First ever UK Government Cybersecurity Strategy launched

January 26, 2022

The first ever UK Cybersecurity strategy has been introduced, which aims to further protect industries and public services that the public rely on.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay has outlined the cyber-threats that government and wider public sector systems face in a speech, as he launches the strategy. Barclay explained that Britain is now the third most targeted country in the world in cyberspace from hostile states.

The new strategy will be backed by £37.8 million which is to be invested in helping local authorities boost their cyber-resilience – protecting the essential services and data on which citizens rely on including housing benefit, voter registration, electoral management, school grants and the provision of social care.

It also outlines how central government and the public sector will continue to ensure that public services can function in the face of growing cyber-threats. It will step up the country’s cyber-resilience by better sharing data, expertise and capabilities to allow government to ‘Defend As One’, meaning that government cyber-defence is far greater than the sum of its parts.

Of the 777 incidents managed by the National Cybersecurity Centre between September 2020 and August 2021, around 40% were aimed at the public sector. In 2020, both Redcar & Cleveland and Hackney Councils were hit by ransomware attacks impacting council tax, benefits and housing waiting lists. Gloucester City Council was then the subject of a further cyber-attack in 2021.

The strategy will make core government functions, such as the delivery of essential public services, more resilient than ever before to cyber-attacks from malicious actors.

Government Chief Security Officer, Vincent Devine said: “We need this bold and ambitious strategy to ensure that government’s critical functions are significantly hardened to cyber-attacks.

“The strategy is centred around two core pillars, the first focusing on building a strong foundation of organisational cybersecurity resilience and the second aimed at allowing government to ‘defend as one’, harnessing the value of sharing data, expertise and capabilities.”

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