UK planning 'Cyber Reserve' defence force

laptop user The government is promising to make the UK safer from cyber attacks

Related Stories

The UK government is to set up a "Cyber Reserve" force to deal with security threats posed by computer crime.

Run by the Ministry of Defence, it will allow the armed forces to "draw on the wider talent and skills of the nation in the cyber field".

Internet-related business is estimated to be worth £82bn a year to the UK.

Minister Francis Maude said help was needed with "critical" work in combating online crime. The scheme's details will be unveiled next year.

Terrorists, fraudsters, rogue states and individual activists are among the criminals targeting computer systems in the UK.

In a written statement Mr Maude said 93% of large corporations and 76% of small businesses had reported a cyber breach in the past year.

'Focus point'

He promised efforts to make the UK "one of the most secure places in the world to do business in cyber space" as he gave a first year update on the UK's Cyber Security Strategy.

Analysis

Every day Britain comes under cyber attack. Other countries are probing government networks - like those of the Ministry of Defence - looking for secrets to steal.

Companies are having their research and confidential data stolen. One business, the head of MI5 recently said, lost an estimated £800m. And parts of our national infrastructure - meaning companies that provide things like water and power - have had their systems mapped - a process of looking for vulnerabilities which could be used to steal information or even carry out acts of sabotage, according to a government official.

There are also worries about our own personal data and finances.

Today is supposed to be the big day for shopping online but what would happen if attacks undermined our trust in the internet to carry out transactions?

All of this means that cyber security is no longer something just for the experts but an issue that matters for all of us and our economic health.

This is a problem, and it is costing us billions, one official said.

He said the coalition government was looking to "move towards the establishment of a UK National CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team)", to act as a "focus point for international sharing of technical information".

Mr Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, also said: "Working with the private sector to improve awareness of the need for better cyber security continues to be a priority. We are now focusing our efforts on making sure that the right incentives and structures are in place to change behaviour in a sustainable way.

"Government departments and agencies are working with professional and representative bodies to ensure the consideration of cyber security becomes an integral part of corporate governance and risk-management processes."

The government also wants to train more students with "cutting-edge" skills at tackling online crime. A degree course module on the subject is being piloted at De Montfort University, the University of Worcester and Queens University Belfast.

Mr Maude said: "We are constantly examining new ways to harness and attract the talents of the cyber security specialists that are needed for critical areas of work. To this end, the MoD is taking forward the development of a 'Cyber Reserve', allowing the services to draw on the wider talent and skills of the nation in the cyber field.

"The exact composition is currently in development and a detailed announcement will follow in 2013."

More on This Story

Related Stories

More UK Politics stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

Programmes

  • Models of roads and cars on a bridgeThe Travel Show Watch

    A world in miniature - behind the scenes at one of the world’s largest model railways

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.