Government must do more to protect UK from cyberattacks

(Image credit: Image Credit: BeeBright / Shutterstock)

The UK can, and should, do a lot more to protect both its citizens and its businesses from the ever-increasing number of cyberthreats. This is the conclusion of a new report issued today by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The first and most important thing it should do, the PAC believes, is gather more data, because there is a severe lack of a ‘robust evidence base’. Furthermore, the Cabinet Office has not done enough to develop a business case for its programme.

The Cabinet Office leads the country’s cybersecurity strategy and requires a £1.9bn budget over the next five years, despite being unclear if the strategy will deliver on time or not.

“We welcome the National Cyber Security Strategy but are concerned that the programme designed to deliver it is insufficient,” said PAC chair Meg Hillier.

“In the interest of national security, the Cabinet Office needs to take a long-term approach to protecting against the risk of cyber-attacks. Future plans should be based on strong evidence, business cases should be rigorously-costed to ensure value for money, and strategic outcomes and objectives should be clearly defined.”

The PAC said the government should give the country’s cybersecurity efforts a boost through the economy, and make sure user data is protected.

“The UK is safer since the launch of our cyber strategy in 2015,” a Cabinet Office spokesperson said. “We have set up the world-leading National Cyber Security Centre, taken down 140,000 scam websites in the last year, and across government have helped over a million organisations become more secure.”

The security industry was quick to respond, noting that the report underlines the real targets on the heads of UK organisations. 

“Today’s Commons report, once again, underlines the very real target on UK organisations’ heads from cyber-attackers across the globe," said  David Mount, Director, Europe at Cofense.

“Email phishing attacks are still one of the most prevalent attack forms – and despite significant investments in next-gen technologies, these threats continue to become more sophisticated and effective.

“If we are to successfully defend ourselves against this global threat, we need to put people in the driving seat, educating them on the dangers out there and trusting in their ability to help defend against these actors.”

Image Credit: BeeBright / Shutterstock