Gov announces cyber security design plan

Business secretary Greg Clark has announced new measures aimed at helping digital device and online service providers to ‘design out’ some of the most damaging cyber security threats.

In an announcement timed to coincide with yesterday’s data privacy day, Clark announced that designers of online services and digitally-enabled products will be encouraged to develop hardware solutions to complement software to tackle the rising threat of cyberattack.

The global market for cybersecurity solutions is predicted to grow to £39 billion within the next decade, according to Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy figures, with 40 per cent of UK businesses having experienced a cyber breach or attack within the last 12 months.

The government stated it wants to see the UK invest in defences and become a world leader in eradicating some of the most damaging security threats to protect businesses and consumers.

Part of the funding for the initiative to ‘bake in’ cyber defence technology to digital devices, hardware, chip designs and online services will come from the £70 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and backed by further investment from industry.

A further £30 million of government investment will be focussed on ensuring smart systems and connected devices are safe and secure.

Smart internet connected devices can include anything from operating a central heating thermostat via a smart phone, to pressing a button to unlock the front door of a house.

There are expected to be more than 420 million such devices in use across the UK within the next three years.

Greg Clark said: “With businesses having to invest more and more in tackling ever more complex cyber attacks, ‘designing in’ security measures into the hardware’s fabric will not only protect our businesses and consumers but ultimately cut the growing cybersecurity costs to businesses.”

He added that businesses were having to set aside increasing amounts to boost their cyber security defences, in some cases accounting for between 20 and 40 per cent of their total IT spend.

Clark also outlined the growing risks posed by Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices. “Hackable home Wi-Fi routers can be used by attackers in botnets to attack major services and businesses. Moreover, consumers are often the worst affected by mass information leaks than the organisation that held their data.”

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