Feeds

Failing UK cyber defences need overhaul

MoD systems hit by hackers 71 times

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The UK's National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre (NISCC) needs more powers to enforce security best practices in order to safeguard the nation's critical systems against cyber-attack, according to a former chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Lord Toby Harris of Haringey called for the appointment of a government cyber security czar and legislation to change the role of the NISCC from providing information security advice to setting and enforcing information security standards. "At present NISCC is set up to fail. Advice is not a guarantee of action," said Lord Harris.

Lord Harris conceded that this stricter regulation regime would be more expensive to maintain. Ultimately taxpayers would have to pay for better security to critical systems such as those run by utilities, food distribution networks, banks and government itself.

But inaction is not an option when even the "most secure systems appear to be vulnerable". Lord Harris said that since May 2002 71 Ministry of Defence systems had been "compromised by malicious programs". The Lovgate virus infected 4,000 MoD PCs and took four weeks to get rid of. More recently British Coast Guard systems were knocked over by the Sasser worm. "There is real and present danger not just from cyber delinquents but from cyber criminals and terrorists," he said.

Lord Harris made his comments during a keynote address at the Infosecurity trade show in London on Tuesday. The independent peer's comments reignite a debate on regulation aired at February's RSA Conference. Lord Harris' reference to the risk of an "electronic 9/11" irked some delegates who reckon politicians often overstate risks in an effort to get their point across. Tighter security regulations need to apply to suppliers as well as users and Lord Harris's call for international co-operation on the enforcement of cyber crime standards are likely to flounder on US opposition to tighter government regulations. Until UK politicians take cyber crime more seriously few of his other ideas are likely to come to fruition. ®

Related stories

Big guns back UK IT security drive
UK.gov deploys IT early warning system
Taleban can't hack UK govt
Regulate this

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.