The government has finally unveiled its new Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-UK), which it hopes will act as the first line of defence against any future cyber attacks.
Looking to raise national awareness of cyber incidents and improve response capabilities, CERT-UK was launched today by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude MP, who said that it would put the country "at the forefront of global cyber security."
Stating that 93% of large corporations had seen a cyber security breach over the past financial year, at an average cost of between £450,000 and £850,000 per attack, Maude laid out how CERT-UK would bring together several sources of expertise to try and ensure these kinds of attacks could be prevented.
The launch marks a key part of the government’s National Cyber Security Strategy, which has seen £860m invested into the UK’s security provisions, Maude said. CERT-UK was originally due to go live by the end of 2013, but was delayed following a series of issues concerning the Cabinet Office’s requirements for the team to have more personnel, improved technology and a permanent headquarters.
In his speech announcing the launch, Maude also paid tribute to the work of GCHQ and the National Crime agency, stating that much of the work they did in protecting the public from cyber threats went unrecognised.
"I’ve visited Cheltenham now a number of times, and I’ve always been struck by how GCHQ and their operations represent much of what is best about our public sector," he said. "I know that we’ll see exactly the same ethic, the same dedication and hard work, from all those involved with CERT-UK and its partner organisations.
"They’re at the vanguard of our defence, and their work makes a really direct contribution to the security and wellbeing of the whole country."
UK businesses welcomed the announcement, stating that it was vital for the government to take a strong lead in protecting British interests.
"There has rarely been such a far reaching menace with the ability to threaten every aspect of society – critical infrastructure, business, and the economy as a whole," said Martin Sutherland, managing director of BAE Systems Applied Intelligence.
"It’s only by working together that we will rise to the challenge the cyber threat presents and the establishment of CERT-UK is a positive step forward, which emphasises the importance of effective incident response and information sharing to protect vital UK assets."
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