Cyber security is “an important part of the UK’s economic plans”, which is why it’s essential that the issue isn’t just confined to the IT department, but to every individual within all organisations.
That’s what Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude MP said in a speech to the Payments Council Cyber Security Conference, in which he emphasised the importance of cooperation at all levels, be it among the authorities or between employees within a business, in order to ensure the UK is protected against cyber attacks.
Maude is a vocal supporter of using the internet to provide access to public services, previously arguing “if it can be done online, it should only be done online”. Nonetheless, he emphasised the importance of being protected against the potential cyber threats that come with being online. “Cyber security is an important part of our long-term economic plan – because we want the UK to be one of the most secure places in the world to do business,” Maude told the audience, arguing that the vastness of the internet and the threats it presents means there’s no scope for any business to work on its own in the fight against cyber crime.
“The internet is too large – and the threat too complex – for any single organisation to respond by itself,” he said.
“We will only be truly effective when we work together, pool resources, share information and co-ordinate our response,” Maude continued, adding: “That’s why our law enforcement agencies are working in partnership with their international counterparts.”
As an example of this cooperation, Maude detailed how the National Crime Agency (NCA) worked alongside the FBI, Europol, GCHQ and the German Federal Police, along with private firms including BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, Dell SecureWorks and Kaspersky Lab, to take down the notorious Shylock malware.
While the rise of online commerce and different methods of payment represents “good news for businesses and the public alike”, Maude said that it’s the responsibility of everyone to be attentive to the threats posed by computer hacking and other cyber crime.
“But it does mean we must be vigilant and protect ourselves online and cyber security must not just be an issue for the IT department – it’s an issue for the boardroom too,” he said, before going on to argue that it’s only through cooperation at all levels that cyber crime can truly be fought against.
“So my message today is that we must continue to work together. Because only by working together can we share the information and intelligence necessary to combat the threats more effectively,” said Maude.
“And only by working together can we educate businesses and the public, so that we can mitigate our weaknesses before cyber criminals have an opportunity to exploit them,” he continued, adding that this strategy “will help make the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business”.
He continued: “It will help ensure people have confidence in the security of new technologies, so that they can continue to benefit from the many ways in which the digital revolution is transforming our lives.”
While Maude emphasised the importance that organisations must place on cyber security, a recent Ernst & Young report claimed most organisations are unprepared for “inevitable” cyber attacks.