The Government has unveiled plans to plough more than £54 million into two new programmes to boost cyber-security, including a £36 million deal which will see University of Cambridge researchers work with Arm Holdings to set up new, hacker-resistant chip technology.
The move is the next phase of the Government’s Digital Security by Design initiative, which is also backed by Google and Microsoft.
This project is designed to prevent hackers from remotely taking control of computer systems as well as targeting cyber-attacks and breaches, with the ultimate aim of providing better protection for businesses providing online services. Ministers also hope it will create new business opportunities and help boost productivity.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said that while doing the basics, such as having strong passwords and updating software regularly are the best defence for homes and businesses, having innovative hardware and systems solutions are critical to defend advanced technology and the UK’s defence systems.
She added: "Cyber-attacks can have a particularly nasty impact on businesses, from costing them thousands of pounds in essential revenue to reputational harm.
"Investing in our world-leading researchers and businesses to develop better defence systems makes good business and security sense.
"Cyber-criminals operate in the shadows, with the severity, scale and complexity of breaches constantly evolving. It’s critical that we are ahead of the game and developing new technologies and methods to confront future threats, supporting our businesses and giving them peace of mind to deliver their products and services safely."
Minister for Digital and Broadband Matt Warman commented: "As these investments show, we are determined to create the right environment to foster our thriving digital economy while giving people renewed confidence and trust in online services.
"We will always be firm in our support for the UK’s tech sector. Thanks to our work with the UK’s world-leading academic institutions and our business-friendly environment, we are helping entrepreneurs use technology to improve people’s lives and find solutions to future challenges."
A further project, backed by an £18 million Government investment, through the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF), will tackle some of the dangers of the online world from privacy abuses and wrongful use of data like disinformation and online fraud.
The initiative is aimed at helping provide solutions to some of the issues identified in the government’s Online Harms white paper, which sets out plans for legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online.
The project will help to understand what businesses and individuals need to reduce the harm they are exposed to by using online platforms and will aim to develop more trustworthy technology.
The Government’s goal is to prevent incidents of online fraud, phishing emails, impersonating organisations online and viruses or other malware like ransomware, which cost the UK economy millions of pounds a year.