Feeds

David Willetts: UK firms need to 'fess up to security boobs

Cloak-and-dagger approach leads to embarrassment later – minister

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

UK Science and Universities Minister David Willetts told assembled IT bods in London that companies should 'fess up to their security boobs.

Speaking at the Info Sec conference this morning, Willetts, whose remit includes cyber security, urged companies to be very honest in reporting their cyber security problems and system breaches. He said:

I want large companies to be very frank about the problems they face and much more open about threats and cyber security attacks.

Willetts compared UK firms' current treatment of online security problems with the manner in which banks treated cases of fraud a decade ago, when a policy of secrecy turned out to be counterproductive.

He also made the point that the firms' reluctance to reveal breaches could later turn out to be embarrassing for them, noting that according to a report commissioned by the ministry into UK cyber security*, a majority of security breaches, particularly in large organisations, originated from insiders.

Willetts also warned firms about the dangers of intellectual property theft, which was highlighted as a growing risk in the new report. The minister said he had been "shocked by companies that don't properly protect their IP".

On a sunnier note, the minister added that the situation represented an opportunity for British companies in the security space and praised the range of strong and innovative companies that already exist, many of whom are showcasing themselves at the conference, which is currently underway at London's Earls Court. He stressed that "private partners" were vital to the government's cyber security policy.

He said:

We are different to the other EU countries in that we don't treat cyber security as a solely military issue.

Sadly there is no such thing as perfect security, but businesses need to know what information is the most valuable and at risk, and how to reduce that risk.

®

*El Reg's analysis of the Price Waterhouse Coopers/Infosecurity Europe report released today can be found here

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.