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UK Enterprises to Compete for £70m in Government Cybersecurity Challenge

By Luana Pascu on Jan 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

After 40 percent of UK businesses reported data breaches or security incidents in the past year, the government wants to completely “design out” complex cyber risks and attacks. To achieve this and strengthen national infrastructure and consumer security, officials plan to issue an impressive challenge to enterprises across the UK.

According to police statistics, UK residents lose an average of over £190,000 per day to cybercrime, collectively. Between April and September 2018, reports of theft due to cybercrime totaled £34.6m, according to Action Fraud, the National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre. 

Companies will compete for £70 million in capital, Business Secretary Greg Clark announced yesterday. He discussed the country’s long-term plan “to become a world leader in ‘designing out’ many forms of cyber threats to online services and digitally enabled products by investing in development of hardware solutions to complement software solutions.”

Smart phone-operated thermostats, smart locks and surveillance cameras are all connected to vulnerable routers that can lead to massive data leaks. Hackers could easily exploit them to create botnets for large-scale attacks on critical national infrastructure such as telecommunication, transportation, electricity and water. If under attack, the country’s economy would no longer function at full capacity.

“There are expected to be more than 420 million such devices in use across the UK within the next 3 years,” reads a press release outlining Clark’s announcement.  

As connected devices proliferate, the government’s focus is on IoT technology and “combining physical safety and security with human behavior.” The program, also known as the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, will benefit from an extra £30.6 million investment in IoT security.

By 2027, UK officials expect an historic investment in research and development projects equivalent to 2.4 percent of GDP, addressing concerns voiced by both the business community and consumers.  The goal is to get companies to focus on releasing systems and hardware with in-built security. By integrating security from the get-go, they will improve resilience “from the ground up.”

 “With businesses having to invest more and more in tackling ever more complex cyberattacks, ‘designing in’ security measures into the hardware’s fabric will not only protect our businesses and consumers but ultimately cut the growing cybersecurity costs to businesses,” Clark said.

“We hope this additional investment will drive fundamental changes to products we use every day,” said Dr. Ian Levy, National Cyber Security Centre’s Technical Director. “This is vital work, because improving hardware can eradicate a wide range of vulnerabilities that cause significant harm.”

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Author: Luana Pascu

From a young age, Luana knew she wanted to become a writer. After having addressed topics such as NFC, startups, and tech innovation, she has now shifted focus to internet security, with a keen interest in smart homes and IoT threats. Luana is a supporter of women in tech and has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and startup culture.