Government's cyber security strategy proposes expansion of GCHQ, police training and a national hub
Government's cyber security strategy proposes expansion of GCHQ, police training and a national hub

The government is to invest around £4 million into creating a cyber security research institute.

According to V3.co.uk, the £3.8 million institute will work alongside GCHQ to encourage closer cooperation between business and academia in the fight against online threats.

Named the Research Institute in the Science of Cyber Security (RISCC), it will bring together social scientists, mathematicians and computer scientists from seven UK universities to tackle some of the toughest cyber security challenges.

It has been awarded funding for three and a half years and will be led by Angela Sasse, a professor of information security at UCL.

Sasse said: “This is an opportunity to work closely with colleagues from different scientific disciplines to tackle the technical, social and psychological challenges that effective cyber security presents.”

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: “The UK's first academic research institute will strengthen capability in a strategically important area, keeping the UK at the forefront of international research in the field.”

As recently reported, GCHQ is to work with the UK's private sector to educate them on cyber security threats and detail on how to thwart cyber attacks.

Tom Burton, head of cyber for defence at BAE Systems Detica, said: “The announcement is an encouraging step, signalling the government's commitment to public and private sector collaboration, something we have long championed. The institute should also help to safeguard the UK economy for future generations.

“In our view measures such as these serve a dual purpose, as not only do they help to protect the UK economy from online threats, they also strengthen the UK cyber industry, which should be viewed as an end in itself.

“Building an economically strong cyber industry in its own right will help to create the diversified economy that is being championed by the current government. Diversifying the economy can expedite the UK's economic recovery, and a strengthened cyber security sector will also help to prevent costly online theft.”

Paul Davis, director of Europe at FireEye, called RISCC "a good move" in terms of understanding the most complex cyber security challenges, and improving readiness should anything bad happen

He said: “When it comes to IT security and international cyber crime, there seems to be an ongoing sense of inaction and complacency. In fact, GCHQ recently admitted that businesses are failing to do enough to protect themselves from ‘real and credible threats to cyber security' – and in that respect, this is very welcome news indeed.

“Too many organisations are still stuck in their ways when it comes to security – believing that current defences are adequate to thwart today's advanced threats. Though we have seen a stream of headlines depicting the need to deploy holistic security solutions that plug all network vulnerabilities and offer the deep visibility required to keep up with the changing threat landscape, perhaps an even louder voice is now needed. I hope that this move, and the resulting media attention will encourage more of us to wake up to the realities of the age that we have entered into.”