Government pushes cyber security boost for critical industries

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Britain’s most important industries need to step up their cybersecurity game or risk large fines, the government has warned.

According to a new advisory from the DCMS, Organisations in industries such as water and health, energy or transport could be fined as much as £17 million if they don’t go for the industry standard when it comes to cybersecurity.

It was also said that new regulators will assess critical industries, making sure cybersecurity setups are as ‘robust as possible’. These regulators will create a simple and effective reporting system, helping companies report cyber breaches and IT failures faster and with ease. These will also cover other threats like power outages or hardware failures.

The goal is to prepare UK operators in these industries for an ‘increasing number of cyber threats’. In case of an incident, operators would need to report them to a regulator, who would then asses if the operator had done everything to build appropriate security measures.

The regulator will have the power to create legally binding instructions to improve security, and even issue fines and other financial penalties. However, it was also said that these fines would be a “last resort”.

“Today we are setting out new and robust cyber security measures to help ensure the UK is the safest place in the world to live and be online,” said Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries. 

“We want our essential services and infrastructure to be primed and ready to tackle cyber attacks and be resilient against major disruption to services. I encourage all public and private operators in these essential sectors to take action now and consult NCSC’s advice on how they can improve their cyber security.”

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