Businesses must treat cyber crime as a major strategic threat and work more closely with the Government to protect themselves and their data, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Nadhim Zahawi has warned.
His remarks come after new figures reveal that 1.6million people were victims of cyber criminals in the UK last year, with tens of thousands of companies also targeted for hacking, fraud and blackmail attempts during that period.
This is in addition to industry data showing the UK is the third most targeted country by nation state cyber actors, behind the US and Ukraine, with the government the most targeted sector.
As lead Minister for Cyber Security, Mr Zahawi is leading a drive for business to tighten up security, and is bringing together industry leaders to form the National Cyber Advisory Board, which will meet regularly to discuss live threats and how best to counter them.
Mr Zahawi will chair the Board alongside Sharon Barber, Chief Security Officer for Lloyds Banking Group.
Strengthening cyber security will also help to enable to deliver the Government’s plans to grow the economy and secure successful investment in infrastructure, skills and innovation.
Mr Zahawi says companies must consider cyber crime to be a governance board-level issue that requires a strategic approach if we are to successfully get on top of it. To illustrate this point, government research shows only 23 per cent of firms have a cyber security plan.
The Government’s has developed a National Cyber Strategy, which is underpinned by £2.6bn of funding between now and 2030.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Nadhim Zahawi said:
“British business is at the heart of our economy and will form a key part of our ambitious economic growth plans, which will deliver higher wages and greater opportunity for people right across the United Kingdom. One of the building blocks of our plan is the online security of public services and the private sector. Because you cannot achieve economic growth without economic security in a digital world.
“We need organisations to do more to boost their cyber defences. It is clear from the number of businesses that have suffered cyber attacks that this is an area of vulnerability. Businesses need to understand that the cyber threat we face is no longer an issue just for company IT departments – it is a board-level problem that must be met with board-level interventions.
“So my message to businesses is clear; work more closely with us on building skills, training and online defences, which will have a positive impact on the successes of your companies and will in turn help us deliver our ambitious plan to increase economic prosperity and put more money in peoples’ pockets.”
In a speech as part of Singapore International Cyber Week, Cabinet Office Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfewill today talk about the necessity of business, government and partners working together to tackle cyber crime. She will underline the importance of collaboration with partners across the international community in light of the global threats that exist.
These threats were highlighted by Sir Jeremy Fleming, Director of GCHQ, during a speech in London last week.
Minister of State Baroness Neville-Rolfe said:
“Billions of pounds are lost each year to cyber criminals who disrupt key public services or vital sectors of the national economy, and it is important that as a society, we take this threat seriously.
“Only if we build up our cyber resilience right across the country, bolster our offensive and defensive capabilities and business systems, and ensure everyone plays their part in the UK’s cyber future, will we prosper from the opportunities that the online world brings.
“As a leading responsible cyber power, we will also continue to build alliances with democratic partners around the world to protect a free, open and peaceful cyberspace.”
The Government wants businesses to elevate the issue of cyber security and ensure company Boards receive regular briefings on threats, have in place a cyber security strategy and a cyber incident response plan, manage cyber security risks in the supply chain, train staff and make sure company devices are protected.
A Business Board Toolkit has also been published to give firms clear guidance on what they can do to mitigate the risks, alongside a 10 Steps to Cyber Security to help businesses manage risk and identify measures that can be taken to help boost security.