UK government should create cabinet level post to fight cybercrime, says International Cyber Security Protection Alliance.

The UK government must take a global lead and create a cabinet level post for cyber security, says John Lyons, Chief Executive of the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance (ICSPA).

“Cyber threats are increasing exponentially, but in the UK – and in most governments, including the United States – there are just too many departments and organisations with responsibility for cyber issues,” said Mr Lyons.

“The UK Government needs to get a grip on this lack of coordination now and establish a post at Cabinet level – the UK’s Cyber Crime & Security Coordinator – and pull into one ministerial portfolio all aspects of cybercrime & security policy.”

The call comes as UK Foreign Secretary William Hague is about to address the Budapest Conference on Cyberspace (taking place in Hungary on 4-5 October), a follow-up meeting to a similar event held in London a year ago.

The ICSPA is a business-backed not-for-profit organisation that provides assistance to countries and their law enforcement agencies to fight cybercrime. The ICSPA recently launched Project 2020, a global study of emerging cyber threats undertaken in conjunction with Europol, the EU’s police agency that was recently tasked to establish the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).

Need to establish cyber responsibility

The statement by William Hague at the Budapest Conference on Cyberspace was a “welcome and strong indication that governments are now taking the significant threat from cybercrime and attacks seriously,” said Mr Lyons.

However, “the extraordinary nature of the cyberspace challenge demands a fresh overall approach in how Whitehall deals with this threat,” Mr Lyons added.

“The Cabinet Office, Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Justice Department, Foreign Office, Department for Business Innovation & Skills and Department of Culture, Media & Sport, and Ministers at the Treasury and Energy all have an iron in the fire – but which of them carries the can in the event that the lights go out, or we lose Internet connectivity on a grand scale, or cannot use our phones? None!”

The ICSPA calls on the UK Government to establish the post of Crime & Security Coordinator that sits at cabinet level and pulls into one ministerial portfolio all aspects of cyber crime & security policy. “We have no time to lose in getting this right,” said Mr Lyons.

“We can lead the world and we can absolutely ensure that the UK really does become the place of choice in which to setup Internet related businesses. We need to provide fresh and vibrant growth opportunities at a time when we badly need a new compelling economic offering to the rest of the world.”