With threats to computer networks and data systems constantly evolving, the Government has announced more investment to help support UK organisations to be as secure from “cyber attacks” as possible.

The investment includes £70 million made available through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, backed by further investment from industry. The money will be committed to support research into the design and development of hardware that is more secure and resilient from the outset, effectively “designing out” cyber threats by “designing in” cyber security.

Further funding will also be committed to ensure that smart systems are as safe and secure as possible. This includes systems that work through internet Wi-Fi networks, such as operating a central heating thermostat through a smartphone or pressing a button to unlock the front door. 420 million such devices are expected to be in use across the UK within the next three years as smart technology becomes ever more popular.

The £30.6 million Ensuring the Security of Digital Technology at the Periphery programme will be delivered by UK Research and Innovation through the Strategic Priorities Fund.

The move to further support the security of digital devices and internet-connected consumer products comes following the publication by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) of a Code of Practice for Consumer Internet of Things (IoT) Security in October 2018. The Code is intended to support industry with a set of guidelines to ensure that products are secure by design and to make it easier for people to stay secure in the digital world.

Announcing the funding, Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

“This could be a real step-change in computer and online security, better protecting businesses, services and consumers from cyber-attacks resulting in benefits for consumers and the economy. With businesses having to invest more and more in tackling ever more complex cyber-attacks, ‘designing in’ security measures into the hardware’s fabric will not only protect our businesses and consumers but ultimately cut the growing cybersecurity costs to businesses.”

The Government has noted the scale of the problem. Nearly all UK businesses are reliant on digital technology and online services. According to the Government, more than 40% of these have experienced a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months.

Businesses are having to spend increasing amounts on cyber security, up to 20–40% of their IT spend in some cases.

Further details of the Government’s Code of Practice for Consumer Internet of Things (IoT) Security can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Further news on the latest cyber security measures can be found on the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) website.

Last reviewed 7 February 2019