UK Government announces £35 million cyber proposals

The Government announced it is partnering with the AI technology firm Arm in a project to develop new chips that are more resistant to cyber threats, backed by £36m in funding

by Patrick Sullivan, Political Editor on 18 October 2019 10:53

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Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom announced that UK Government is partnering with the AI technology firm Arm in a project to develop new chips that are more resistant to cyber threats, backed by £36m in funding. This is the next phase of the government’s Digital Security by Design initiative, also backed by Google and Microsoft.

The partners say that the project has the potential to prevent hackers from remotely taking control of computer systems as well as targeting breaches. Andrea Leadsom said: “Cyber-attacks can have a particularly nasty impact on businesses, from costing them thousands of pounds in essential revenue to reputational harm. Cyber-criminals operate in the shadows, with the severity, scale and complexity of breaches constantly evolving.

It’s critical that we are ahead of the game and developing new technologies and methods to confront future threats, supporting our businesses and giving them peace of mind to deliver their products and services safely. Investing in our world-leading researchers and businesses to develop better defence systems makes good business and security sense.” A further project, backed by £18m from the UK government, through the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF), will tackle wrongful use of data as in disinformation and online fraud, phishing emails, impersonation of organisations online and malware.

UK Government is also supporting a new ‘Prosperity Partnership’ between Toshiba Research Europe, University of Bristol and GCHQ. SWAN (Secure Wireless Agile Networks) aims to develop more resilient wireless networks; seeking to detect threats such as financial extortion and mitigate them, and to be resilient to accidental or induced failures, such as jamming.

The partnership will identify how the Radio Frequency (RF) interfaces that wireless networks rely on can be attacked, and develop techniques to detect RF cyber-attacks. Radios whose RF characteristics can be updated to deal with new threats, and safe sharing of data will also be studied.

Tim Dunton, MD, Nimbus Hosting said: “It has become increasingly obvious that the threat of a hostile cyber-attack progressively threatens to damage and destroy both businesses and individuals in the UK. This new cash injection is certainly a step in the right direction towards protecting our businesses and our sensitive private information, simultaneously encouraging nationwide awareness of the cyber-issue."

“However, this new fund will not stop attacks altogether, nor will it take affect immediately. Therefore, there is a number of things that organisations and individuals must do in the meantime to protect themselves from hackers and malware. This includes investing in cyber security software, upskilling employees with cyber skills, and, most importantly, encouraging cyber secure online behaviour, protocols and procedures across organisations – this starts with operating a safe, secure online domain and IT system which is constantly kept up to date.

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