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News

UK Cyber Security Strategy A Welcome Move

Sophos : 28 November, 2011  (Technical Article)
Sophos comments on the release of the cyber security strategy by the UK Government but warns of difficult times ahead
UK Cyber Security Strategy A Welcome Move
The UK government has released its Cyber Security Strategy which describes the current state of internet threats, and key areas which need to be addressed.  Primarily it focuses on better resourcing for the computer crime authorities, improving communication between government and the private sector, and investing in national defences and critical infrastructure against cybercriminal attack to raise awareness.

There are three key areas which feature in the new initiative:

• Finance – it promises to spend £650 million over four years on the National Cyber Security Programme, with the “Single Intelligence Account” receiving the most funding (MI5, MI6, and GCHQ being the primary benefactors within this)

• Public and private sector collaboration - the sharing of threat intelligence

• Awareness – as attacks such as fake anti-virus continue to run rife (currently 7th in top 200 malware samples seen this month), proposals such as using kitemarks and boosting the GetSafeOnline website are being put forward

“The strategy is a good start from the Government and it is clear that it is not only investing in defence, but also proactive measures to disrupt threats to information security.  The devil is always in the detail however, and it will be interesting to see how these programmes will be put into place, and how their success will be measured," said Graham Cluley senior technology consultant at Sophos.  “For example, when it comes to sharing information with the Government, private businesses will want to be assured that intelligence will not just flow from them to the Government, but also in the reverse direction.

“Another ambiguity is how kitemarks would actually work - it is predictable that scammers will simply put bogus kitemarks on their sites and fake anti-virus products, to appear legitimate.  Finally, with emerging technologies, such as the rapid growth of mobile, and storage of data in the cloud, it is essential that the strategy is flexible enough to take account of this,” continued Cluley.

"Internet crime has become an organised, professional operation - with those behind it adapting quickly to changing circumstances and exploiting opportunities.  The stakes are getting higher for businesses, governments and end users, and it is not a battle that can be won easily.  Nevertheless, seeing the UK authorities treat it as a serious concern is welcome news," summarised Cluley.
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