The UK government has pledged to invest £1.9 billion to improve the UK’s cyber-security defences over the next four years, in a bid to stop UK businesses from falling victim to widespread cyber-attacks. The latest research from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) reports that cyber-attacks have cost the UK economy almost £11 billion in losses during the last 12 months.
Speaking at Microsoft’s Future Decoded event in London, Chancellor Phillip Hammond said: “If we want Britain to be the best place in the world to be a business then it is also crucial that Britain is a safe place to do digital business. Trust in the internet and the infrastructure on which it relies is fundamental to our economic future.”
The threat of cyber-attacks and the damage they have on the wider economy is growing, year-on year. According to the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) Cybercrime Assessment Survey 2016, cybercrime has surpassed traditional crime in the UK for the first time—highlighting the need for stronger law enforcement to tackle the issue. This survey also showcased the severe impact cyber-attacks are having on UK businesses, with more than two thirds of large businesses experiencing a cyber-attack in the last year.
According to a recent report from the Ponemon Institute, ‘Cost of Cyber Crime Study: United Kingdom’, cyber-attacks cost businesses on average £4.1 million per incident and each incident can take an average of 31 days to resolve. In a time of economic uncertainty, no business can afford to stop functioning for that length of time and therefore more needs to be done to proactively prevent attacks from happening.
This new investment will fund the UK’s cyber-security programme until 2020, and will involve the creation of a new Cyber-security Research Institute and the training of 50 new NCA cybercrime specialists.
Minister for the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey said: “The UK is a world-leading digital economy and this government has made cyber-security a top priority. Too many firms are losing money, data and consumer confidence with the vast number of cyber-attacks. It is absolutely crucial businesses are secure and can protect data.”
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, said: “Whether it is ‘script kiddies’ sitting in their garage or state actors – clearly we have seen the internet can be attacked and has been attacked in all kinds of different ways. The United Kingdom needs to have a strong but responsible and accountable police force and [cyber-intelligence agency] GCHQ needs to have the tools to be able to defend us and defend the open internet.”
Anti-fraud and revenue protection specialist Revector is developing a suite of cyber-protection services for businesses, to prevent critical information being stolen and keep vital networks secure from fraudulent activity.