The government is positioning the UK as a leader in cyber security via a new Digital Security by Design initiative, backed by £70 million in government investment under the revamped Industrial Strategy.

The government expects co-investment from the private sector to the tune of nearly £120 million, according to an announcement this week.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said, “With government and industry investing together as part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we will ensure that the UK is well placed to capitalise on our status as one of the world leaders in cyber security by ‘designing in’ innovative measures into our technology that protect us from cyber threats. This will also help us bring down the growing cybersecurity costs to businesses.”
With more than 30 percent of UK organisations having experienced a cyber attack over the last 12 months, the government wants to ensure that every UK organisation is as secure and resilient as possible in the future.

The strategy was announced in January and follows similar initiatives targeted at securing Internet of Things (IoT) devices. However, the updated text released today suggests that the government now has a brace of major vendors onboard.

Ann Johnson, Corporate VP of the Cybersecurity Solutions Group at Microsoft, said, “We support the vision behind the Digital Security by Design Initiative that helps bring digital security by design into the central hardware of tomorrows computers and have committed financial resources to collaborate across these exciting new proposed activities.”

Ben Laurie, Head of Security and Transparency at Google, added, “At Google we place a high priority on the security of data and believe that the proposed Digital Security by Design initiative is vital to bridge the gap between the realities of the hardware development cycle and those of commercial software companies.

“We need proven hardware architectural changes that permit the secure and efficient separation of data so we can provide the user control of data in distributed systems, a problem thought otherwise impractical to address. We will commit significant resources to this program, the results of which will be open source and available to the whole industry.”

As per the original January announcement, the £70 million of government funding for the Digital Security by Design challenge will be delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) via the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

UKRI Chief Executive Professor Sir Mark Walport explained, “As our use of internet connected devices has rapidly increased, so too has our vulnerability to broader and more sophisticated cyber threats.

“This challenge will drive changes in the UK’s digital computing infrastructure to enhance cybersecurity for businesses, government and citizens. It will help make the UK a market leader in delivering digitally secure products and services.”

Dr Ian Levy Technical Director of the National Cyber Security Centre, added, “We hope this additional investment will drive fundamental changes to products we use every day. This is vital work, because improving hardware can eradicate a wide range of vulnerabilities that cause significant harm.

“Developing innovative solutions to cyber security will help put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution, in support of the government’s AI and Data Grand Challenge.”

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