Government to allocate £500m for cyber-defence

Government to allocate £500m for cyber-defence

Summary: Over half a billion pounds will go to cyber-defence and improving the computer security of the critical national infrastructure, the government has announced

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The government is to spend over £500m to boost critical national infrastructure and improve cyber-defence, prime minister David Cameron told parliament on Tuesday.

"We need to focus more resources... on the unconventional threats of the future," said Cameron, who was speaking at the launch of the government's five-year defence spending plan, the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

Cameron said that the funding would boost cyber-defence capabilities and fix "shortfalls" in the critical national infrastructure, while the government would formulate a national cybersecurity programme.

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Cybersecurity efforts will be realigned across central government, the military and intelligence agencies, a Cabinet Office spokesperson told ZDNet UK on Tuesday. In addition, critical national infrastructure such as electrical utilities would receive government attention.

At present, cyber-defence efforts are co-ordinated by the Office of Cyber Security, a central government agency. The Cyber Security Operations Centre, based at Cheltenham, analyses and responds to attacks on UK infrastructure. It is linked to GCHQ, which recently warned that government systems are under persistent cyberattack.

"The Office of Cyber Security has done a good job, while the Cyber Security Operations Centre has been very successful," said the Cabinet Office spokesman.

"The bigger picture is that... the critical national infrastructure needs the best defence. Defence, GCHQ, cybersecurity and government will all have a share of how [cyber-defence] is operated," he added.

At present, the Office of Cyber Security is overseen by the Cabinet Office, but has input from security experts from the military and intelligence agencies. Under the government plans, the Ministry of Defence will provide more expertise, said the spokesperson.

"It will be a combination of the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ," said the spokesman. "Clearly we need to reach out [more] to the Ministry of Defence — they are leaders in protecting systems."

On Monday the government announced its National Security Strategy, which ranked cyberattacks among the 'Tier One' threats facing the UK, alongside terrorism and military crises.

Topics: Government UK, Security

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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  • Waste of money. ALL Internet facing computers are attacked ALL the time by ALL script kiddies. Which is why you don't attach control systems to the Internet.

    Most likely Cameron thinks this is a way to deflect criticism of the defence cuts, while stimulating the UK IT industry, but the military money goes to large contractors (typically US Corps) and the UK IT industry are small contractors, usually not able to jump the DoD hurdles.

    Same with the EU spending budget, whenever EU has funded IT projects, the large companies with the EU lobby groups are the ones able to jump the hoops needed to grab the funding. I recall IBM getting EU money on one of the previous rounds of 'Eu' funding.

    So the idea that it stimulates UK IT industry really won't work.

    IMHO, the best thing he could do right now is energy security. That's the real challenge now, forget armies fighting over oil, there just isn't enough oil now no matter how big the army. No, new energy generation, energy conservation, etc, the biggest threat to the UK (or indeed the world) right now.
    guihombre
  • I agree it is a waste of money, speaking of defence cut's I was standing in the TA drill hall when it was announced to all TA soldiers that Whitehall had cut all TA funding.

    That prompted a lot of muttering on the subject one such comment caught the regimental Sargent majors attention which was "Well bugger that, if I am not getting paid, then I really don’t see why I should turn up!"

    The EU is in a huge financial mess, the only people still clinging on to it are the Germans who got into the deal early and are some of the ones actually benefiting from it.
    icefire-28d7a