UK cyber security - fragmented and failing

By Sooraj Shah
28 Nov 2012 View Comments
bob-ayers

To illustrate his point, Garfield referred to the Cyber Power Index from consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, which benchmarks the ability of G20 countries to withstand cyber attacks and deploy the appropriate infrastructure for a productive economy. The UK is placed first on the list, followed by the US, Australia and Germany.

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But Ayers, now commercial director at security software provider Glasswall Solutions refuted these claims, stating that the UK is far behind the US in its cyber security plans.

"In many ways, the UK is at a point where the US was in 1995 with regard to cyber programmes. Many elements of a strategy are still absent in the UK including ‘professionalisation' of cyber security personnel, revised legislative and regulatory controls that are applicable to cyberspace and links into the academic world to increase the output of personnel suitable for working in a national cyber programme," he said.

But although different countries may be at different levels in dealing with cyber threats, Ernst & Young's Brown believes that all countries are far behind the cyber criminals who are launching  attacks.

He believes that all countries are playing catch-up.

"This is because the moment legislators catch up with the criminal organisation in one country, the criminal fraternity moves to another jurisdiction," he explains.

Earlier this month, foreign secretary William Hague helped to set up a cyber security co-operation pact between India and the UK. A similar pact has been made with the US, while in October the UK began talks with China and Russia to create a "cyber emergency hotline".

Brown states that until information security can be viewed from a global perspective, as opposed to from a national jurisdictional perspective, the world will always be playing catch-up with criminals.

"Will we ever have a day where all countries are working together for a single constant aim of protecting information security?" he questioned.

The problem, according to the Intelligence Security Committee, is that the government does not understand the nature and extent of cyber-attacks from Russia and China, which are focused on espionage and the acquisition of information.

This is compounded by the view from RSA chief Art Coviello that criminals and nation states are working together to launch cyber-attacks, suggesting that even if countries work together, nations are still some distance from being able to trust one another.

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