Cyber Security in the UK Needs to Be Improved

The New Year may have only just begun, but discussions of the UK’s Cyber Security are already off to a rocky start.

A new report on Britain’s cyber defences has revealed that the UK’s armed forces are at high risk of potential cyber attacks, which is a worrying fact for us all to hear.

The Ministry of Defence has been warned that if it doesn’t review its cyber-security strategy immediately, the British army could be ‘fatally compromised’ by a cyber attack.

Latest news has revealed that the British Army is highly dependent on Information Technology, so if it is hit by a cyber attack the army may struggle to operate, leaving our nation vulnerable.

We would all like to think that when faced with a cyber attack our army would have plans to counter this, however this latest report has indicated the government are not up to scratch: “We recommend the Government ensure that civil contingency plans identify the military resources that could be drawn upon in the event of a large-scale attack”

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said “Vulnerabilities must be tackled urgently and ministers must respond in detail to the demands in this report.” [BBC News]

Thatcher MCS’ Opinion

The recent revelations of cyber security threats and the resulting affect this could have on the UK military is rather shocking and it is clear that the Government need to face these security holes urgently. Cyber Security is now high on everyone’s priorities: large corporations, financial institutions, the health sector, Government and many more are now re-addressing their Information Security and putting more secure policies and infrastructure in place to ensure their data is strongly protected.

With cyber security being deemed as urgent, we can see the demand for high-skilled cyber security professionals increasing. From a recruitment perspective, we’ve noticed a demand for more cyber security professionals has already risen; however, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find high-skilled professionals and more needs to be done to ensure high-quality candidates enter into the industry.

First and foremost, the Government need to tackle our country’s cyber defences – attracting more cyber security professionals and investing on developing upon their skills.

Through all this negativity surrounding cyber security news lately, Thatcher MCS would like to put in their 2 pence. The Government already have a few tricks up their sleeves in the hope to attract more skilled professionals into the cyber security industry. Cyber Security is an ever-changing industry and there will constantly be changes and more policies put in place, but we believe the Government are making a good start.

Cyber Reservists

Last year the Government announced their plan to recruit ‘Cyber Reservists’ for the Ministry of Defence. The objective of this scheme is to attract more cyber professionals towards supporting the work of the Government against cyber espionage.

As well as recruiting these new ‘Cyber Reservists’, a new computer response team is due to be established after great success in tackling cyber threats during the Olympics.

The armed forces can call upon the established team of ‘Cyber Reserves’ to tackle their increasing problem of cyber threats.

This reserve will hopefully attract new cyber security talent and skills, which will be a great relief to the industry to help protect our nation’s military and large corporations against cyber espionage.

Universities teaching Cyber Security

We also need to take a look at what students are being taught at university in preparation for working within cyber security.

Many university courses provide students with a broad understanding of cyber security and strategic cyber security decision making. The topic has always been controversial but we believe more students should be taught how to hack a system, helping them to learn how to test systems for vulnerabilities and come up with ways to protect them.

As long as Universities properly vet all potential students there shouldn’t be a problem with teaching students these skills and this style of teaching would help the cyber security industry establish highly-skilled professionals entering the sector.

Teaching students this invaluable skill will ensure they are fully equipped to prevent and defend against real attacks when they enter the working world; an excellent understanding of the theory of cyber security will only get them so far.

Look at it this way, if you own a company which has a high street store, you are going to think of ways a burglar can break in and put effective procedures in place to prevent this – fix an alarm, locks on doors and windows etc. Cyber security is no different! Professionals need to know how to hack a system in order to protect it.

The release of the report outlining the problems the British military are faced with may be a blessing in disguise; maybe now the Government, large corporations and Universities will all work together to ensure our Cyber Defences are the best they can be – only time will tell.

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