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January 22, 2018updated 23 Jan 2018 4:47pm

UK government urged by Army chief to bolster cyber defences

The Head of the Army used Russia as a primary example of a power we are at risk of falling behind in terms of cyber capabilities.

By Tom Ball

The UK government has been called upon to increase defence spending to prevent falling behind the capability of potential nation-state adversaries; cyber-attacks pose a major threat.

Issuing this warning was the loud voice of Sir Nick Carter, Britain’s defence chief of staff, noting that the UK is at risk of becoming vulnerable to the likes of Russia and other countries.

Defence spending in the UK is becoming an increasingly high-profile issue as both members of parliament and leading figures in the armed forces argue that a dangerous low has been reached.

Government awareness to the issue has been raised in one regard, with GCHQ recently announcing that it has doubled the UK’s offensive cyber capabilities.

Piers Wilson, Head of Product Management of Huntsman Security: “It is absolutely right to call for increased resources for British cyber-security defences. However, the problem is more that just a need for more money and personnel to address the issue.

Every day the UK is assailed by thousands of cyber-threats, from cyber-espionage aimed at the Government itself to attacks on critical infrastructure, industries, intellectual property and personal information. Put simply, our defences could spend every penny available on people and tools and it still wouldn’t be enough to keep us secure. After all, we are still in the midst of a crippling security skills shortage that is expected to result in over 1.5m open jobs by 2020.

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The widening cybersecurity skills gap is an aspect of a wider shortage affecting the entire tech industry, driving the need for automation technologies to take the excess weight. Cybersecurity in particular is impacted by the lack of skilled individuals, with threat volumes at an all time high.

“Therefore the government needs to make sure that spending is being directed intelligently on the right technologies and techniques to solve the problem. In particular, automated systems which are able to assess and rank various threats, allowing analysts to focus on the most pressing ones, are going to be essential.

“Intelligent automation, leveraging AI and analytics, can help defence analysts avoid running down endless rabbit holes and be smarter about defending all areas of the nation from attack. Cyber-defence isn’t just a matter of deploying people where they are needed, but giving them the right tools and technology to do the job – and this carries over into the commercial world too,” said Wilson.

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