Government plans national strategy to fight cybercrime

The Government has unveiled plans to create a national information security strategy that will bring together government bodies...

The Government has unveiled plans to create a national information security strategy that will bring together government bodies and the private sector in a co-ordinated fight against computer crime.

The national information assurance strategy, to be developed by the Office of the E-Envoy, is a response to concerns about the threat posed by computer-criminals as more organisations go online.

The strategy aims to identify key information security priorities for businesses and the Government, and will "bring coherence" to the work of a large number of private and public sector security bodies in the UK.

Announcing the move last week, Bob Evans, director for information assurance in the e-envoy's office, said that the UK needed to "move to a different level" in tackling computer crime.

"The threat is getting more sophisticated all the time. With more people going online and more hacking tools on the Internet, elementary and sophisticated forms of hacking are on the increase," he said.

The e-envoy's office plans to work with industry and government groups to develop the strategy over the next 12 months.

A minimally-funded, high-level body will be created to implement the strategy and pull together work by existing industry and government groups.

"It could make a tremendous difference. A lot of people are doing good work in this area already. We need to give them a bit of focus and leadership, so that everyone knows what we are trying to achieve," said Evans.

The strategy will eliminate the duplication between security initiatives across the UK, and fill gaps in research in network management and Internet security.

The move was welcomed this week by the Information Assurance Advisory Council, a group of business, law enforcement, government and research bodies.

Pauline Neville-Jones, chairwoman of the Information Assurance Advisory Council, said that the increasing integration and inter-reliance between systems and networks meant that without an overall approach to security, threats would not be properly addressed.

"It's about providing leadership. If the government has a strategy, businesses are much more likely to do what they need to do," she said.

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