‘Alphabet soup’ of agencies leave UK exposed to cyberattacks: report


  • TECH
  • Monday, 06 Feb 2017

The Houses of Parliament are seen through a broken telescope in London, Britain February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall

LONDON: Britain's government has taken too long to coordinate an "alphabet soup" of agencies tasked with protecting the country from an ever-increasing risk of cyberattack, a parliamentary report said. 

The Public Accounts Committee report said that as of last April there were at least 12 separate organisations in Britain responsible for protecting information, with "several lines of accountability with little coherence between them." 

Processes for recording breaches of personal data by government departments are inconsistent and chaotic, the report said, adding that the government is struggling to meet a skills gap in the security profession. 

The findings come in the wake of a spate of cyberattacks that have targeted banks, businesses and institutions, including Tesco Bank, Lloyd's Bank, Talk-Talk, and the National Health Service. 

"The threat of cybercrime is ever-growing yet evidence shows Britain ranks below Brazil, South Africa and China in keeping phones and laptops secure," said committee chair Meg Hillier. 

"Leadership from the centre is inadequate and, while the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has the potential to address this, practical aspects of its role must be clarified quickly." 

The NCSC was established by the government last October as part of a £1.9bil (RM10.50bil) programme to tighten cybersecurity. 

An NCSC spokesman said in response to the report: "The government has been clear that the newly formed NCSC is the UK's definitive authority on cyber security." 

On Feb 2, British defence minister Michael Fallon said Russian president Vladimir Putin was trying to undermine the West by spreading lies and attacking critical infrastructure with hackers. 

The Kremlin called the accusation baseless. 

Britain launched a cybersecurity review in January after US intelligence agencies said Putin ordered an effort to help President Donald Trump's electoral chances by discrediting his rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential campaign. — Reuters

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