cyber security

British cyber-security sector propped up by government drive to win foreign business

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The UK government is planning to boost British cyber-security firms by helping them to win lucrative foreign contracts to provide security software for states and businesses across the world.

The new strategy is aimed at combating the growing threat of malicious hacking attacks, the government said.

The launch of the Cyber Security Export Strategy on Monday comes amid the rapidly evolving “range of threats from hostile state actors”, the Department for International Trade (DIT) said.

With recent cyber-attacks threatening NATO countries as well as large global and UK organisations, it is urging businesses from both the UK and allied countries to ensure they have the best security possible.

The NHS was hit by the WannaCry virus last year, later blamed on North Korea, which had a serious impact on patient care.

There are 800 cyber-security companies in the UK, with industry exports totalling £1.5bn in 2016, the department added.

It was welcomed by the UK’s security sector trade association, ADS.

ADS chief executive Paul Everitt said this new strategy can “help the sector continue to grow, make a greater contribution to national prosperity, and protect the UK and our allies from threats in cyberspace.”

He added: “In the UK, we have a diverse range of companies able to provide world-leading expertise and innovation to combat these threats.”

Global spending on security software to protect digital networks is expected to exceed £759bn by 2021, according to the DIT.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: “Recent events show that the UK faces a diverse range of threats from hostile state actors.

“So in an increasingly digital world, it’s vital that we improve our cyber capabilities, which are crucial for national security and prosperity.

“The strategy I am publishing today will support UK companies to export our world-leading cyber security expertise, which will help strengthen our capabilities and protect our country and our allies from those who wish us harm.”

In February 2018, scripts that ‘hijack’ a visitor’s CPU to mine cryptocurrency were found hidden on UK and other government websites. 

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