The information security industry has welcomed a government grant of £1.1bn to fund defence initiatives, including fighting cyber threats.
The UK’s armed forces must adapt to deal with “unseen enemies,” prime minister David Cameron said in an article written for The Telegraph.
“The majority of the money - £800 million – is being spent on intelligence and surveillance equipment. It includes the latest in cyber defence technology,” David Cameron said.
Cameron said the investment recognised that "it is not massed tanks on the European mainland we need, but the latest in cyber warfare, unmanned aircraft technology and special forces capability”. He said "plots hatched thousands of miles away" could cause harm in the UK.
He said that having a modern, technological, advanced and flexible armed forces was not a national vanity, but a “national necessity”.
Cameron said the fund shows the UK is equipping its armed forces for the conflicts of this century, not the last.
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“The threats we face have changed utterly in 30 years – from the clarity of the Cold War to the complex and shifting challenges of today: Global terrorism, organised crime, hostage taking, the risk of nuclear proliferation, cyber attack and energy security," he said.
Rob Cotton, chief executive at global information assurance firm NCC Group, welcomed the government’s acknowledgement that cyber attacks are often used as a weapon.
“This new funding should significantly help to predict future attacks and mitigate the risks,” Cotton said.
While increasing intelligence around these threats is a sensible starting point, Cotton said the UK will hopefully also increase collaboration with other nations to combat this international issue.
“We would like to think that there will be a time in the near future when cyber crime is thought of as on a par with other criminal activity,” he said.
However, Cotton believes there is still a way to go until businesses and the general public are as aware of the warning signs and impact of cyber threats as they are with other types of crime.
“The more we can address this, then the more real chance we will have of preventing future attacks that can be costly on a national level,” he said.