Baroness speaks on opportunities and threats of the cyber sphere

Monday 10 March 2014

WEB Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones

Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones (OG5) issued a stark warning on the threats of cyber attackers when she delivered the annual Mark Bailey public lecture at GSAL.

She told her audience that the internet is expanding by about 60 per cent a year, transforming our economy and our daily lives, but leaving us open to cyber attackers.

Pauline is an authority on cyber security issues following a career which has taken her from the Foreign Office and the City of London to the heart of government as minister for security in David Cameron’s administration.

She said: “Ours is increasingly a knowledge economy. We depend on our services and on intellectual inventiveness and innovation, so what we have to fear is the loss of these intellectual assets and the profits that go with them. And they are in daily danger.”

Data theft can go undetected for considerable periods, she said, due to the simple act of copying, with devastating consequences for the organisation that has been the victim. Such crimes are unhindered by geographical boundaries, and while international efforts are increasing to tackle the problem, the political and technological advantage currently lies with the attacker.

The national security implications are also huge, with systems for the military and utility providers particularly vulnerable to attack at times of political tension. As government increasingly provides services to the public electronically, the security of data is paramount.

Pauline said: “The protection of the economy and of national security march hand in hand. Public private partnership is at the crux of the national cyber strategy. Government needs to give leadership, but many of the solutions are going to come from industry itself.”

However with schemes such as the Cyber Information Sharing Partnership, there is now cross-sector cooperation in this area, which has highlighted the need for trained professionals and led to the development of training programmes in universities and industry.

Pauline is now a patron of Cyber Security Challenge UK, which aims to address the skills gap and promote career opportunities in the area of cyber security, and runs an annual competition for schools.

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