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UK cyber security strategy aimed at growth, says government official

Warwick Ashford

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Warwick Ashford is chief reporter at Computer Weekly. He joined the CW team in June 2007 and is focused on IT security, business continuity, IT law and issues relating to regulation, compliance and governance. Before joining CW, he spent four years working in various roles including technology editor for ITWeb, an IT news publisher based in Johannesburg, South Africa. In addition to news and feature writing for ITWeb’s print publications, he was involved in liaising with sponsors of specialist news areas on the ITWeb site and developing new sponsorship opportunities. He came to IT journalism after three years as a course developer and technical writer for an IT training organisation and eight years working in radio news as a writer and presenter at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

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The UK's soon-to-be-published cyber security strategy will focus on promoting growth to bring about transformational change, says Owen Pengelly, deputy director of policy at the Office for Cyber Security and Information Assurance in the Cabinet Office

Standards like Trusted Computing will help drive that growth, he told attendees of the 2011 Trusted Computing Seminar, hosted by Wave Systems in London.

Trusted Computing (TC) is a technology developed and promoted by the Trusted Computing Group to allow third parties to verify that only authorised code runs on a system.

Pengelly said the cyber security strategy, expected to be published in mid-November, is aimed at enabling the UK to reap the huge economic and social value of a resilient and secure cyber space by 2015, and will comprise four key elements, of which TC supports at least three.

These are: first, making the public safe online and ensuring the UK is a good place to do business online; second, making the UK more resilient to cyber attack and better able to protect its interests; third, ensuring the UK can help shape an open, secure and vibrant cyber space; and fourth, building UK knowledge, skills and capability to underpin these objectives.

There is no point in developing UK cyber capability without having the means to stop intellectual property theft that is affecting the UK defence and creative industries in particular, said Pengelly.

"We need to address this, or the UK will miss the opportunity to get back on the path to growth. Better IT security through Trusted Computing will help support growth through better risk management and greater confidence in online transactions, which in turn, will help markets expand and function more efficiently," he said.

According to Pengelly, awareness among businesses of intellectual property theft is "wildly varying", but there is generally a low awareness of the vulnerability of key information assets.

The next task for government, he said, once it has set out its overall cyber security strategy, is to identify what standards, like Trusted Computing, support that and to consider government's role in providing incentives to adopt those standards.

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