MPs blast UK Government for 'chaotic' approach to tackling cyber crime

Written by Emilio Casalicchio on 3 February 2017 in News

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has said the UK Government must “raise its game”

Public Accounts Committee chair Meg Hillier - Image credit: Parliament TV

The UK Government must “raise its game” on protecting Britain from cyber crime and end the “chaotic” approach it has taken so far, a powerful committee of MPs has said.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee lamented evidence showing Britain ranks below China in keeping devices safe and blasted minsters for “struggling to secure [the] security profession has the skills it needs”.

It said the UK Government’s methods of recording its own data breaches were “inconsistent and dysfunctional”, reducing confidence in its ability to protect the nation from high-threat attacks.


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And it railed that while cyber attacks have been one of the top four risks to national security since 2010, ministers have been slow to untangle the ‘alphabet soup’ of agencies that protect the UK.

According to the Barclays Digital Development Index, Britain is below Brazil, South Africa and China at keeping phones and laptops secure. 

Chancellor Philip Hammond vowed to tackle the issue head on last November with a £1.9bn plan to protect the economy, personal privacy and national security from online threats.

But Public Accounts Committee chair and Labour MP Meg Hillier said: “Government has a vital role to play in cyber security across society but it needs to raise its game.

“Its approach to handling personal data breaches has been chaotic and does not inspire confidence in its ability to take swift, coordinated and effective action in the face of higher-threat attacks.

“The threat of cyber crime is ever-growing yet evidence shows Britain ranks below Brazil, South Africa and China in keeping phones and laptops secure.

“In this context it should concern us all that the Government is struggling to ensure its security profession has the skills it needs.”

The committee urged ministers to bring together the UK Government’s expertise on cyber crime by the end of the year and put together a plan for protecting information across the public sector.

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