House of Commons puts staff members on cyber security training

The House of Commons (HoC) has put more than 2,500 staff members through cyber security training following Whitehall CCTV security fears.

A total of 2,658 HoC staff member have been asked to partake in an eight-part cyber security training course in 2020-21 financial year according to official figures unearthed by the Parliament Street think tank.

The findings, obtained using Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation, have come to light following the ICO’s decision to raid the homes of two people under suspicion of leaking CCTV footage of Health Secretary Matt Hancock kissing an aide in his office.

The eight-part course called ‘Annual Essentials Certification’ covers training in cyber security and cyber crime, including awareness of phishing, the need to set strong passwords and how to work safely online.

The data revealed that a total of 2,207 staffers attended the course in the previous financial year, FY 19/20.

The FOI data revealed that the original design and content development work for the Cyber Security module cost £16,140, and the government also pays a £56,400 annual subscription fee to its learning management system provider to access a wide range of courses and for maintenance.

In the previous year (FY 19/20), just over £7,000 was spent on two specialist training courses, one on Cyber Threat Intelligence, and the other on becoming a Cyber Security Manager.

Commenting on the findings, Cyber ​​expert Andy Harcup, senior director, at Gigamon said: “With rising cyber threats targeting government departments, boosting cyber skills and awareness for parliamentary staffers is a smart and necessary move."

He added: “With the Covid-19 pandemic triggering a dramatic increase in flexible working, it’s more important than ever that public sector organisations have robust systems and training in place to identify potential threats. Key to this effort is gaining full visibility into network traffic across the parliamentary estate, so that the IT team can identify rogue users and hostile attacks, allowing them to take action before a cyber breach can occur.”

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