Government publishes new strategy to protect UK from cyber threats

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The Government has published its new National Cyber Strategy which sets out how the UK will solidify its position as a global cyber power. This is the first major milestone following the publication of the Government’s Integrated Review earlier this year.

The strategy builds on the significant progress made on cyber over the last five years which has seen the UK cyber security sector grow rapidly, with more than 1,400 businesses generating revenues of £8.9 billion last year, supporting 46,700 skilled jobs, and attracting significant overseas investment.

Steve Barclay, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “The new National Cyber Strategy transforms how the UK will advance its national interests in cyberspace and is a major milestone following the publication of the Integrated Review earlier this year.

“It sets out an ambition to building cyber expertise in all parts of the country, strengthening our offensive and defensive capabilities and ensuring the whole of society plays its part in the UK’s cyber future, and comes with record funding to match.”

The Government is announcing a new “Cyber Explorers” online training platform which will teach young people cyber skills in classrooms, and is taking steps to improve diversity in the cyber workforce through a new adult scheme which will ensure that people from all backgrounds have access to these high skill, high priority jobs.

In addition, a new “Royal Charter” for the UK Cyber Security Council has been approved by the Queen, which will help improve cyber careers and bring the cyber workforce into line with other professional occupations like engineering.

To promote growth and innovation in the UK cyber industry the Government is investing in the Cyber Runway scheme which is helping 107 innovators grow and develop their businesses, with the majority of member companies outside of London and the South East, 45 per cent led by women and 52 per cent run by founders from black and minority ethnic groups.

Funding for these growth and skills programmes will be reoriented away from large, often London-based initiatives to a regionally delivered model which will mean more jobs and better opportunities for people across the UK.

Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez, said: “This ground-breaking strategy will help secure the UK’s position as a leading cyber power and ensure people right across the country have the knowledge and skills they need to stay safe online.

“It’s great news that the UK Cyber Security Council’s Royal Charter application has been approved and we will continue to work closely with the sector to inspire the next generation to consider a career in cyber.”

The strategy also sets out the Government’s plan to keep citizens safe in cyberspace and stamp out cyber crime by:

  • Bolstering law enforcement with significant funding so that they can ramp up their targeting of criminals;
  • Increasing investment in the National Cyber Force which represents the UK’s offensive capability to counter, disrupt, degrade and contest those who would do harm to the UK and its allies;
  • Expanding GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre’s research capabilities, including the new applied research hub in Manchester;
  • Implementing the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill to enforce minimum security standards in all new consumer smart products; and
  • Investing in public sector cyber security to ensure that key public services remain resilient to evolving threats and can continue to deliver for citizens who need them.

Sir Jeremy Fleming, Director GCHQ said: “The National Cyber Strategy builds on the country’s strong foundations in cyber security that GCHQ’s work has been part of, particularly through the NCSC. But it goes beyond that. It brings together the full range of cyber activities, from skills to communities, and to the use of offensive cyber capabilities through the newly established National Cyber Force.

“It shows how the UK can build capacity across the country to continue to prosper from the opportunities of cyberspace. And, as a leading responsible cyber power, can build alliances with democratic partners around the world to protect a free, open and peaceful cyberspace.”

The strategy recognises the vital role of the private sector in ensuring the UK’s cyber future through the establishment of the new National Cyber Advisory Board (NCAB) which will bring together senior leaders from the private and third sectors to challenge, support and inform the Government’s approach to cyber.

This new body comes alongside the creation of a National Laboratory for Operational Technology Security which will bring Government, industry and academia together to make sure that the UK economy is built on the highest level of cyber resilience.

Further support will also be made available to help regional firms to become world class exporters including through a new online “Export Faculty” Hub for SMEs in the defence and security sector.

All of these plans are supported by the £2.6 billion investment in cyber announced in this year’s Spending Review.