Government to pump £70m into ‘designing out’ cyber threats

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund cash to be used for designing and developing more secure hardware in a bid to eradicate cyber threats

The government is to put £70m towards making the UK a world leader in eliminating cyber threats to businesses and consumers, business secretary Greg Clark has announced.

The money, from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, will be used to develop more resilient IT hardware, with security and protection designed directly into the hardware and chips.

The government believes this research and development will increase security and protections in digital services and products, and will “design out” many forms of cyber threats.

Clark said this could be a “real step-change in computer and online security, better protecting businesses, services and consumers from cyber attacks”.

He added: “With businesses having to invest more and more in tackling ever more complex cyber attacks, ‘designing in’ security measures into the hardware’s fabric will not only protect our businesses and consumers, but will ultimately cut the growing cyber security costs to businesses.

“This is our modern industrial strategy in action – building on the UK’s heritage and strengths in computing and cyber security alongside the government and industry investing together to ensure the UK capitalises on its position to become a leader in the growing markets and technologies of tomorrow.”

According to the government, 40% of UK businesses have experienced a cyber breach in the past 12 months. The £70m Digital Security by Design challenge will be subject to business case approval for individual projects, and match-funding from industry.

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The government is also investing £30m in a programme called Ensuring the Security of Digital Technology at the Pheriphery, which will focus on ensuring that smart systems, such as connected devices, are safe and secure.

“Hackable home Wi-Fi routers can be used by attackers in botnets to attack major services and businesses,” said Clark.

“Moreover, consumers are often worse affected by mass information leaks than the organisation that held their data. Businesses are having to spend increasing amounts on cyber security, up to 20-40% of their IT spend in some cases. And as more and more systems are connected, whether in the home or businesses, there is a need for security that is secure by design.” 

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