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Lidington: UK government to help business resist cyber attacks

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David Lidington
David
Lidington.

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  • The UK government will step up efforts to protect
    businesses from cyber attacks, minister David Lidington writes
    for Business Insider.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre — set up in
    2016 — has defended the UK from over 1,100 cyber
    attacks.
  • However, the threat of cyber attacks is not going away,
    and a majority of businesses are not sufficiently equipped to
    fight the threat of cybercriminals and

    hacktivists, Lidington warns.
  • The government will offer businesses a “toolkit” for
    defending itself from cyberwarfare. 
  • “Cyber attacks are not going away. It is right that we
    invest in cybersecurity start-ups and support the wider
    industry,” Theresa May’s de facto deputy writes
    .

The UK is at the forefront of a worldwide digital revolution.
Most of us have embraced digital technology, and depend on it
more and more in our daily lives, both at home and at work. Our
ever-increasing levels of internet access are driving our digital
industry which is now growing faster than any other part of the
UK’s economy.

However, all this growth brings with it ongoing and developing
dangers from hostile states, “hacktivists” and cybercriminals.

Cybersecurity is one of my main priorities, as well as the
government’s, and we are committed to making the UK the safest
place to live and do business online. In 2016, recognising the
need for a comprehensive approach, we launched the National Cyber
Security Strategy to help us achieve this and to build our
resilience to cyber attacks. Central to this was the creation of
the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). It has brought
together the very best experts and intelligence to fight online
attackers — and defended the UK from more than 1,100 cyber
attacks.

This morning, I will be opening trading at the London Stock
Exchange and meeting business leaders before their first
cybersecurity master class. I welcome their engagement — and I am
grateful to the financial services sector for developing CBEST, a
successful model which tests and improves our ability to find and
act against potential threats. Last week, I announced
GBEST — a new government scheme inspired by this model which
will help protect the public sector from highly sophisticated and
persistent cyber attacks.

Government has learned a lot from the business world — and I hope
that some companies will recognise they can learn from each
other, too. This year’s Government Cyber Breaches Survey revealed
that only 30% of businesses have a board member responsible for
cybersecurity. Importantly, a significant proportion of companies
are still not adopting the basic precautions needed to protect
themselves from the large amount of low-level cyber threats that
all organisations face.

This is why we are re-focusing our efforts towards driving
long-term, cultural change. We are helping boards to gain a
better understanding of the cyber risks they face, so they can
take the appropriate action. Later this year, I will be writing
to all FTSE 350 Chairs to highlight the new Board Toolkit being
developed by the NCSC, highlight our 10 Steps to Cyber Security
document, and promote the Cyber Essentials scheme, which helps
those in industry to take simple steps that can prevent most high
volume, low sophistication attacks.

Cyber attacks are not going away. It is right that we invest in
cybersecurity start-ups and support the wider industry. This
effort is paying off as our world-leading cybersecurity industry
is making an enormous contribution — generating more than £5
billion to our economy.

The industry is benefiting from strong and unique support from
government, including specialist expertise and world-leading
academic institutions. These are providing access to vital
funding, business support and testing facilities. There has never
been a better time to invest in our high-quality and home-grown
cybersecurity start-ups and emerging businesses – of which there
are now over 800 companies across the UK.

Their invaluable work will help us all better understand the
scale of the challenge we face — and help build up our defences
to enable the UK to be the safest place to live and do business
online.

David Lidington is the Minister for the Cabinet
Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He has been the
MP for Aylesbury since 1992. 

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Insider.

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