UK government launches Cyber Emergency Response Team

UK cyber defences have been given a welcome boost through the launch of a new authority designed to co-ordinate the country’s response to incidents of national importance.

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The Computer Emergency Response Team [CERT-UK], which was launched earlier today by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, has the specific remit to deal with “cybersecurity incidents” that are of national significance.

It will also provide advice and alerts on cyber threats to the government, businesses and academia in order to address a trend that has seen 93 per cent of large corporations suffer a “breach” over the last financial year, according to the BBC.

CERT-UK will be based in London and made up of a team that is 55 strong and it follows a number of other countries around the world that have set up their own CERT units to fight cyber attacks.

The CERT-UK websites states that it will issue an alert as well as guidance in the event of cyber security incident that could cause widespread damage to the country. The group, which has no law enforcement powers or role, will also be a point of contact for organising international responses to cyber security incidents.

Maude, who was speaking at the launch, reiterated that an average attack cost ranges from £450,000 and £850,000 and claimed that one London firm lost “£800 million worth of revenue” due to a security breach.

This being the case, Maude believes that cyber security presents a chance for the UK bolster the economy and that it was "an essential feature of - and a massive opportunity for - the UK's economic recovery."

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It’s not known how much the government has allocated to operate CERT-UK but the UK’s cyber security coffers contain £860 million of funding and a chunk of this will have been set aside for the new task force.