Three hospitals in the UK fell victim to cyberattacks on Sunday, forcing the NHS Trust to shut down computer operations. Earlier this year, as many as 47 percent of NHS Trusts in the UK admitted being infected with ransomware in the past year.
The frequency of ransomware, recent cyberattacks on the Democratic Party and voting systems in the US, as well as alleged cyber threats on Homeland Security from Russia and China, have prompted the British government to invest in a complex National Cyber Security Strategy.
The five-year strategy is a £1.9 billion ($2.3 billion) investment “in defending our systems and infrastructure, deterring our adversaries, and developing a whole society capability – from the biggest companies to the individual citizen,” wrote Philip Hammond MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Governments have to focus on securing technology by training all professionals in cyber skills and teaching them about threats and vulnerabilities, the strategy reads.
Defined as “the protection of information systems (hardware, software and associated infrastructure), the data on them, and the services they provide, from unauthorized access, harm or misuse,” the strategy will also work toward international security by building strategic partnerships with the EU, NATO and the UN.
Acknowledging a “Tier One risk to UK interests,” the government has already invested £860m in the past five years in policies and initiatives to ensure the infrastructure is strong. The goal for the next five is to thoroughly detect and investigate incidents. By keeping comprehensive reports, cyber divisions will consolidate security procedures and overcome digital threats.
“Cyberattacks are a reality and they are happening now. Our adversaries are varied – organized criminal groups, ‘hacktivists’, untrained teenagers and foreign states,” said Ben Gummer, Minister for the Cabinet Office & Paymaster General. “The first duty of the government is to keep the nation safe. Any modern state cannot remain secure and prosperous without securing itself in cyberspace. That is why we are taking the decisive action needed to protect our country, our economy and our citizens.”