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MPs begin cyber inquiry

The UK Parliament’s Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy is launching an inquiry into cyber security.

The chair of the committee, the former Labour Government minister Margaret Beckett, said: “The internet has changed our daily lives almost beyond recognition from the way we communicate, to the way we trade and the way Government provides services to citizens. However, while the digital revolution has opened up a whole host of opportunities, it has also created new vulnerabilities. The national security implications of the leap to cyber are a matter of increasing concern. Attention has recently focused on the potential exploitation of the cyber domain by other states and associated actors for political purposes, but this is just one source of threat that the Government must address through its recently launched five-year strategy.”

The committee is calling for submissions which address:

– types and sources of cyber threats faced by the UK;
– effectiveness and coherence of the strategic lead provided by the National Security Council, Departments, agencies, and the National Cyber Security Centre;
– Learning points drawn from the first Cyber Security Strategy and the fitness for purpose of the second Cyber Security Strategy;
– Whether the UK has committed sufficient human, financial and technical resources to address the scale of cyber security challenge;
– development of offensive cyber capabilities and the norms governing their use;
– Ways the UK Government can work with the private sector to build cyber resilience and cyber skills;
– balance of responsibilities between the Government and private sector in protecting critical national infrastructure;
– appropriate role for Government in regulating and legislating in relation to cyber both nationally and internationally; and
– How the UK can co-operate with allies and partners on the development of capabilities, standard setting and intelligence sharing.


Jon Geater, CTO at Thales e-Security, said: “It is encouraging to see the government taking further, and necessary, steps to review of the nation’s cybersecurity strategy especially as cyber-attacks – across all sectors – are only rising in this increasingly internet-centric world. More and more commercial industry and home equipment is beginning to play a part in critical systems and cyber attackers can exploit this to great effect. Successfully derailing critical infrastructure or hacking into government databases isn’t the stuff of fiction anymore: this threat is real and growing, and it is crucial that robust cyber security defences are in place to safeguard our vital services and valuable citizen data from this growing risk.

“The launch of this national inquiry into cybersecurity, along with the recent launch of the National Cyber Security Centre, show that the UK government is not only taking a threat-based approach to security – in which it actively analyses the types of attacks it might realistically face – but is also genuinely moving the state of security forwards. It has decried scare tactics and the ‘monster under the bed’ approach of reactive endpoint security in favour of active conscious protection. The Government is explicitly recognising the requirement to work with industry experts and forward-looking companies to share the responsibility of keeping society safe, as networks and software become the lifeblood of our critical infrastructure and daily lives.”

Dr Malcolm Murphy, Technology Director, Western Europe, Infoblox, said: “The government made it clear in 2016 that it is committed to improving the nation’s cybersecurity. Further to allocating a total budget of £1.9 billion for 2016 to 2021, the launch of the National Cyber Security Centre provides a new open door policy so that organisations have the necessary information to prevent and respond to cyber-attacks. We would encourage as many businesses as possible to engage with the new inquiry into cyber security to ensure that the government’s resources are applied in the most effective way.

“The private sector can’t expect the government to provide a fully secure cyber landscape – but should take the advice and resources that it offers to best secure their online environment. Collaborating with government and sharing threat information is just one way of helping to ensure the fruitfulness of this relationship.


Parliamentarians point to technology, cyber threats and wider technological developments, as one of the major security challenges facing the UK, according to the 2015 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review. The Government has said it will treat a cyber attack on the UK as seriously as a conventional attack. The second National Cyber Security Strategy was launched in November 2016 to address challenges in relation to cyber security with a total budget of £1.9 billion for 2016 to 2021.


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