Hague signs UK up to global Cyber Resilience Partnership

By Sooraj Shah
28 Jan 2013 View Comments
Foreign secretary William Hague

The UK has joined 25 countries in committing to a set of principles intended, they claim, to make digital networks more secure and resilient.

Foreign secretary William Hague signed the World Economic Forum's Partnering for Cyber Resilience initiative, which means that the UK will join more than 70 companies and other government bodies across 15 sectors in practising good "cyber hygiene" - easy-to-follow steps intended to reduce the risks to their organisations and customers.

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The principles include:

  • Ensuring that the organisation recognises the "interdependent nature of our hyperconnected world" and its own role in contributing to a secure shared digital environment; 
  • Management recognition of its leadership responsibilities in making cyber resilience a priority; 
  • Organisational recognition of the importance of integrating cyber risk management within its other risk practices; and, 
  • For the organisation to encourage suppliers to adopt these principles and guidelines, too.

Hague said that he hoped that the UK government's participation would encourage business leaders in the UK and abroad to commit to the same set of principles, enabling a "resilient and thriving" internet sector.

"The internet has a critical role to play as an engine and facilitator of economic growth. Cyberspace must be secure and reliable so that it is trusted as a medium for doing business but at the same time free and open to evolve and innovate naturally," he said.

"Governments should support the key role of the private sector in creating a trusted and open place to do business both at home and abroad. The WEF principles will help us all - individuals, companies and governments - in our shared aim to promote a safe and secure digital environment to do business," he added.

The agreement builds on the Ten Steps to Cyber Security booklet that the UK launched last September. It was sent out to CEOs of a number of the UK's largest companies, to raise awareness of the growing issue of cyber threats, and how best to mitigate these risks.

Francis Maude, minister for cyber security at the Cabinet Office, added that the UK is "very proud to be members in this global initiative".

The government had planned to invest £650m over a four-year period from 2010 on the programme, but that was criticised as "inadequate" amid claims that it was moving at a "glacial pace".

Last month, the government released documents detailing what it saw as highlights of the strategy that it put into place last year. A key new aim, government officials said, is to recruit "cyber reservists" to the Ministry of Defence.

"The services will engage additional experts to support their work in defending against the growth in cyber threats," the report explained.

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