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Fraud and Risk Focus Blog

National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021

1 November 2016

This week the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, launched the Government’s new National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021. This strategy sets out Government plans to make the UK more secure in the cyber sphere and confirms the pledge that the Government will spend £1.9 billion on cyber security.

Within the plan there are many policy announcements that will help to prevent and raise awareness of fraud. These include enhancing Action Fraud so it has a new 24/7 facility to triage cyber attacks, implement Active Cyber Defence on UK networks that should block many low-sophistication malware communications from hackers and changing the name of the Cyber Streetwise initiative to Cyber Aware.

We welcome these announcements – in particular that Cyber Aware will focus on getting UK citizens to use three random words in passwords and encouraging individuals to download the latest security software updates on devices. These are exactly the messages Cifas encourages consumers to take on board.

We’re also pleased to see that there are strong plans to upskill the current workforce and future generations’ cyber security skills. Our experts have been calling for this for a while. Within these plans there are some clear policies to have cyber security integrated into the education system; with everyone studying computer science, technology or digital skills learning the fundamentals of cyber security. There also long-term ambitions to have cyber security taught in schools from primary education onwards.

Prevention is better than cure in the fight against fraud and one very clear way fraud can be prevented in the future is making sure UK citizens have the skills they need to protect themselves from this new volume crime. The way this can be achieved is through better education to make sure future generations are equipped for the new cyber security challenges ahead.

It’s really positive that the Government has not only taken industry views on board in developing this strategy, but is also taking a clear long-term view to upskill the UK when it comes to cyber security. The test for the Government will be to make sure this strategy stays up-to-date with new technology and emerging threats. This is a fast-paced landscape – ensuring the strategy maintains its relevance will be key to ensuring future generations are equipped with good cyber hygiene.

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