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GCHQ feeds first crop of infosec startups to Cyber Accelerator

Tech 'créche' will nurture firms to compete on the world stage The first infosec startups selected for the GCHQ Cyber Accelerator have been unveiled. The accelerator, which officially launches in Cheltenham later today, is part of a UK government-funded Cyber Innovation Centre. The tech créche is designed to nurture information security startups to the point where they can compete on the world stage, boosting British exports in the process. The seven early stage startups selected will receive benefits including access to technological and security expertise, networks, office space and mentoring during a three-month development programme. Contact with an extensive investor network and access to GCHQ's personnel and technical expertise form part of the package. The "magnificent seven" companies selected to join the programme include: CounterCraft, which has developed a cyber-security deception platform, designed to fool hackers with decoy computers, false data and fake identities Cyberowl, an early warning system for cyber attacks Cybersmart, a platform that automates implementation, certification and compliance with cyber-security standards FutureScaper, a collective intelligence platform that provides data visualisations that gives security analysts a better handle on security threats Spherical Defence, an intrusion detection system geared to the needs of the banking sector and featuring deep-learning technology StatusToday, providers of technology designed to detect insider attacks and inadvertent mistakes Verimuchme, a digital wallet and exchange platform The accelerator is a partnership between GCHQ, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and Wayra UK, the corporate accelerator that is part of the global Telefónica Open Future_ network. The cyber-security sector contributes around £2bn a year in exports to the UK economy, according to backers of the new programme. The accelerator forms part of the Cheltenham Innovation Centre, the first of two innovation centres created as part of the government's National Cyber Security Programme. A second innovation centre will open in London later this year. DCMS is contributing up to £50m over the next five years to deliver the two innovation centres. Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock MP said: "I congratulate all the companies selected to join the new accelerator facility which is now open for business. This is an important step in delivering our National Cyber Security Strategy, and supported by £1.9bn transformative investment in cyber security. Based in Cheltenham, the accelerator will help UK entrepreneurs create cutting-edge technology to better protect the nation from cyber attacks and make going online safer for all." Government ministers backed plans for GCHQ to become an incubator for the next generation of infosec firms, first floated two years ago. The idea is inspired, in part, by the production line of successful cyber-security firms set up by alumni from Unit 8200, Israel's military intelligence unit. They have gone on to found Check Point, Palo Alto Networks, and numerous successful security firms. These companies went through their incubator phase while their future founders were serving compulsory military service, which even taken alone is a big difference from the UK model. The cyber-security company production line in Israel is 30 years old and therefore well established, not least thanks to links with US companies, investors and entrepreneurs. Team8, a cyber-security foundry created by members Unit 8200, this week announced a strategic funding round with investments from Microsoft and Qualcomm, among others. Team8 has raised $92m to date from previous investors including AT&T, Accenture and Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors. This is all a long way from a three-month boot camp close to GCHQ but, then again, you have to start somewhere, assuming you agree that government has a role in backing this sort of investment, which is open to debate. ® Sponsored: Next gen cybersecurity. Visit The Register's security hub

Woo hoo, UK.gov has unveiled yet another tech creche – for...

This one's in Cheltenham. Makes a change from hipsterville East London Plans are afoot in Westminster to burn even more taxpayers' cash by launching a new cyber-security startup accelerator in Cheltenham. The accelerator will be the umpteenth vehicle for funnelling money to muppets since the coalition government came to power. Other accelerators have included a military technology free-money haus opened in July, and Vince Cable's hipster tech creche with the Urban Innovation Centre last year. Today, with bells and whistles, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport declared that it has teamed up with “GCHQ and the nation’s top tech start-ups to develop new technologies aimed at protecting the UK from cyber attacks.” There are several groups which aim to protect the UK from cyber attacks, not least among them the UK's signals intelligence and surveillance agency, which receives billions in funding from the Single Intelligence Account budget every year. According to a recent report from the National Audit Office, there are 12 separate teams and organisations who are in some way responsible for infosec in British government departments and whom the Cabinet Office is utterly failing to co-ordinate. DCMS said: The tie-up is the first step in the development of two world-leading innovation centres as part of the Government’s £1.9bn National Cyber Security Programme. The facility will also fast-track new firms into the booming cyber security sector which contributed £1.8bn in exports to the UK economy last year and grew from £17.6bn in 2014 to almost £22bn in 2015. The accelerator itself will be operated by Wayra UK, part of Telefónica Open Future, and will offer start-ups the opportunity to access “GCHQ's world-class personnel and technological expertise to allow them to expand capability, improve ideas and devise cutting-edge products to outpace current and emerging threats.” Applicants can contact Wayra here to be part of the programme which includes "insights to Government procurement processes, IP management, export controls and information assurance architecture." ®

Many UK voters didn’t understand Brexit, Google searches suggest

Mark WaltonIn the wee hours of Friday morning, the people of the UK voted to leave the European Union with a majority of 52 percent—and according to Google, they don't really know why.

Two hours after the referendum polls closed, roughly midnight UK time, the Google Trends Twitter account reported a 250 percent increase in people searching "what happens if we leave the EU." "Are we in or out of the EU?" spiked by 2,450 percent. Other search terms that peaked following the result include "what happens to foreigners if we leave the EU," "what happens if we stay in the EU," and—perhaps most worryingly considering the gravity of the decision—"what is Brexit?" Earlier in the evening, the top search in Sunderland (one of the first cities to declare its results) was "How do I vote in the EU referendum?" +250% spike in "what happens if we leave the EU" in the past hourhttps://t.co/9b1d6Bsx6D — GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) 24 June 2016 Unfortunately for the British people, the answer to the question "what happens if we leave the EU?" is unlikely to be answered by a simple Google search. While the short-term effects of Brexit are being felt this morning—a record fall in value for the pound, the loss of London's status as Europe's financial centre, and politicians backtracking on some questionable campaign promises—the long-term effects are extremely complex. Before the referendum, however, numerous financial experts and governments worldwide warned that Brexit would not only damage the UK economy but also undermine the stability of the EU. Pro-Brexit campaigners dismissed the claims as "scaremongering," with Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove famously declaring that "people in this country have had enough of experts," even going as far as comparing pro-EU economists to Nazi sympathisers. Google Trends has continued to pull out search data following the referendum result this morning, and while Google searches are obviously not indicative of the entire UK population, they do at least provide some insight into the country's voters. "What is the EU referendum?" Top questions on #EUref in Birmingham since polls closed pic.twitter.com/SDvMBW1mol — GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) 24 June 2016 "What does turnout mean in politics?" became the top question on voter turnout after polls closed, while "What is the EU referendum?" became one of the top searches in Birmingham. "What if the pound collapses?" was the second most popular search term in Northern Ireland following the vote, while Wales (which had a majority vote for leaving the EU) asked "What if Wales votes remain?" The Brexit result will come as a blow to the tech industry, which overwhelmingly backed the UK to remain in the European Union.

The lone leave voice from the British tech sector was that of vacuum cleaner innovator Sir James Dyson, who believed that leaving the EU would help him recruit top engineering talent from outside Europe. While the repercussions of Brexit will be felt for years to come, some are taking it upon themselves to come up with ways to remain in the EU, regardless of how the UK voted: according to Google there was a 100 percent spike in UK searches for "getting an Irish passport" just a few hours ago. This post originated on Ars Technica UK