Addressing the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) Tuesday, George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a £1.9 billion investment in cyber security by 2020. In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris, Osborne pledged solidarity with the nation of France as he shared details of a National Cyber Security Plan that had already been in the works. The new U.K. program will establish a National Cyber Centre (NCC) and increased support for the U.K.’s National Cyber Crime Unit.
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In his speech, Osborne outlined his five-step plan to make cyber security the U.K.’s top priority. While the government will play the largest role in this effort, service providers should take this latest program to heart. With a greater focus on not just containing, but combatting cybercrime, there will be more opportunities to receive the financial support you need, while closing the widening IT skills gap that’s kept you from growing and scaling your businesses.
During Osborne’s speech, there were many poignant moments particularly relevant to U.K. IT solutions providers. We’ve grabbed the 15 we found to be the most relevant!
A National Emphasis on Cybercrime Prevention
1. “Getting cyber security right requires new thinking. But certain principles remain true in cyberspace as they are true about security in the physical world.”
2. “Citizens need to follow basic rules of keeping themselves safe – installing security software, downloading software updates, using strong passwords.”
3. “Companies need to protect their own networks, and harden themselves against cyber attack.”
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4. “The starting point must be that every British company is a target, that every British network will be attacked, and that cyber crime is not something that happens to other people.”
5. “Over the past 18 months, for example, GCHQ has helped U.K. law enforcement tackle a number of high-profile operations against pernicious cybercrime malware threats, like Dridex, Shylock and GameOver Zeus. These have cost U.K. citizens and companies and government departments millions of pounds in the form of fraud, theft and damage[.]”
6. “I can tell you today that right now GCHQ is monitoring cyber threats from high end adversaries against 450 companies across the aerospace, defence, energy, water, finance, transport and telecoms sectors.”
7. “In protecting the U.K. from cyber attack, we are not starting from zero.”
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8. “The truth is that we have to run simply to stand still. The pace of innovation of cyber attack is breathtakingly fast, and defending Britain means that we have to keep up.”
9. “It is easier and cheaper to attack a network than it is to defend it. The barriers to entry are coming right down, and so the task of the defenders is becoming harder.”
10. “Last summer GCHQ dealt with 100 cyber national security incidents per month. This summer, the figure was 200 a month. Each of these attacks damages companies, their customers, and the public’s trust in our collective ability to keep their data and privacy safe.”
11. “But the Prime Minister, my colleagues at the top of government and I have decided that we have to make a top priority of cyber security, if Britain is to be able to defend itself, now and in the future.”
12. “Internet service providers already divert their customers from known bad addresses, to prevent them from being infected with malware. We will explore whether they can work together – with our help – to provide this protection on a national level.”
13. “[W]ith the right systems and tools our private Internet service providers could kick out a high proportion of the malware in the U.K. Internet, and block the addresses which we know are doing nothing but scamming, tricking and attacking British Internet users.”
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14. “We will never succeed in keeping Britain safe in cyberspace unless we have more people with the cyber skills that we need. This year’s Global Information Security Workforce Study estimates that theglobal cyber security workforce shortage will widen to 1.5 million by 2020.”
15. “If we do not act decisively, the skills gap will grow, and limit everything we want to achieve in cyberspace. So we will launch an ambitious programme to build the cyber skills our country needs, identifying young people with cyber talent, training them, and giving them a diversity of routes into cyber careers.”
Osborne’s full speech can be found here.
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