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UK government signs up to WEF Cyber Resilience principles

Charlotte Jee Published 28 January 2013

Signing follows the UK government's comprehensive cyber security update in December 2012


The Foreign Secretary William Hague has signed a new set of principles on Cyber Resilience on behalf of the UK government.

The principles, which were developed by the World Economic Forum (WEF), have been signed by over 70 companies and government bodies across 15 sectors and 25 countries. The principles include a commitment to recognise the responsibility of all signatories in "fostering a resilient shared digital space" and "encourage executive-level awareness and leadership of cyber risk management".

The principles also call on involved parties to develop a practical and effective integrated risk management implementation programme and, "where appropriate, encourage suppliers and customers to develop a similar level of awareness and commitment."

According to the WEF, the principles demonstrate a "commitment to taking an integrated, strategic approach to technology risks and opportunities, and to play their role in providing a resilient digital environment for all."

On signing the Cyber Resilience principles, Hague said, "We hope that signing the World Economic Forum Principles on Cyber Resilience will encourage business leaders all over the world to lead the way in creating shared principles for a resilient and thriving Internet. The Internet has a critical role to play as an engine and facilitator of economic growth. Cyberspace must be secure and reliable so that it is trusted as a medium for doing business but at the same time free and open to evolve and innovate naturally.

"Governments should support the key role of the private sector in creating a trusted and open place to do business both at home and abroad. The WEF principles will help us all - individuals, companies and governments - in our shared aim to promote a safe and secure digital environment to do business."

In response, the WEF pointed to the UK Government's guidance for industry on meeting cyber security challenges, in the form of a "Ten Steps to Cyber Security" booklet launched in September 2012 to the chief executives of some of the UK's largest companies, as an excellent example of putting the principles in practice.

The signing of the principles follows the publication of the UK government's cyber security update in December 2012. Among other announcements, the update set out plans for initiatives such as a Ministry of Defence 'Cyber Reserve' of cyber security specialists, a permanent information sharing environment called CISP (Cyber-security Information Sharing Partnership) and a new Cyber Incident Response scheme -an industry-run service aimed at helping organisations who have suffered a cyber security incident.

The UK cyber strategy, which was launched in November in 2011, is supported by £650 million of funding, £2m of which will be used to facilitate international capacity building projects, as announced by the Foreign Secretary William Hague and Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude in October 2012.

The £2m will also be used to fund the new 'Centre for Global Cyber-Security Capacity Building', which will research global cyber security initiatives to determine where organisations should direct their resources in order to achieve the best results in tackling cyber threats. The centre will be based at one of the eight UK universities which hold 'Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research' status.

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