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Crime Crime

Ensure organisations and users are protected from cyber risks

Last updated: 02:54pm 15 December 2018

We will make sure that our public services, businesses, charities and individual users are protected from cyber risks.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.80

Our verdict

With increasing numbers of people regularly using the internet, a new set of challenges has arisen around mitigating risk online. Cyber risks can arise from various sources, such as the activities of individuals, businesses, criminals, or nation states. Their motivations might include financial gain, political aims, industrial or government espionage, or even seeking military advantage. Cyber risks span from identity theft to large-scale events, such as WannaCry, which attacked computers in 99 countries and affected the NHS’s databases.

The previous government set out its National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021, in which it outlined how it would deal with cyber risks.

So what has happened since the election? The government has done a great deal concerning cyber security. For example, minimum cyber security standards have been recommended for government departments, much research and analysis has been conducted, and guidance has been set out for charities and businesses.

However, simultaneously, a government press release announced that more than four in every ten UK businesses have experienced a cyber attack.

The question of whether the government has fulfilled its promise to “protect” is a knotty one. Even researchers at the National Cyber Security Centre are asking whether it is actually possible to manage our cyber risks. But the ongoing effort to implement the National Cyber Security Strategy is evidence of government taking the issue seriously, so we can certainly say this is ‘in progress’.

Before deciding whether to move it to ‘done’ we will seek opinions from a variety of independent organisations on the success or otherwise of government efforts to protect us from cyber risk. Follow this policy for updates.

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