UK Government Coughs Up £5m in Cybersecurity Funding

The UK government has announced a major £5m investment designed to expand cybersecurity research and innovation capabilities at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) in Belfast.

The center, part of Queen’s University in the Northern Irish capital, will plough in another £9m, alongside that pledged by Innovate UK – what used to be the Technology Strategy Board – and government agency the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Much of the planned research will be focused on smart cities and the internet of things, with other key areas including fraud prevention and securing connected devices and virtual environments, the EPSRC said.

Industry collaboration will be a major imperative, building on previous endeavors which have seen the creation of three start-ups and the creation of 950 new jobs in the sector since the center was launched in 2009.

CSIT said it is hoping for more of the same going forward, as well as providing more skills and training for the cybersecurity industry in the UK, and increasing research funding over the next five years to £38m.

“The potential benefits of the virtual world and the opportunities that interconnected devices offer, for instance in our abilities to monitor health, energy and maintain security, are vast,” said EPSRC CEO Philip Nelson.

“However, we need to be able to operate in a resilient and secure environment that can cope with challenge of criminal and external threats. This funding will help arm the UK with the skilled people and techniques it needs to prosper as a nation.”

Gemalto vice president of cloud services, identity and data protection, Jason Hart, welcomed the extra investment in cybersecurity initiatives but argued that there should be a strong focus on  the secure use of passwords.

“One of the things that malware does is capture user passwords, so if the individual is using the same password across multiple accounts, which many people often do, they are at risk of having several accounts compromised,” he added.

“Today people have multiple identities: personal, business and IoT, so if one account is breached, the likelihood if that all personas are at risk as well.”

The investment announcement comes a couple of years after Royal Holloway and other selected universities were awarded a multi-million pound grant as part of the government’s UK Cyber Security Strategy.

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