The Government has announced the creation of a dedicated Office of Cyber Security to protect the UK and British citizens from the growing threats posed in cyberspace.
With modern Britons becoming increasingly dependent on computers and communications technology, the internet has become an area where the UK and its citizens can become vulnerable to hostile states, terrorists, and criminals.
The new measures announced by the Prime Minister are designed to help the Government reshape the way Britain responds to these cyber challenges that threaten UK security interests.
In a statement, the Prime Minister said:
“Just as in the nineteenth century we had to secure the seas for our national safety and prosperity, and in the twentieth century we had to secure the air, in the twenty first century we also have to secure our position in cyber space in order to give people and businesses the confidence they need to operate safely there. That is why today I am announcing – alongside our updated National Security Strategy – the UK’s first strategy for cyber security”.
The dedicated Office of Cyber Security will be responsible for overseeing a programme of work that will span Government agencies, while a new multi-agency Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) in Cheltenham will take on the role of co-ordinating the protection of the UK’s critical IT systems. This will involve bringing together existing computer forensic activity to monitor the health of cyberspace and co-ordinate incident response.
It is hoped that the move will bring existing efforts on cyber security into alignment, which currently includes advice to businesses via the Security Service, support for general internet users via the Government Communications Headquarters, and cyber investigation and law enforcement via the Metropolitan Police’s e-crime unit.
The Government has also announced additional funding to improve systems that detect cyber attacks. It is hoped that this better allows Government and business to share vital information about threats and attacks, creating an improved picture of the risks posed.
Included in the developments announced today are plans for further work towards tackling criminal and terrorist use of cyberspace, in line with strategy currently being developed by the Association of Chief Police Officers. Efforts will also be made to make critical systems in the public and private sectors more resilient, and to better advise businesses and citizens about protecting themselves on line.
The Government have also announced the first National Security Strategy with the wider remit of rethinking national security for the modern age and focussing on protecting citizens from the full range of risks that can cause harm those posed by environmental pollution.
Commenting on the wider National Security Strategy update, the Prime Minister said:
“This strategy is a comprehensive framework for the way in which we deliver the highest duty of Government – the protection of our people.
Our strategy is also an open and transparent assessment of the challenges we face, and I encourage people to scrutinise what we are doing and join the debate about our security priorities for the future”.