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Google, Microsoft back UK government on cyber security

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Major businesses including Google and Microsoft have pledged to help the UK tackle the most damaging cyber security threats.

Up to £117 million of private industry investment will be combined with £70 million of government funding through the modern Industrial Strategy to develop new technologies.

These will range from a new and secure hardware prototype that can cope with cyber-attacks, to software protected from new vulnerabilities appearing online.

The government says that with cyber threats constantly evolving, the best defence in the future is seen as developing innovative solutions that can work independently and protect against threats even during attacks. It also wants to ensure that every UK organisation is as cyber secure and resilient as possible.

Nearly all UK businesses are reliant on digital technology and online services, yet more than 30% have experienced a cyber-security breach or attack in the last 12 months, according to the government’s own data.

For example, hackable home wifi routers can be used by attackers in botnets to attack major services and businesses.

The government says businesses are having to spend increasing amounts on cyber security, up to 20 to 40% of their IT spend in some cases. And as more and more systems are connected, whether in the home or businesses, there is a need for security that is secure by design.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Digital devices and online services are powering more of our daily lives than ever before, from booking a doctors’ appointment to buying online shopping. While these devices and services bring great benefits to businesses and consumers, they come with the associated risks of cyber-attacks and threats that are becoming increasingly complex to tackle.

“As we move to a more data-driven economy, nearly all UK businesses and organisations are reliant on these digital technologies and online services – but the threat of cyber-attacks is ever-present, with more than 30% of businesses having experienced a cyber-security breach or attack in the last 12 months.

“With government and industry investing together as part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we will ensure that the UK is well placed to capitalise on our status as one of the world leaders in cyber security by ‘designing in’ innovative measures into our technology that protect us from cyber threats. This will also help us bring down the growing cybersecurity costs to businesses.”

This expected joint investment will create projects to develop new solutions to cyber security over the next 5 years, with the aim of applying the findings in real-world markets through dedicated demo-projects led by business.

For example, these demo projects could include testing the new technology in the health sector to ensure a higher level of protection for patient data, or in consumer markets to ensure consumers’ personal data is fully protected as far as possible.

Dr Ian Levy, National Cyber Security Centre’s Technical Director said: “The National Cyber Security Centre is committed to improving security from the ground up, and we have been working closely with government to promote adoption of technology and practices to protect the UK.

“We hope this additional investment will drive fundamental changes to products we use every day. This is vital work, because improving hardware can eradicate a wide range of vulnerabilities that cause significant harm.”

Developing innovative solutions to cyber security will help put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution, in support of the government’s AI and Data Grand Challenge.

Details on the upcoming rounds of funding for this Digital Security by Design challenge, which will likely bring together academics, research institutions, start-ups, SMEs and large businesses, will be announced later this year.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay