Why is cybercrime growing? Ed Vaizey argues business and government need to team up to tackle cyber attacks

Clara Guibourg
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"The internet is inherently insecure" (Source: Getty)

Business and government need to team up if we’re to have any luck tackling the growing threat of cybercrime, according to digital economy minister Ed Vaizey.

Major cyber attacks against firms like Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk have put cybersecurity in the limelight this year. The UK government has classed cybercrime as one of the four top threats against the country, alongside terrorism, and George Osborne set aside an extra £1.9bn to spend on cybersecurity over the next five years.

Critics suggest this is insufficient for the scale of the problem. But business must also do its bit, argues Ed Vaizey. Speaking at a roundtable conversation in Westminster, the minister said that companies need to ramp up their cybersecurity spend too.

“This is a partnership between businesses and government. We need to work together and not in isolation,” Vaizey said, adding that the current government “has always taken cybersecurity seriously”.

“But I was very pleased when the chancellor stood up at the Autumn Statement and announced he’d be effectively doubling the cybersecurity spend.”

Read more: Mobile banking apps are exposing us to cyber attacks

Recently announced plans for a National Cybersecurity Centre are among initiatives that have been introduced in the past year, alongside the Cyber Essentials scheme for businesses and pushing coding higher on school curriculums to combat a growing skills gap in the field.

Despite this, a dispiriting nine in ten large companies have suffered a breach of some sort in the past year.

“We’ve never hidden the fact that businesses are under threat from cyber attacks. We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think that was a problem,” Vaizey said.

With major corporate hacks exposing millions of customers’ private data, cybersecurity has moved from being an IT issue to an issue for everyone.

But most vulnerabilities are “easily preventable”, according to Russell Poole, managing director of Equinix, who said that our data is increasingly being stolen by hackers simply because they can:

The attack surface is increasing, as more devices are connected to the internet for hackers to attack.

The internet is inherently insecure. It was designed to be open, not secure.

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