UK government to spend £1bn on cybersecurity

According to a report in The Register, the money will be used to acquire active defense capabilities against cyber attacks on government systems and critical civilian infrastructure, such as utility grids and the National Health Service.

This news follows a major address earlier this week by Ian Lobban, the director of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), on cybersecurity policy. In a speech to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Lobban stressed that cybersecurity is not just a defense issue but it goes to the “heart of our economic well-being and national interest”.

Lobban added that cybercrime is becoming an increasing economic threat.

“Just one botnet is believed to have stolen credit card and online banking details from up to 12.7 million victims worldwide. This puts individual citizens at risk. And we have seen such botnets-for-hire used by organized criminal groups for concerted attempts to perpetrate multiple small frauds – not just against commercial targets but against online tax systems across Europe”, he told the IISS audience.

The GCHQ director also warned about cyber attacks against the UK’s critical infrastructure. He called on operators of critical infrastructure facilities to provide his agency with a “direct feed of information…so that we are aware of the attacks that they are seeing on their systems as they happen”.

Lobban called for a co-operative approach between the UK government and industry to improve cybersecurity defenses. “There is an opportunity which we can seize if government and the telecommunications sector, hardware and software vendors, and managed service providers can come together. It's an opportunity to develop a holistic approach to cybersecurity that makes UK networks intrinsically resilient in the face of cyber threats”, he stressed.

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