1.9bn National Cyber Security Strategy budget (allocated by the previous Chancellor George Osborne) is currently being (and will be) spent in many different areas. Areas of spending so far have included automated malware and spam screens for the UK, and systems to verify where emails come from in order to help prevent tax fraud campaigns aimed at the UK.
There will be future spending on the recruitment of more than 50 specialists to work at the cyber-crime unit at the National Crime Agency, as well as the setting up of a fund to help security-based start-ups who work on cyber-security tools and defences.
Reportedly, there are also plans for the creation of a Cyber Security Research Institute to co-ordinate research into improving defences for smartphones, laptops and tablets. A national scheme will also be set up to retrain high-aptitude professionals as cyber security experts.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Cyber crime levels in the UK are currently very high and all businesses, as well as the nation’s infrastructure systems, face the daily risk of cyber attacks. As well as the schemes such as the national filter for spam and malware, businesses in the UK could benefit from a boosted National Crime Agency, money for cyber security start-ups as well as the increased cyber security expertise and knowledge and other potential spin-offs from the government’s much-needed investment in this critical area.
The introduction of the EU’s new GDPR data security rules in the UK in 2018 means that an investment in cyber security help for the UK should be very much welcomed by businesses of all kinds.