Minister for digital and culture Matt Hancock
Minister for digital and culture Matt Hancock

The government will be launching on Friday a renewed push to encourage organisations to adopt Cyber Essentials.

As part of the push, it will require more government contractors to obtain a Cyber Essentials certificate. A number of the UK's largest companies have also agreed to require their suppliers to achieve Cyber Essentials, including Barclays, BT, Vodafone, Astra Zeneca, Airbus Defence & Space and Intel Security.

The minister for digital and culture, Matt Hancock MP, announced the initiative in a speech in London today.

“We know the scale of the threat is significant: one in three small firms, and 65 percent of large businesses are known to have experienced a cyber-breach or attack in the past year,” Hancock said. “Of those large firms breached, a quarter were known to have been attacked at least once per month.”

Cyber-security is one of the seven pillars of the government's digital strategy, he said. “It's absolutely crucial UK industry is protected against this threat – because our economy is a digital economy.”

He added that the costs of a successful attack can be huge. “My message today is clear: if you're not concentrating on cyber, you are courting chaos and catering to criminals,” he said.