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GCHQ to share technology with private companies

Collaboration will help the UK form stronger cyber defence

UK spying centre GCHQ will today confirm it will be sharing some of its technology with private businesses, to help protect the critical national infrastructure and aid the economy.

At the IA14 Cyber Security and Information Assurance (IA) conference in London, decision-makers from across central government, the wider public sector, industry and academia, are discussing how the UK "will maintain its position as a global leader in cyber security and IA", said GCHQ.

A core theme at this year's conference, said GCHQ, is "the maturing public-private sector partnership on cyber security issues".

Yesterday at the conference, Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, updated attendees about progress in the National Cyber Security Programme, which has been backed by £860 million of government money over five years.

Maude spoke of the "building blocks" that the government, working with business and academia, had put in place to understand the cyber threat, share and promote awareness of that threat, and "build a capability to allow millions of organisations to address it".

Examples included the "Ten Steps to Cyber Security" support, the "Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP)", and the recently launched "Cyber Essentials Scheme", which allows the wider business community to "demonstrate that they take basic cyber security seriously".

Maude said: "Cyber security presents both a challenge and an opportunity. That's why we are bringing together government and industry to debate current threats and work on solutions and opportunities.

"There are opportunities for business and government from cyber - it enables innovation and enterprise and also supports jobs and greater prosperity. We need to pull together, in the same direction, to make us stronger and more aware, leaving us better placed to tackle the threats that cyber presents."

To echo the sentiments, Sir Iain Lobban, director of GCHQ, will today confirm GCHQ's committment to sharing its classified cyber threat information "at scale and pace" to help communications service providers protect their customers.

This will start with suppliers to government networks and then move on to other sectors of critical national infrastructure. "This ground-breaking initiative will use GCHQ's unique capabilities and insights, gleaned from its intelligence and security work, to illuminate the critical threats in cyberspace," said GCHQ.

Lobban will also describe GCHQ's contribution to a new programme of work known as "Promoting Innovation in the Digital Economy". This will examine how GCHQ's cyber security work can better support the UK's economic objectives, including "boosting" high-tech small- and medium- sized enterprises.

He will also confirm GCHQ is looking at whether "limited amounts of intellectual property can be declassified to support the development of new business ventures", added GCHQ.

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