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Stuart O'Brien

£36m public funding for hack-resistant chips

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The UK government has partnered with Arm to develop chip technologies that are more resistant to cyber threats, backed by £36 million in funding.

The move kicks off the the next phase of the government’s Digital Security by Design initiative, which is also backed by Google and Microsoft.

Official figures say the average cost of a cyber-attack on a business – where a breach has resulted in loss of data or assets – has increased by more than £1,000 since 2018 to £4,180.

In addition to robust software, the government says innovative hardware and systems solutions are critical to defend advanced technology and our defence systems.

This project is aiming to prevent hackers from remotely taking control of computer systems as well as targeting cyber-attacks and breaches, meaning more businesses providing online services are better protected. It will also create new business opportunities and help boost productivity.

A further project, backed by £18 million government investment through the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF), will tackle some of the dangers of the online world from privacy abuses and wrongful use of data like disinformation and online fraud.

The initiative will help provide solutions to some of the issues identified in the government’s Online Harms white paper, which sets out plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. The project will help understand what businesses and individuals need to reduce the harm they are exposed to by using online platforms and will aim to develop more trustworthy technology.

This, the government says, will help to prevent incidents of online fraud, phishing emails, impersonating organisations online and viruses or other malware like ransomware, which cost the UK economy millions of pounds in lost productivity.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “Cyber-attacks can have a particularly nasty impact on businesses, from costing them thousands of pounds in essential revenue to reputational harm.Cyber-criminals operate in the shadows, with the severity, scale and complexity of breaches constantly evolving. It’s critical that we are ahead of the game and developing new technologies and methods to confront future threats, supporting our businesses and giving them peace of mind to deliver their products and services safely. Investing in our world-leading researchers and businesses to develop better defence systems makes good business and security sense.”

Minister for Digital and Broadband Matt Warman added: “The government wants the UK to be the safest place to be online and the best place to start and grow a digital business. As these investments show, we are determined to create the right environment to foster our thriving digital economy while giving people renewed confidence and trust in online services.We will always be firm in our support for the UK’s tech sector. Thanks to our work with the UK’s world-leading academic institutions and our business-friendly environment, we are helping entrepreneurs use technology to improve people’s lives and find solutions to future challenges.”

Building an effective cyber security culture

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There are three methods that make an effective defence against cybersecurity: tools, processes and arguably the most important factor, people.

And the vast majority of data breaches take advantage of your people in order to succeed, whether it be an employee opening a malicious attachment, letting a criminal tailgate into the office, or revealing their password over the telephone.

Building an effective cyber security culture with collective awareness training is essential to protecting your organisation against cyber criminals.   

Do you specialise in Anti-Malware solutions? We want to hear from you!

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Each month on IT Security Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the cyber security market – and in November we’re focussing on Anti-Malware solutions.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help IT security buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re an Anti-Malware solutions specialist and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Chris Cannon on c.cannon@forumevents.co.uk.

Here are the areas we’ll be covering, month by month:

Nov – Malware
Dec – Network Security Management

For information on any of the above topics, contact Chris Cannon on c.cannon@forumevents.co.uk.

Does your MSSP add value? Unsure? Switch

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It goes without saying that employing a MSSP should make managing your cyber security easier. But that’s not always the case.

Ask yourself these five questions to determine whether your MSSP is actually adding the value it claims to be adding.

If you aren’t confident, take the first step towards working with a reputable partner who will add the value your business deserves.

Click here to find out more.

Claim the last guest pass to the Security IT Summit

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Make sure your name is on the guest list for the Security IT Summit

Attendance at the Summit will give you the highest ROT (Return on Time), providing 12 months’ worth of meetings and connections in just one day. And it’s FREE for you to attend.

  • Receive a bespoke itinerary of pre-arranged, 1-2-1 meetings, based on your own, personal requirements
  • Attend a series of insightful seminar sessions
  • Network with like-minded IT security professionals
  • Enjoy complimentary lunch and refreshments

The Security IT Summit takes place on November 5th at the Hilton London Canary Wharf.

Register your place today!

UK workforce lacking basic cyber training

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77 per cent of UK workers admit that they have never received any form of training cyber skills training from their employer.

That’s according to a new study from Centrify and comes at the start of the European Union’s CyberSecMonth, designed to raise awareness of cybersecurity threats, promote cybersecurity among citizens and organisations; and provide resources to protect themselves online, through education and sharing of good practices.

The survey of 2,000 full time UK workers in professional services, conducted by independent survey company Censuswide, also found that over one quarter (27 per cent) of workers use the same password for multiple accounts, including work email and social media, putting both their personal security and that of their company at risk from hackers.

Most worryingly, the survey also found that 69 per cent admit that they do not have the confidence in their own cyber security processes when it comes to protecting their own data.

Additionally, 14 per cent have admitted to keeping their passwords recorded in an unsecured handwritten notebook or on their desk in the office. The news comes despite the UK government’s drive to improve cybersecurity for companies, with its Cyber Essentials programme.

A further 14 per cent do not utilise multi-factor authentication cyber security measures for apps or services unless required to do so – despite the fact that many consumer banking apps and social media now offer this service. 

Experts have warned that such a lacklustre approach to critical cyber awareness could land employers in hot water. 

Donal Blaney, a cyber law expert at Griffin Law said: “Ignorance of the law is no defence. Company directors and business owners owe it to themselves, their staff, their shareholders, and their customers to know how to protect their businesses and their customers’ data. They will only have themselves to blame if this blows up in their face one day.”

Andy Heather, VP at Centrify, added: “In an age where cyber attacks have emerged as one of the most ruthless and successful forms of crime that can be committed against a business on a large scale, it is astounding to hear that so many UK companies neglect to instil even the most basic cyber security measures in their employees.

“Just one misplaced password could result in the theft of millions of sensitive company documents, personal information and financial fraud, allowing hackers access to critical data. Tackling this issue requires urgent investment in cyber skills training and adopting a zero-trust approach, to further reduce the risk of weak passwords leaving easy entry points and to ensure malicious parties cannot run riot in company systems with stolen log-in credentials.”

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Four questions you need to answer after a cyber attack

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By Corvid

Cyber attacks are inevitable, but it’s how you deal with them that can make or break your business. Have you got all the answers, and do you fully understand their implications? Can you be sure the attack won’t happen again?

There are four key questions you need to be able to answer following a cyber security breach – if any one answer is missing, you won’t have the full picture, leaving your business vulnerable to future attacks.

Click here to discover this and more advice from Corvid.

Security IT Summit – Just 5 complimentary guest passes left

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Don’t miss out! Register today for the Security IT Summit. It’s free for you to attend and could help you reduce your expenditure by matching you up with innovative suppliers who match your business requirements.

But we have just five complimentary guest places left, so register today to avoid disappointment. Here’s why you should attend:

  • As one of our guests, you will be provided with a bespoke itinerary of face-to-face meetings with suppliers based on mutual agreement. No hard sell, and no time wasted.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to attend insightful seminars and interactive workshops.
  • Network with 60+ other cyber security professionals who share your challenges.
  • Enjoy complimentary lunch and refreshments.

Taking place on November 5th at the Hilton London Canary Wharf, the Security Summit provides a platform for new business connections.

But act swiftly! There are just five guest passes left – register today!

LORCA begins open call for fourth cohort of cyber scaleups

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The London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA) has launched a global open call for its fourth cohort of cyber scaleups, who will receive bespoke support to help them build in the UK and abroad.

Successful cohorts will also gain access to commercial and engineering experts through delivery partners Deloitte and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast.

The deadline for applying is Monday 4 November 2019, with full details available at lorca.co.uk/apply.

LORCA is inviting applications based on three innovation themes after consulting with industry leaders from various sectors about their most pressing cyber challenges and the types of solutions they need from the market in the future.

The three cross-cutting themes (Connected Economy, Connected Everything and Connected Everyone) relate to the macro challenges faced by business and society as the world becomes more digitised and connected.

LORCA looking for a broad range of innovators who can solve real-world cyber challenges across a variety of business and societal contexts to apply. 

Saj Huq, Programme Director, LORCA, said: “As technology increasingly impacts all aspects of business and society, it’s clear that a cybersecurity paradigm shift is needed. Now more than ever, we need to support the development of cutting-edge innovations across the board to help us lead safer digital lives, keep our infrastructure secure and protect our digital economy from complex and evolving cyber threats. Given its increasing significance within a world that is more connected by the day, cybersecurity has to be everywhere – and serve everyone.”

NCSC publishes university threat assessment

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The threats facing the UK’ universities and the steps they can take to protect themselves have been outlined in a report from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ.

The NCSC’s threat assessment aims to raise awareness of state-sponsored espionage targeting high-value research, as well as the risk of financial losses at the hands of cyber criminals.

While the NCSC has been working with the academic sector on an ongoing basis to improve security practices, this is the first threat assessment it has produced specifically for universities.

The assessment notes that while cyber criminals using methods such as phishing attacks and malware pose the most immediate, disruptive threat, the longer-term threat comes from nation states intent on stealing research for strategic gain.

To mitigate the risks, universities are encouraged to adopt security-conscious policies and access controls, as well as to ensure potentially sensitive or high-value research is separated rather than stored in one area.

Measures to support universities have been outlined in Trusted Research, from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and the NCSC, which offers accessible and actionable cyber security advice for university leaders, staff and researchers.

Sarah Lyons, Deputy Director for Economy and Society at the National Cyber Security Centre, said: “The UK’s universities are rightly celebrated for their thriving role in international research and innovation collaborations.

“The NCSC’s assessment helps universities better understand the cyber threats they may face as part of the global and open nature of research and what they can do about it using a Trusted Research approach.

“NCSC is working closely with the academic sector to ensure that, wherever the threat comes from, they are able to protect their research and their universities in cyberspace.”

The assessment found that the open and outward-looking nature of the universities sector, while allowing collaboration across international borders, also eases the task of a cyber attacker.

Among the examples highlighted in the assessment was an attack from last year attributed to Iranian actors in which they were able to steal the credentials of their victims after directing them to fake university websites.

The attack took place across 14 countries, including the UK, and many of the fake pages were linked to university library systems, indicating the actors’ appetite for this type of material.

The assessment also highlights the financial damage which can be caused by cyber attacks on UK universities, citing previous figures from UK Finance which estimated that UK university losses from cyber crime for the first half of 2018 were £145m. 

The threat assessment for universities can be read here.