Prime Minister Theresa May is set to announce that the UK will contribute £15 million to help Commonwealth countries tackle cyber criminals who pose a global threat to security and to strengthen their cyber security capabilities.
The announcement will be made during a meeting between May and the formal heads of states of all Commonwealth nations. The leaders are expected to agree to a “Commonwealth Cyber Declaration” and the £15 million contribution by the UK will be part of the deal.
“The agreement will help foster international stability in cyberspace and build more resilient digital economies. Ultimately, it will contribute to the stronger economic growth and sustainable development across the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion people,” said the government in a press release.
“£5.5 million of this will enable low and middle-income Commonwealth members to carry out national cyber security capacity reviews before the next CHOGM in 2020. It will underpin projects across the Commonwealth to provide technical assistance, training, and advice to address a wide range of cyber security and cyber crime threats.” it added.
“The future is at the heart of the Commonwealth events being held this week and with that, we must look towards the emerging challenges that we and our Commonwealth partners face. Cyber security affects us all, as online crime does not respect international borders.
“I have called on Commonwealth leaders to take action and to work collectively to tackle this threat. Our package of funding will enable members to review their cyber security capability, and deliver the stability and resilience that we all need to stay safe online and grow our digital economies,” the Prime Minister said.
According to Mark Weir, Director of Cybersecurity, Cisco UK & Ireland, the commitment of £15 million is “a vital next step in creating a neighbourhood cyber-watch to regain control of the cyber-storm”.
“To help reduce cybercriminals success rates and reduce the impact on businesses and countries, there has to be a greater willingness to share insight, learnings and knowledge. These criminals are getting smarter by the day and growing in sophistication and power. We need to build a collective and collaborative community to ensure we don’t just keep up, but stay one step ahead,” he said.
Keith Graham, CTO at SecureAuth, says that considering that there is no permanent solution to cyber security as it is a constantly evolving and moving target, the £15 million contribution will need to be used extremely wisely so as to address the weakest areas of cyber defence first.
“Firstly, there is an argument that for cybersecurity to be effectively addressed at a government, corporate and citizen level there needs to be an independent layer overseeing how cybersecurity is handled and tackled – reflecting the fact that there are no international borders for cybercriminals.
“Secondly, with stolen credentials at the heart of the majority of data breaches, there is a strong need for governments and businesses alike to look at identity and access management first. Organisations need to protect identity, protect access upfront, protect networks, and applications.
“This two-pronged approach can deliver best practice cybersecurity strategy and intelligence sharing based on international cooperation, whilst employing the latest technologies to defeat criminals on the frontline,” he adds.
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