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Government seeks public-private partnerships to tackle cyber threats

Warwick Ashford

Public private partnerships are key to the UK’s cyber security strategy, says Cabinet Office minister for political and constitutional reform,  Chloe Smith.

“We are all in this together. The government recognizes that and seeks to embrace that,” she told the opening session of the Govnet Cyber Security Summit 2012 in London.

Reiterating the stance that the internet is a “massive force for good,” that needs to be protected, Smith said the government had made progress in the first year of its latest “pioneering” cyber security strategy.

Highlighting government’s investment of £650m over four years from 2011 that will boost things like cyber threat understanding and law enforcement, she said a detailed official update in progress is due later this year.

Skills and training is another key area, said Smith, because the UK’s cyber security skills and capabilities have not increased at the same pace as technology innovation and its use by cyber criminals.

The government recognises the importance of developing and supporting short and long-term initiatives to meet this need, she said, including a new ICT curriculum in schools, mid-career training opportunities, and new university courses, and apprenticeship programmes to help make the UK more resilient to cyber attack.

But the private sector is the largest victim of cyber crime, said Smith, and much of the UK’s critical infrastructure is owned by private sector organisations.

“Therefore, public private partnerships are crucial, and government is looking to work with industry to help raise awareness, identify ways of mitigating threats, and sharing actionable information,” she said.

Smith pointed to the recent publication of cyber security guidelines for business as one of the ways government is helping private business to minimise risks and identify critical information assets.

GetSafeOnline and the national Cyber security Challenge are other examples of a public private partnerships that are helping to raise cyber security awareness and address the cyber security skills shortage,” she said.

Internationally, said Smith, the UK has led the debate with the London cyber security conference in 2011 that kicked off a process that was followed up recently in Budapest and will be continued in Seoul in 2013.

“At Budapest, the UK announced £2m funding for a cyber security hub which is about sharing information about what works,” she said.

The aim, said Smith is to get into a position where governments and businesses are beating attackers and conquering threats.

“But to do that, we must all work together to share skills, resources and intelligence; it is the only way we can continue enjoying the benefits of the cyber world,” she said.

 


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